This "Russian wrestler" is throwing away his writing boots. I have written millions of words and hundreds of columns on the rugby game for The Sydney Morning Herald since the early 1980s.This is the final edition of my column.
Enrique Rodriguez's body-slamming tackle on a charging Hika Reid seems like yesterday so memorable was that collision. The tackle led to the famous Wallabies victory against the All Blacks at Eden Park in 1986.
The shaky 33-21 victory over the Pumas at Twickenham entrenched the Wallabies in second place in The Rugby Championship. They won three matches in the tournament, both Tests against the Pumas and a home Test against the Springboks. Under the Zavos Achievement Rating system the Wallabies merit a 5 out of 10.
The Wallabies' 18-10 loss to the Springboks at Loftus Versfeld stadium at Pretoria was their sixth defeat in eight Tests this year. The All Blacks 36-17 defeat of the Pumas, in Argentina, gives them a clean slate of eight straight Test wins in 2016.
On October 8,1969 the lead letter in The Sydney Morning Herald was headlined: South Africa and Sport.
What are we to make of Graham Henry's suggestion last weekend before The Rugby Championship Tests that Michael Cheika's Wallabies are the "worst ever" side to represent Australia?
Some years ago, a group of us, including the former All Blacks coach Fred Allen, were chatting in the stands after New Zealand had scrambled to a win over South Africa. A good old boy sidled up and said to Allen: "An unconvincing win, Fred, don't you think?" The great man looked at him in the pitying manner people adopt when they are confronted with invincible ignorance. "Son," he replied, "a win is a win."
The bad news confronting the Wallabies as they go into Saturday's Test at Brisbane against the Springboks is their six consecutive losses. The good news, of sorts, is that these losses have been against England and the All Blacks, the two best sides in world rugby
Cheika's Whingeing Wallabies project has to stop if the Springboks are to be defeated in Brisbane.
What has gone wrong with the Wallabies? Nothing, if you believe the culture of denial from the Wallabies.