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Tahs cohorts must forget wretched run or they will suffer against Scots


"The first Test of the season has "ambush" written all over it".

"The first Test of the season has "ambush" written all over it". Photo: Wolter Peeters

Robbie Deans will this week have to show that, apart from being a top-level coach, he is a master psychologist, motivator, mind reader and faith healer. This is one of the toughest weeks in his often traumatic five seasons with the Wallabies.

One of his worst experiences as Wallabies coach was in late 2009 when Scotland humiliated his team at Murrayfield. How the Wallabies fell apart that night has never been forgotten by Deans. Now with only limited training time, he has to confront Scotland again tomorrow night in Newcastle. The first Test of the season has ''ambush'' written all over it.

Adding to Deans's concerns is that the core of his Test team involves players who would probably rather be playing darts, table tennis, carpet bowls, anything except rugby - not surprising after all the pain they have been subjected to while running around with the woeful Waratahs in recent weeks.

Luke Morahan of the Queensland Reds. Click for more photos

Wallabies selections for Scotland Test

The Wallabies team selection for the 2012 international series were announced today. With five new names on the sheet, the Wallabies start their domestic schedule against Scotland, in Newcastle, on Tuesday night before a three test series against Six Nations Champions, Wales, later in June. Photo: Stefan Postles/Getty Images

Just 14 hours after being thrashed by the Hurricanes at Allianz Stadium, Berrick Barnes, Sitaleki Timani and Dave Dennis were running around with the Test team at the Sydney Grammar field at Rushcutters Bay. The surroundings wouldn't have brightened this trio's broken spirits, after experiencing a record sixth straight loss the previous night. It was raining, it was muddy and Deans pushed them hard in the only proper team run before the Test.

After weeks of tough scrutiny, Barnes must pick himself up and guide the Wallabies. Ditto Timani and Dennis. The lure of Test jerseys will alleviate some of the pain, but it will still require all of Deans's powers to ensure they are in the right head space tomorrow night. Then again, they are probably just relieved to be getting away from the biggest migraine in Australian rugby.

Wacky Waratahland went on another tangent at the weekend with its chairman Edwin Zemancheff breaking a ''four-month silence'' to state the board wanted supporters to know their ''No.1 priority'' was to give them ''a team and organisation that can represent them on and off the field with the pride and passion that NSW fans deserve''.

To ensure this is not the latest example of spin coming out of Moore Park, and that they are actually serious, this ''No.1 pride and passion priority'' must include the Waratahs board having a hard look at themselves. The hierarchy involves administrators who have been there a long time and made glaring errors - starting with getting rid of Ewen McKenzie in 2008.

That was really smart. Since then the Waratahs have gone nowhere and McKenzie has taken the Queensland Reds to their first Super Rugby title.

Then the administrators allowed Kurtley Beale, the team's star attraction, to leave. And Ben Mowen keeps rubbing their noses in it by excelling with the Brumbies this year.

Intermingled with these bungles have been baffling administerial changes, including NSW Rugby and the Waratahs being run by different bodies, and it hasn't been long for rifts between those two to emerge.

Head office has contributed heavily to the Waratahs demise. Big changes are required, not just at team level, but even more at the administrative level, in the hope a fresh beginning can kick-start an ailing organisation that has turned into a laughing stock. Not surprisingly, many Waratahs fans have given up on them.

The Reds transformed themselves by getting rid of dead wood throughout their organisation, and now have a strong figurehead in their chairman and former Wallaby Rod McCall. The Waratahs have nothing to compare.

And if there was a mass sweep-out similar to Queensland, a different Waratahs board would be smart enough to consider beckoning McKenzie home. And he may well be interested considering that Sydney is his family base.

But McKenzie would only return to the Tahs if there were widespread changes at the top … and who would blame him?

51 comments so far

  • Frankly, why are those bunch of losers, like Barnes forming the core of the Wallabies in the first place. Yet again Deans show's he doesn't pick on form.

    Date and time
    June 04, 2012, 12:05AM
    • Jittery, entirely agree with your comments re: Deans and form. Makes it difficult when you make a hash of the squad/team selections from the start. Deans' World Cup squad was a joke and he is continuing the comedic tradition this year. Quite how the Waratahs have such a prolific representation in the squad for Scotland/Wales Tests (I think it's 11 players) would be difficult to understand even for the most rusted-on 'Tahs supporter.

      Date and time
      June 04, 2012, 8:25AM
    • Give the incessant Deans bashing a rest!

      who else would you have him pick for the Scotland game, considering he wants to keep a somewhat fresh team for the wales game only 5 days later?

      Cooper has no match fitness, Beale, O'Connor etc injured.

      Basically, Barnes is playing for the No.12 spot against Wales and he is up against Mike Harris for this role, as Cooper will play against Wales in the 10 jersey.

      In my view, he will end up on the bench for the Wales game.

      Barnes has been playing only OK behind a very poor Tah's pack - but he is not out of form, and as everyone seems to forget, Test rugby is a lot different from S15 and Barnes is one of those players that will always look better in test rugby than S15 as his defence is strong and is a steadier hand overall rather than 'an exciting player'.

      Date and time
      June 04, 2012, 12:16PM
    • Gosh Jittery, How did Pocock get picked as captain when the Force are coming stone motherless last in the Australian conference? Maybe there are other considerations other than form.

      Date and time
      June 04, 2012, 5:01PM
    • Agreed pick 11 in the squad actually justifies their poor form. With test spots up for grabs in their last game, as well as pride, only Dennis and Palu stood up. Barnes is simply woeful. His first option is to kick and when he does pass, he seldom attacks the line. Instead, he takes two steps sideways before delivering. Supporters may argue that hes 'steady' others would believe that he actually appears scared...certainly he doesnt look like he enjoys playing. The only positive out of the Tahs last game was that we didnt have to endure Rocky bumbling his way through the mud.

      Date and time
      June 04, 2012, 7:40PM
  • wales to stuff auzzies , u have injuries we have strongest team out plus adam jones is back at tighthead to wreck your feeble scrum

    blaennant y groes road
    Date and time
    June 04, 2012, 4:57AM
    • "...a different Waratahs board would be smart enough to consider beckoning McKenzie home."

      His next appointment is with the Wallabies, ;) Perhaps after that.

      f scott
      Date and time
      June 04, 2012, 6:22AM
      • I wonder what John Connolley has to say about their first ever super rugby win in 2011, what about the title wins in '94 & '95 when they beat Natal & Transvall respectively, or are we only counting from Super 15 onwards and forgetting all the Super 10, Super 12 & Super 14 titles as well.

        Old School
        Date and time
        June 04, 2012, 7:40AM
        • Super 10 wasn't considered part of the Super Rugby concept/competition. All after were, thats from SANZAR not just made up.

          Date and time
          June 04, 2012, 9:02AM
        • I hear you.... but I think they only really talk about Super 12 onwards. Before that it was ACTUAL provinces, states etc, instead of the franchise system they now have. In other words, if you played for Qld back then, you had been picked to represent Qld, not contracted to play. Ahhh, the good old days, Before the Farce, Rabble and Bumblies stole all the best players. Back when we used to win Bledisloe Cups, World Cups etc. Before super rugby 'strengthened' Australian rugby.

          Sunshine Coast
          Date and time
          June 04, 2012, 9:03AM

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