I’m pretty sure Michael Cheika was quoted a couple months ago saying that the current form of the Australian Super teams will have no bearing on the then upcoming test series against Eddie Jones’ England team. Well we all know how that turned out.

I’m pretty sure Michael Cheika was quoted a couple months ago saying that the current form of the Australian Super teams will have no bearing on the then upcoming test series against Eddie Jones’ England team. Well we all know how that turned out.

So far I haven’t seen any quote from Cheik after what can only be described as one of the worst weekends for Australian Super Rugby teams for as long as I can remember. I did however read an article that quoted two Kiwis, the Hurricanes’ Corey Jane and Waratahs coach Darrell Gibson.

Both dismissed the thoughts that are going through every Australian rugby supporter’s head in that they won’t be seeing the Bledisloe Cup for another year, or any significant piece of silverware in 2016 for that matter, and that the Wallabies will still be competitive in the upcoming Rugby Championship.

I wish I could believe in their enthusiasm and hope I’m proven wrong but they are kidding themselves.

I watched the Brumbies, Reds, Rebels and Tahs against their New Zealand counterparts and could only admire the Kiwis’ basic skills, urgency and tactical nous that seem to have deserted our teams down under.

So how have we gone so wrong? Where do you start.

There has been endless talk about diluting our teams from three strong performers down to five good to average ones, but that is not my argument. We lack players with the basic skills to compete against the All Blacks.

Basic skills like catch and pass, kicking, offloading, set piece play, tackling, running into space and the list goes on.

I remember the days when a famous Randwick and Wallabies coach wouldn’t even consider selecting you if you couldn’t at least exhibit some of these qualities.

So that brings me back to my initial comment, what are our coaches doing to upgrade our basic skillset?

I remember whilst I was doing some work with the Brumbies, George Gregan would come up to me and ask what I thought about the catching and passing of the backline over the recent weeks, and on occasions I would say it was average.

We would then spend the next session just focusing on catch and pass, nothing complicated, just the ball through the hands with some pressure added. Nearly every Wallaby session that I’ve been involved in has had some form of basic skills incorporated in the session.

There are lots of kids out there that have grown up thinking of the Wallabies winning the Bledisloe Cup like a fairy tale, a good story but nothing to believe in.

Good rugby commentators say rugby is a simple game so why complicate it. I’ve been out of coaching professional rugby for some time now, other than my recent involvement with the English team where Eddie preached to keep things simple and to do the simple things really well, a good lesson for any up and coming coach.

So that brings me back to Mr Cheika, who really must have some concerns on how his front line selections are traveling at the moment.

There are some players who have continued to uphold the form that a Wallaby needs and should be putting on the park week after week since the strong performance in the 2015 RWC, but you can count them on one hand or maybe even half a hand.

He must be pulling his hair out, or what hair he has left of it after the English whitewash, with the inconsistencies of his tight five, what the loose forwards combination will be, the backline, and where he will play Falou.

I’m glad it’s not me selecting the next test team because if the Wallabies put up another subpar performance against the All Blacks, not only will he be coming under the blow torch but the rest of the coaching team will as well.

If the All Blacks do beat us, we still need to be competitive to give some assurance to our supporters in the stands that there is hope on the horizon.

If I could say anything to the Wallabies before they run out for their first match against the All Blacks it would be this; remember there are lots of kids out there that have grown up thinking of the Wallabies winning the Bledisloe Cup like a fairy tale, a good story but nothing to believe in.

It’s time to rewrite the fairy tale books.

Glen Ella Contributor

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