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Mouth-watering Sydney decider may be a bridge too far for Brits

Who’d have thought, after the injury carnage of the first Test – not to mention the cloud that hung for so long over skipper James Horwill — it would come down to this? The Wallabies, boasting by far the more settled side, solid favourites to complete a remarkable series victory against the pride of British and Irish rugby.

That’s not to say, of course, we won’t have to suffer yet another nerve-jangling cliffhanger. But if this Sydney decider represents a bridge too far for one or other team, you’d be inclined to suggest it’s the Brits.

Not only is it a massive assignment for a group of northern hemisphere players who have been “up” for almost 12 months; you also have to wonder about a side top heavy with Welshmen carrying so many mental scars from losing battles against Australia in recent years.

For the Wallabies’ part, as much as the Melbourne Test failed to scale anything like the heights of that Brisbane epic, it was a case of mission accomplished – the series alive and with that all-important  momentum to take to Sydney.

If Robbie Deans’ calculated gambles – notably, in persisting with James O’Connor at 10 and bringing George Smith into the loose-forward mix – pay off, he may yet survive for a while longer.

Mind you, with that Brisbane backline injuries debacle still fresh in the mind, that’s assuming, too, that his decision to go for a 6/2 forwards/backs split on the bench doesn’t come back to bite him.

x                    x                    x

Win, lose or – dare we suggest it – draw, I’d sincerely hope Wallaby supporters will be able to show their true colours when they kick on at their favourite Sydney watering holes after the match.

As odd as that might sound, I’ve been left wondering after a bizarre post-match experience in Melbourne last Saturday night.

Having arranged to hook up with a few mates at a pub in one of Melbourne’s more salubrious suburbs, we were staggered to learn, on arrival, that they’d been required to “take off your colours” (Wallaby beanies, jackets etc) before being allowed entry.

No matter that there were already dozens of red-shirted Lions supporters firmly ensconced in the bar.

Go figure.

— Peter Thomson



One Response to Mouth-watering Sydney decider may be a bridge too far for Brits

  • Leo says:

    The requirement to remove Wallabies supporter apparel is bizarre. One has to assume that their experiences with AFL, rugby league and soccer supporters has made them very nervous about altercations between opposing factions.

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