With the Super Rugby competition resuming tonight Australian fans must be salivating at the prospect of seeing some tries scored. Although the June tests were nail-biting, with late penalties sealing wins, they couldn’t be said to be particularly entertaining – if you like free flowing, running rugby. Although the Wallabies showed that they can be consistent and close out tight games – and that’s important – the glaringly obvious point in these tests was that New Zealand is still number one by a country mile.
The Wallabies bounced back from the ‘Scotland anomaly’ and deserved to beat Wales in the test series. Beating the Six Nation champions, even on home soil, is no mean feat so the Wallabies should take some confidence from the tests and reassure themselves that they are the second best team in international rugby.
But that second is a distant one. Any thoughts that New Zealand would slack off after finally winning their 2nd World Cup have been proven incorrect. The second test was close, and you had to feel for Brian O’Driscoll after the game, but the way the All Blacks came back in the third test shows that they are the team to beat on any given day, on both sides of the equator.
The Kiwis were allowed to slack off in one match this year and the second test was that match. There’ll be no such complacency in the Rugby Championship, Steve Hansen will ensure that. New Zealand will keep their killer edge and the Wallabies will have their work cut out if they have any chance of getting close to them.
If Wallaby fans should be worried about the Kiwis form, so to should Aussie super rugby fans – it’s likely without the conference system not one team would make the finals. Judging the countries by their June Test outings the New Zealand teams could take all six final spots, with the Chiefs 2nd team in 6th.
One Australian team is guaranteed a spot, and might have two, but the Kiwis are so dominant it would be difficult to see an Australian team making the finals if the conference system didn’t exist. By playing teams in the local conference twice, Australians are insulated from the strength of the New Zealand pool.
- Super derbies are Super boring (theinfiniteseason.com)