Well, the sports world is abuzz with rumours and opinion about what is the likely future of dual international, Lote Tuqiri.
Personally, I think he should go back to Rugby League so that Rugby Union can go back to focusing on growing its own talent, and reward individuals within its own ranks, as it should have all along.
It’s no secret I wasn’t thrilled about any of the league signings, although Tuqiri was probably one of the better of the original three. I can remember when Wendell was booed during select Wallaby and Waratah games, and I kept wondering how the ARU could possibly reserve a gold jersey for him and his cohorts when more deserving Rugby Union born players missed out on their opportunities.
The result: 2007, and we’ll likely have none of the "standout" Rugby League converts left. Good riddance. Let’s hope it’s not too late to groom the real Rugby Union players who should have been properly blooded during this horrible test gone awry.
Speaking of dual internationals, I was curious to see how Andrew Walker performed for the Reds on the weekend, although he only had a short spell. He was, I think, during his prime one of the best converts until his off field problems became larger headlines than his on field ones. I’d like to see what he can offer – I hope he still has that Latham-esque big boot and excellent cross field running (way better than Tuqiri’s sideways action).
On to the topic of Eddie Jones…Not content to simply shut up and coach (ha) the QLD Reds, our own Mr Football has been heard moaning about every single loss the last couple of weeks, stealing the media attention away from the other Australian Team coaches. Eddie, true to form, now has blasted the current 4-team Australian format for a lack of depth across the Super 14.
I know that Scott Fava has done us all a favour by rebuffing Mr Football in public, but it goes without saying that an expanded four team format is the best way to get our players experienced, and to create a bigger pool to select potential Wallabies from. Yes, it hurts the teams a little in that they will have to compete financially for the top tier players, and since we don’t have an NPC or Currie Cup experience for many of the players to blood them early, it does leave us a little vulnerable.
For my mind, the ball’s in the ARU’s court. They need to figure out a way to provide the Super 14 teams with talented (I mean, guys who can shave and have run a football at senior grade level) enough players so that they can evenly compete without soiling their pants when they take to the field. The current players (replacements) aren’t at provincial-level fitness or skill levels, as is evidenced by the on field results of late – but they will get better. Imagine how much better we’d have been if the Super 12 had been extended earlier (and if there had been no Rugby League experiment?)!!
Enough of a rant from me.. Enjoy your Rugby and leave a comment if you agree, disagree or couldn’t care less. Back to technical blog posts tomorrow.