It’a been some time since I’ve penned an essay here on The Roar. In fact my last essay was in April 2020 during the COVID lockdowns. It was basically a satire piece (Jacko??) on how annoying the Kiwis had become such was their dominance of the international rugby landscape, and the knock-on effect that had on Aussie rugby.
That was then, but my how things have changed in the last couple of years!
Hence, because of this change, plus my general love of all things rugby, I thought I’d have a butchers at this season’s Rugby Championship as I’m thoroughly enjoying it. And when I say thoroughly enjoying it, I really mean thoroughly enjoying every minute of it. It’s been a rollercoaster. A Luna Park rollercoaster ride of a ride, and not just for me but hopefully for everyone else. And what’s not to like about a good, thrilling rollercoaster ride of a ride eh?
This season’s model of the Rugby Championship has been a little different to past seasons, with visiting teams staying and play two consecutive Tests for the opening four games – as opposed to the old home and away model. And, although widely criticised prior to its start, it’s been a resounding success.
All rounds have been split. The log now shows after four games played all teams with two wins and two losses with bonus and differential points being the difference in standings. Who’d have thunk that prior to the start of the championship?
Those that know me here on The Roar know I rarely do ‘serious’ but this current RC is seriously good. Seriously!
Before this RC kicked-off there were the seasonal southern tours by the northern hordes; SA hosting Wales, Aussie hosting England, NZ hosting Ireland and Argentina hosting Scotland. And as fascinating as those tours were, results or otherwise, they gave us a sneak peak of what might be in store come the RC.
I’m not going to go into all the nuances or give belief I have any understanding of what’s up or down with the Kiwis, Boks or Bargies because I’m a Wallaby supporter and that’s difficult enough, thank you.
I’ll just say the Kiwis seemed to have borrowed the Wallaby 2019 manual on how to self implode – and who do I blame? And, frankly, I find this a little galling as isn’t enough that ewes borrowed the Bled Cup about 20 years ago and still haven’t bothered to return it? Now you nick our manual?
The proud, proud Bok, well, there was Rassie-gate and the continual shouts that their playing style is so boring and unwatchable it’s ruining rugby. The recent series win against Lions was supposedly boring too. Their win against Wales, although expected, was also boring. Boring. Boring. And add arrogant to boot.
And the Bargies, our little brothers that were initially invited to join the RC to make-up the numbers, are now absolutely bashing the bejesus outta their older, bigger, more fancied older brothers. And Cheika is now their coach. Ah, ffs!
No, I’m just going to talk about the Wallaby as a good one-eyed, biased, true supporter of any nation would for this current RC. A look and see. A butchers.
The Wallaby campaign kicked off by visiting those meat-eating Bargies at their favourite eatery called Mendoza. After much fanfare and the Wallaby struggling to put out a decent 23 due to injury, we somehow managed to beat them Bargies. And there was that Slipper slipped a slippery sneaky on the inside that Bertmon recently wrote a five thesis on with matching spreadsheets. Then, as history now records, there was the second Test aptly now named the ‘massacre in San Juan’. The clue here being the word ‘massacre’ as it was a right royal bottom spanking handed out by Cheika’s new mob.
Meanwhile, I said I wouldn’t but I fibbed, over in SA the proud Bok won the first Test but didn’t turn-up for the second. The good news being the Kiwis got to keep their much loved coach. Advantage to the Kiwis. The Bok were just arrogant in their selections. How boring of them!? Hence, after two rounds every team was now on a win and a loss. I didn’t bother to check but I reckon this was a first for the RC. All four teams the same; except for those bonus point thingys.
OK, I thought, it’s game on people… now bring on the next round of games!
After a week’s break or so it was the Wallabies’ turn to host the proud Bok, firstly in Adelaide, then the following weekend in Sydney at the new stadium. Rugby Australia, ever on the front foot when it comes to marketing and growing our great game, had decided Adelaide was the place.
So on a sunny afternoon playing on a cricket oval, of some renown in the world of cricket types, the Wallaby somehow beat the proud Bok. Mind you the proud Bok were obviously spooked by the fact they hadn’t had a win on Aussie soil since 2013. Handre Pollard was definitely spooked as he missed two crucial goals he’d normally do in his sleep. And let’s not forget they are current world champions.
Over in NZ, Christchurch to be precise, and after the Wallaby had dispatched the proud Bok, the ABs were hosting our little brother Bargies. Now, if you were in Adelaide you couldn’t watch this Test because none of the venues that were now heaving with rugby supporters had bothered to get Stan and piggy back the front-foot marketing and growing the game the RA had envisioned. It’s just wasn’t on…
Lucky enough for those not in Adelaide we were witness to an historical contest where the Bargies came back from two tries down to beat the Black for the first time in NZ. For the first time period!
It’s about now I’m thinking I’m loving this and as MrRobC would surely say this RC is best evaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. And, further, I then realise I had tickets for the following weekend in Sydney but would surely get to see the return game between the Bargies and Blacks because Sydney got Stan eh!?
Fast forward and the big night is upon us. People have flown in from far away. Some have flown in from not so far away. Some, like me, only had to drive up the bloody road, but all were eager in anticipation of what was on offer and how the games would unfold. A rugby festival of sorts while in the process christening a band new stadium. Against the present world champions. Does it get any better?
On arrival early before the game at the brand new stadium with went seeking information from the new ‘Information Booth’ but on being told they didn’t have any information we then sort out the same required information from the friendly stadium staff strategically positioned around the outside of the stadium.
They politely replied they too didn’t have any information and had been awaiting an email full of information that never came. And you knew this was true because they were all wearing the same clothing. And that treasured information we were seeking?
Where were we able to watch the game from NZ on TV before the one being played here so we could hopefully watch the Bargies give it to ABs?
Luckily for us the brand new stadium opened up its brand new turnstiles at that very moment and we all piled through into this pristine inner sanctum all coloured blue and white that surrounded the field of play. And there up on the big screen was the game being televised live from NZ. Unfortunately, unless you were a Kiwi, we need not have bothered as the backlash Blacks put a cricket score on the Bargies worthy of the Adelaide Oval. Not a good omen to what was to come next…
So what came next? Well, not the Wallaby. Sadly. No, those brutal proud Bok decided to turn-up all un-spooked like and then proceeded to bash the Wallaby into submission to take a deserved victory. And, I don’t about you guys, but when there’s a prior party organised in celebration of opening a new stadium, accompanied by fireworks, glowing tributes continually screening featuring past Wallaby greats, it sorta sets one up for a fall. A big bloody flat on your face fall. And that’s exactly what happened. The Wallaby reverted to type and fell into the old consistency of inconsistency being the constant. And lost. Got pantsed!
Anyway, it was a thoroughly enjoyable celebration, regardless of irritation of loss, of all things rugby. All the things that make rugby great. Even when you lose rugby great. But the biggy was it’s only added now more spice albeit interest to this already intriguing RC. It’s definitely been a rollercoaster ride thus far, no doubt, and there’s still more to come methinks. More twists and turns than it takes to go to buy a few beers during the game and then get back to your seats type thingy!?
Shout-out to Rugby Tragic and Harry Jones for aiding and abetting in my love for the game of rugby. You were absolute team players. You were also the perfect teammates. And, likewise to my darling Yorkshire, who at times didn’t know which way to look, such was her view of three little boys running all over the place. Likewise, for letting us all indulge ourselves in our other passion; rugby.
Now, ffs bring-on those once were almighty ABs, that probably still are, especially when they play the Wallaby. And to SA and the Bargies… who cares?! Hahahaha!
Rugby – The Roar