It’s been another horror weekend for Australian Rugby – and it isn’t even over yet.
The Israel Folau saga is still bubbling away in the background, with several All Blacks now coming out to castigate him, and then news of Rob Horne, the former Waratahs and Wallabies stalwart, whose career has been ended with a very rare arm injury.
And that’s just off the field.
Between the white lines the news is even worse.
First up the Horror-Tahs, who up to that point were enjoying their best start to the season in a decade – five wins and a draw in six matches – were “Bagel-ed” by the Lions, losing 29-0 – at home .
The few remaining NSW fans were left scratching their heads as they were kept to nil for the first time in their 23-year history of Super Rugby – that’s over 300 matches.
But they deserved nothing more – out-played, out-coached and out-thought by a Lions team who celebrated their first ever victory in Sydney – and a four try bonus point.
It was so simple for the Lions.
Knowing that most of the Waratahs best playmaking comes from inside centre Kurtley Beale, the Lions closed down his options, leaving him to run into blind alleys all night and unable to find that killer pass to one of his runners.
With Beale shut down that left the Lions to show their dominance over the NSW pack with hooker Malcolm Marx unstoppable with 60 run metres including three clean breaks.
NSW fly-half Bernard Foley had a trip to the head-bin in the first half, which may have contributed to the Waratahs disjointed feel but that is no excuse.
As usual when it all falls apart for the Waratahs (and Wallabies), captain Michael Hooper rose to fill the gaps giving his standard 80+ minutes performance, but it wasn’t enough.
This was a big test to see if the Waratahs had genuine chops in Super Rugby in 2018. Home game, no Whiteley or Kriel. Late Lions arrival.— Iain Payten (@iainpayten) April 20, 2018
Held scoreless and now here come four New Zealand teams.
The Reds then had the chance to salvage something from the weekend when they took on the Chiefs in Brisbane but they succumbed just as easily losing 36-12.
For a while it looked like they too would suffer the indignity of being “nill-ed”, down 24=0 at halftime, but they managed to tie the second half to retain a skerrick of hope for the weeks ahead.
A few hours later in Pretoria the Rebels were put to the sword by the resurgent Bulls, meaning the last hope falls with the Brumbies who host the Jaguares on Sunday.
It can’t get much worse for Australian rugby at the moment.
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