The culprit behind the Wallabies dismal 2018, a year that saw only for wins from 13 Tests, to produce the worst finish since we were in nappies, was not the fault of the coach, the players, or the organisation and suggestions that the Wallabies play only Italy were not helpful.
The villain in the piece is social media, at least, that is the view of the current coach, Michael Cheika, who said, “It (social media) gets in their head and it hasn’t been going great and so they don’t think they’re great and then as soon as something happens in the game, negative, which it did early on, you start to get a bit narrow in your view and you start to fear failing — as opposed to going out there to do what you need to do to perform.”
Those bloody phones are causing trouble everywhere they exist. Jockeys get in trouble for using them after they arrive for a meeting. World leaders, well one of them, composes gaffes so rapidly that it is tempting to think he has four thumbs. Cheika’s view is that the players read the posts and play with a complete lack of confidence because they fear losing followers or encountering a negative comment.
Better to jet off to France and its riches than hang around Down Under and continue to be bombarded by negative messages.
Cheika faces the uncomfortable proposition of making plans for 2019, plans that include a national camp in January just ahead of the 2019 Super Rugby season.
It seems like eons since the Wallabies played the World Cup final in 2015, but that loss to New Zealand at the end put Cheika on the wrong foot, with no right foot to be found.
Beat the Kiwis and you will have a bronze statue at the gates of the SCG, Suncorp Stadium and the Sydney Opera House, assuming the opera lovers will stoop so low.
Lose to them and the entire country chucks a non-stop wobbly on every social media platform in existence while awaiting for the next one to come along and supply a new opportunity to vent.