Australian Rugby has been through a pretty torrid time of late, but wins against the Barbarians and Wales will have put a smile on the face of many of those with furrowed brows a month ago.
They say that success can often hide many issues that continue to exist behind the scenes, and frequently that has been proven. Let us hope that there is no papering over the cracks and that any problems are given due attention and solutions found.
Interestingly Rugby in Australia does not appear to have moved on too far in the past 70-odd years as the following quote, which was made by Cyril Towers to the Daily Telegraph in Sydney in 1940, will attest.
“I’m tired of the Union’s petty muddling and stupid administration. They’ve killed my enthusiasm for football. Until we adopt New Zealand methods and put men at the head of affairs who understand football, the game won’t have a chance. Young and promising players are not in the race unless they are in big with the executive. Ability on the field does not mean a thing. It is far more important to go down to headquarters and pat a few people on the back than it is to play brilliant football.”
Towers has been described as “one of the most accomplished exponents of back line play Australia has ever produced, and it is improbable that any centre played with greater guile than Towers at his best.”
As much as people moan about the way things are today, it often pays to look back at history and find out how things changed, if they did. Often you can learn a lot. The one thing the ARU needs to be careful of is that top flight players do not lose their enthusiasm for the game and head overseas for the money, as currently those wearing the green and gold are in the main here for the pride they have in wearing the Australian colours. If that becomes a chore they will soon head overseas.
With the World Cup around the corner the ARU and the game in general cannot afford that.