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A GOOD SPORT: More bigger issues with rugby than Eddie Jones

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Hasn’t the prized signing of Eddie Jones as the Wallabies head coach paid dividends?

With the Australian Rugby World Cup campaign on life support following the shock loss to Fiji this week, it didn’t take long for the media to dump on the experienced mentor again.

In fact, many were calling for his head after six consecutive defeats in the lead-up matches.

For Jones’ part, he doesn’t really help himself, with his weird press conferences and television commercial currently doing the rounds.

But, to be fair, we can’t blame him for the poor state of the game in this country.

It’s been in decline for more than a decade.

Rugby Australia (RA) has let it flounder to the point where the sport’s almost invisible.

Let’s not kid ourselves, we’ve been led to believe we have a greater talent pool in the nation than what we possess.

Think about it… how many Aussie players would make a World XV in the past 10 years?

Maybe Michael Hooper, possibly Marika Koroibete?

Now, how many current stars can you name without looking at a team list?

You’d be lucky to reach five.

And, here’s where some of the trouble lies.

According to Wallaby great David Campese, the sport is a mere shadow of its former self.

I caught up with the legend, who donned the “green and gold” jumper on 101 occasions, during a visit to the Hunter earlier this year.

He couldn’t believe how much rugby’s profile had dropped on the sporting landscape.

Not that long ago, blokes like John Eales, Joe Roff, Stephen Larkham, Tim Horan, Michael Lynagh, Mark Ella, George Gregan and George Smith, for example, were household names.

However, many of the youngsters “Campo” spoke to didn’t even know who he was.

“It’s important these youngsters have a sense of the past,” he said. “What we need [to do] is for them to understand why they play rugby; the history behind the game. The more they do that, the more they’ll want to take part.”

It is hard to argue with him, but who will listen to his concerns?

Could you imagine league greats, such as Andrew Johns or Nathan Hindmarsh, not being recognised at a training camp?

No matter how RA chairman Hamish McLennan tries to spin it, the code has a huge identity crisis.

Not even the acquisition of “superkid” Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii from the Sydney Roosters, on a $5 million contract, can save them. 

So, what hope does Jones have then?

I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

Unsung Knights the real Newcastle heroes

It was a shame to see the Newcastle Knights’ gutsy run end in the NRL last weekend.

When Newcastle’s doing well, so too is rugby league… and home crowds proved that in the past month.

But, two guys who deserve a bit of praise are Phoenix Crossland and Tyson Gamble.

When 2023 kicked off, they might not have appeared in the Knights’ starting 13.

However, both showed they were up for the task with several whole-hearted performances.

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