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Where's Wallaby? Last Seen Playing Rugby in Tokyo

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Dave Griffith
Dave Griffith

If All Blacks rugby fans had to pick a rugby team to have as the AB's current bunnies then the Wallabies would be right up there. Only England would be a realistic chance of knocking the Wallabies out of first place. 

The Wallabies aren't that bad either. Their forward pack has improved out of sight despite having some key players out with injury and many of their backs are talented but inexperienced. It is that inexperience that has been the diffrence in the matches between the Wallabies and All Blacks this season.  

Poor Robbie Deans is under pressure from all sides, but the Aussies would be nuts to turf him out now. This Wallaby team is only a season or two away from a possible Tri-Nations victory. They should be good enough to kick some Northern Hemisphere Butt in the next few weeks.

So to last weekends game. In what has become an increasingly bizzare playing rivalry these two teams. They play each other so much that they are now carrying on like a jaded couple trying to add some spice to a stale relationship. Last year it was ‘meet me for a weekend fling in Hong Kong’. This year it was ‘lets give Tokyo a go’.

It’s like a global game of ‘Where’s Wallabies’ where the fans have to guess where the Wallabies and their inseparable opponents the All Blacks will pop up next. If you are wondering I can answer that. Anywhere that someone is prepared to stump up a minimum of 3 million in a meaningful currency.  Does this sort of carry on make these two rugby teams offering themselves for a one night stand threesome a new form of high class sporting prostitution? Yes, this is definitely a step up from peddling deodorant, biscuits and cars.   
So here they were in Japan – the hosts of the 2019 Rugby World Cup. Playing in a city of 12 million people in a stadium that wasn’t sold out. This equation does not add up or do the IRB follow the same ‘money first’ philosophy of the Aussie and New Zealand Rugby Unions?
The match itself was highly entertaining and a good victory for  a much improved All Blacks team. There are three gripes I have about the match itself though, so here goes:
NZ Anthem
When we are singing the national anthems, surely the aim is to get the crowd joining in. So why do the organisers persist in putting up singers who behave like it is their one shot at fame and an opportunity to show off their vocal range in a never before heard interpretation of the National Anthem. Megan Alatini is a fine singer, but changing notes and rhythm is not in the script for these occasions. The hosts not playing a backing track meant that Megan could do what she liked – which she duly did. We might have been better off with a low grade Karaoke rendition to get the crowd going. That may have been more culturally sensitive in that part of the world.
I have two theories on this.
Theory #1: The hosts thought the third match official was a prestigious ceremonial role that didn’t have to do anything. They realised their mistake when referee Lawrence asked for a ruling on the Wallaby ‘try’ in the corner and they hurriedly tried to get through to the  rest home where the venerable TMO for the day was housed but found he was having an early evening nap.
Theory #2: Having paid too much for the game and not sold enough tickets the organisers cut costs by outsourcing the TMO function to a call centre in Kazakstan. This came unstuck when they realised too late that the Kazakstani’s were cheap because they spoke neither Japanese or English. They were it turns out dab hands at trouble shooting faults on Siemens mobile phones in Russian.  
We very seldom hear from these chaps. Did the Citing Commissioner and Judicial Officer feel they had to justify their trip to Japan by doing something? Usually to get suspended a player needs to perform a deep massage on an opponents eyes or dine out on some part of their anatomy. Sivivatu had already been punished on the field. Woodcocks incident was marginal and the game was almost over.
A review of the tape of any international game between top flight teams will reveal acts of foul play. Why Woodcock got pinged is weird. Lets be honest if this is the new standard of ruling then we look forward to at least half the South African forward pack being unavailable through suspension for any given test match.
Final Thoughts 
I have one final question, and I am hoping someone might have the answer. Why is Stephen Donald in the team if the coaches don’t trust him to play? The sight of Carter limping around for most of the second half was a tad disturbing for us fans. The only plausible answer I can think of is that newly rotated Steve Hansen forgot he was now the backs coach and was waiting for Wayne to pull Carter off.
So Wheres Wallaby now? The smart money is on an 8 week daily show with the AB's in Las Vegas with Megan Alatini as the support act. First though, they have to get out of Japan safely by avoiding the 'research' scientists that slaughter rugby players to find out if they eat krill or not.  

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