Drought Ended

I’ve written before (here and here) about the parlous state of Australian rugby union. On Saturday the Waratahs beat the Highlanders 41-12 ending a run of 40 straight defeats for Australian teams against New Zealand opposition. The last time they secured a win over their trans-Tasman rivals was in May 2016, almost 2 years ago. At the international level, Australia haven’t won the Bledisloe Cup since 2002.

With France in their second or third generation of consistently underperforming and England having a lousy Six Nations championship in 2018, the Rugby World Cup is in danger of becoming as much a farce as it’s rugby league equivalent if this keeps up.

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9 thoughts on “Drought Ended

  1. I think anyone predicting the winner of the rugby World Cup is a braver man than me, Gunga Din.

    Who did you say were going to win all the previous ones? 91, 95 and 99 in particular.

  2. I think anyone predicting the winner of the rugby World Cup is a braver man than me, Gunga Din.

    I didn’t predict any winner, but since you brought it up, let’s say that any “world cup” competition which has an overwhelming favourite (who has held the trophy since 2011) and only 1 or 2 other teams who might somehow beat them in a freak occurrence is a farce. What the RWC needs is England, France, Australia, and South Africa to pose a consistent and genuine threat to New Zealand (and each other) in every game. We’re nowhere near that, but what’s more worrying is we used to be.

  3. “let’s say that any “world cup” competition which has an overwhelming favourite (who has held the trophy since 2011) and only 1 or 2 other teams who might somehow beat them in a freak occurrence is a farce.”

    Agreed. That same team was beaten in a ‘freak occurrence’ in every previous World Cup apart from 87 though.

  4. What Rugby League does well is to recognise that its World Cup is uncompetitive and promote it as a good day out instead.
    England versus New Zealand in Denver on 23rd June, the same weekend as one of the State of Origin games. Dicks Sporting Goods. A pie. Marvellous.

  5. It’s tempting to be overly concerned for the state of competition across rugby union nations. Yes, the Kiwis have dominated the scene forever, there are several major rugby nations that have never beaten them (Ireland only recently left that club) but, despite this, they are still only 3 from 8 world cups.

    Why? Because world cups have a knock out stage, to win one you need to not trip up over 7 consecutive matches…. which NZ did in 91, 95, 99, 03 and 07.

    Will the Kiwis win next year? It’ll be a brave punter who bets against them but we know that the current Irish, Australian and South African sides can beat them or at least taken them close on their day. In November, the current English team might add their name to that list.

    Just because Australia are shite, doesn’t mean the RWC is a foregone conclusion and certainly not the joke that the League version is.

    Australia have always over-delivered against their capability and player base. How on earth they won two world cups without a world class front 5 is still a modern conundrum on the scale on P vs NP.

    Plus, bear in mind that the All Blacks have let the HR department take over and are now virtue signalling Rainbow Diversity hashtags at every given opportunity, and we all know where that road leads performance-wise.

  6. Why? Because world cups have a knock out stage, to win one you need to not trip up over 7 consecutive matches…. which NZ did in 91, 95, 99, 03 and 07.

    I’d say NZ only really tripped up in 99 and 07. In 1991 the Australians were fresher, more dynamic, and went on to become an exceptionally good side, whereas the Kiwis made sweeping changes. In 1995 the South Africans matched them, there was no upset there in hindsight. In 2003 England were the best side in the tournament and had beaten NZ and other SH teams consistently in the run-up.

    Just because Australia are shite, doesn’t mean the RWC is a foregone conclusion and certainly not the joke that the League version is.

    My point is that, now we’re a couple of generations into the professional era proper, the scope for slip-ups is narrowing and New Zealand seem to be putting clear daylight between them and everyone else. Sure they lost in the past, but then Australia used to beat them in the Bledisloe Cup too, and Australia were the ones you could normally rely on to work the Kiwis out and beat them occasionally.

    I don’t think the RWC is a farce yet, but with England faring so badly at the last one and the semis being a wholly SH affair the warning signs were there, and more so when NZ won it at a canter (they didn’t break sweat against Australia in the final, although they had to play ugly to beat SA in the semis). If NZ win the next one in 2019 without a *very* good showing from the other teams, it will be three on the bounce and looking as lopsided as the league one.

    The team that really needs to pull its finger out is England: they’re in real danger of doing what the soccer team did, win one world cup and assume they can win others. For a while England were looking seriously good under Eddie Jones and I wondered if the 6N would turn into a farce, and then look what happened.

  7. “The team that really needs to pull its finger out is England“.

    Quite right, Tim. Email me your postal address and I’ll semd you an England shirt and some car stickers. It’s for the good of world rugby, after all.

  8. “I’d say NZ only really tripped up in 99 and 07. In 1991 the Australians were fresher, more dynamic, and went on to become an exceptionally good side, whereas the Kiwis made sweeping changes. In 1995 the South Africans matched them, there was no upset there in hindsight. In 2003 England were the best side in the tournament and had beaten NZ and other SH teams consistently in the run-up.”

    Agree. Although after 07 the south africans were top of the pops for the next two years, sure a magical french side beat NZ in cardiff but south africa were class then.

  9. Although after 07 the south africans were top of the pops for the next two years, sure a magical french side beat NZ in cardiff but south africa were class then.

    Yes they were. Percy Montgomery didn’t put a foot wrong at full back during that final.

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