JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Lessons from a rugby life


Adam Freier

A younger Adam Freier with his mum Chris at their home in 2002.

A younger Adam Freier with his mum Chris at their home in 2002. Photo: Jane Dyson

AS A rookie, there were some things I never understood - like playing well, then being dropped.

Not that 19 is overly young within Super Rugby squads nowadays, but, in 1999, I was as green as they come - a pup in a pound of old dogs, a rookie with the ACT Brumbies.

Eddie Jones' office was like the principal's, but more for life lessons, then rugby. I'd always be nervous, my insides in a convoluted knot.

''I've got some good news and some bad news. You're training really well mate, but I'm not picking you.''

Life lesson one: what is an oxymoron?

I wait for the reasons why, but he deliberately stalls the conversation, until the only thing I can hear are the crickets from the garden outside his window.

Life lesson two: don't ask why.

''Why?'' I ask.

''Who do you think you are to question my judgment, I'm the coach, I don't see your name on that door!''

He then drops his pad and pushes it towards me. ''Here you go mate, you seem to know so much, how about you run this meeting!''

Life lesson three: do not hide under the desk while the coach gives you a serve.

The tirade continues for an eternity, yet the steam eventually starts to pour back into his ears, as he ends with a final summation.

Life lesson four: ''You don't know this right now, but this decision will help make you the player you will eventually become.''

The old bull I am today, now knows exactly what he was doing back then. He was building a hunger inside me. I used to leave that office wanting to do so much more. I wanted that jersey more than any player and, if I ever got it, good luck snatching it from my grasp.

Back then I never understood that playing six solid games in a row and feeling invisible led to being dropped. You didn't appreciate that the coach knew this tournament was the toughest in the world, he knew your form was going to plateau. It wasn't the question of ''is he going to play a bad game'', it was inevitable.

Enter 2012, where we see younger players with 10 times the talent I had at 19.

They rightly find themselves starting in the jersey of their choice - they have worked just as hard as I did and appreciate it just as much. But it's a shame that many don't get to feel what it's like to lose it at a young age. But that's not their fault.

In 1999, we had the luxury of only having three Super teams in Australia and a talent pool at full capacity, where the sometimes younger, more talented player wouldn't be picked, so he could spelled or starved to become a hungrier player.

We are in a unique point in history where youngsters have to step in earlier to help maintain a higher standard of competition while our game becomes national.

Today, younger players hold their own, in fact, they dominate Australian rugby. Although it's about this time in the competition that we start to see them look flat or have an ''off day''.

There are certainly exceptions to that rule, but most rookies or second-season players fall into this category. The intensity of this tournament is at another level and we can't assume our young stars can all just keep over-delivering.

Considering the age of our stars at the Rebels, this week is our toughest challenge yet. We know that a break is around the corner and that form will be questioned and decisions made. Will this be the hunger that will inspire us to a first win over our neighbouring state?

Life lesson five: there are no illusions as to the challenge that awaits us in Sydney tomorrow night.

2 comments so far

  • Suspect Adam may have had a large night at the palace.
    wicks wicks wicks

    Rah Rah
    Coogee Oval
    Date and time
    April 20, 2012, 1:10PM
    • I've been watching Super Rugby since 1996. I continue to admire the ability of Australia's young rugby players stepping up to the level and holding their own. However, Freier's article reminds us that years of experience is priceless at Super rugby standard. There will be always a need for "The old bulls" of the game....they allow these young pups to mature at a rapid rate.

      Werner K
      Date and time
      April 20, 2012, 2:15PM

      Make a comment

      You are logged in as [Logout]

      All information entered below may be published.

      Error: Please enter your screen name.

      Error: Your Screen Name must be less than 255 characters.

      Error: Your Location must be less than 255 characters.

      Error: Please enter your comment.

      Error: Your Message must be less than 300 words.

      Post to

      You need to have read and accepted the Conditions of Use.

      Thank you

      Your comment has been submitted for approval.

      Comments are moderated and are generally published if they are on-topic and not abusive.

      HuffPost Australia

      Rugby World Cup 2015

      Round 1
      Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
      ENG 35vs FJI 11 Report Stats
      TGA 10vs GEO 17 Report Stats
      IRE 50vs CAN 7 Report Stats
      Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
      SAF 32vs JPN 34 Report Stats
      FRA 32vs ITA 10 Report Stats
      SAM 25vs USA 16 Report Stats
      WAL 54vs URU 9 Report Stats
      Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
      NZL 26vs ARG 16 Report Stats
      Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
      SCO 45vs JPN 10 Report Stats
      Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
      AUS 28vs FJI 13 Report Stats
      FRA 38vs ROM 11 Report Stats
      Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
      NZL 58vs NAM 14 Report Stats
      Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
      ARG 54vs GEO 9 Report Stats
      ITA 23vs CAN 18 Report Stats
      Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
      SAF 46vs SAM 6 Report Stats
      ENG 25vs WAL 28 Report Stats
      AUS 65vs URU 3 Report Stats
      SCO 39vs USA 16 Report Stats
      Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
      IRE 44vs ROM 10 Report Stats
      Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
      TGA 35vs NAM 21 Report Stats
      Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
      WAL 23vs FJI 13 Report Stats
      FRA 41vs CAN 18 Report Stats
      Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
      NZL 43vs GEO 10 Report Stats
      SAM 5vs JPN 26 Report Stats
      Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
      SAF 34vs SCO 16 Report Stats
      ENG 13vs AUS 33 Report Stats
      Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
      ARG 45vs TGA 16 Report Stats
      IRE 16vs ITA 9 Report Stats
      Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
      CAN 15vs ROM 17 Report Stats
      FJI 47vs URU 15 Report Stats
      Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
      SAF 64vs USA 0 Report Stats
      NAM 16vs GEO 17 Stats
      Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
      NZL 47vs TGA 9 Report Stats
      Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
      SAM 33vs SCO 36 Report Stats
      AUS 15vs WAL 6 Report Stats
      ENG 60vs URU 3 Stats
      ARG 64vs NAM 19 Report Stats
      Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
      ITA 32vs ROM 22 Report Stats
      FRA 9vs IRE 24 Report Stats
      USA 18vs JPN 28 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 2
      Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
      SAF 23vs WAL 19 Stats
      NZL 62vs FRA 13 Report Stats
      IRE 20vs ARG 43 Report Stats
      Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
      AUS 35vs SCO 34 Stats
      Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
      SAF 18vs NZL 20 Stats
      Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
      ARG 15vs AUS 29 Stats
      Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
      SAF 24vs ARG 13 Stats
      Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
      NZL 34vs AUS 17 Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Rugby World Cup 2015
      Team P W L D +/- Pts
      Australia 4 4 0 0 106 17
      Wales 4 3 1 0 49 13
      England 4 2 2 0 58 11
      Fiji 4 1 3 0 -17 5
      Uruguay 4 0 4 0 -196 0
      View all
      Rugby World Cup 2015
      Team P W L D +/- Pts
      South Africa 4 3 1 0 120 16
      Scotland 4 3 1 0 43 14
      Japan 4 3 1 0 -2 12
      Samoa 4 1 3 0 -55 6
      USA 4 0 4 0 -106 0
      View all
      Rugby World Cup 2015
      Team P W L D +/- Pts
      New Zealand 4 4 0 0 125 19
      Argentina 4 3 1 0 109 15
      Georgia 4 2 2 0 -70 8
      Tonga 4 1 3 0 -60 6
      Namibia 4 0 4 0 -104 1
      View all
      Rugby World Cup 2015
      Team P W L D +/- Pts
      Ireland 4 4 0 0 99 18
      France 4 3 1 0 57 14
      Italy 4 2 2 0 -14 10
      Romania 4 1 3 0 -69 4
      Canada 4 0 4 0 -73 2
      View all

      Follow Us on Facebook

      Featured advertisers