'Wimps': Why savage Wallabies criticism misses the mark

·3-min read
Pictured here, Wallabies look on during a Bledisloe Cup Test against the All Blacks.
The Wallabies have been labelled 'wimps' in South Africa ahead of their Test against the Springboks. Pic: Getty

It's a toss-up which headline surprised the most.

In an article on the SA Rugby magazine's website, which just screams "clickbait", it proclaimed: "World Champion Boks will wallop Wallabies wimps".

A day later came the stunning news Quade Cooper was to return to Australian colours for the first time in 1541 days (doesn't anyone talk in years anymore?) for Sunday night's Rugby Championship meeting with South Africa on the Gold Coast.

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We will get to Quade in a minute but first let's unpack the story declaring the Wallabies are wimps - allegedly.

It read: "Hooper’s Wallabies, under new coach Dave Rennie, are searching to play a game with players simply not skilled or experienced enough. 

"The Wallabies were woeful in taking three successive beatings against the All Blacks and their capitulation in Perth was even worse than the record-breaking 57-22 defeat at Eden Park in Auckland.

"Wallabies captain Michael Hooper is a great player and there are sprinklings of substance around him, but this Australian side is the equal of Fool’s Gold. They keep on talking themselves up and they keep on presenting themselves as 24-Carat Gold but they are doing it off the back of a historic edge over the Springboks in Australia since international readmission in 1993."

The first point about lack of experience and skills does have foundations and the All Blacks ruthlessly exploited those weaknesses in the Bledisloe Cup wipeout.

But talking themselves up? 24-carat gold?

Nup. You've got the wrong country there.

The Australians know they are still learning their trade on the international stage and are a long way from the finished product.

They are cognisant about where they sit and are taking their beatings from the men in black as part of the ongoing education.

The return of Cooper is a nod from coach Davie Rennie that the education needs to be fast tracked.

The 33-year-old replaces young fly-half Noah Lolesio, who has looked unsteady at the wheel for much of his short Test career.

Seen here, Quade Cooper passes the footy at a Wallabies training session.
Quade Cooper has earned a surprise recall to the Wallabies side to face the Springboks. Pic: Getty

He is the future but for now Rennie needs the calming influence of a player who has been on the battlefield and seen it all over 70 Tests.

Rennie said: "We are trying to grow our game, and we think he’s the right man to help get us around the park."

Yes, it's a quick fix rather than a long-term solution.

It's hard to imagine Cooper being out there when the 2023 World Cup kicks off, but this is about the now.

Rennie needs some wins on the board to settle a frustrated fan base and give his side a shot of self-belief.

Self-belief is one department not lacking in Cooper's make-up.

Australia, looking to celebrate Hooper's record-equalling 59th Test as skipper, goes into the game having won eight of its last 10 against the Springboks at home.

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