Wallabies Assistant coach Mick Byrne is requesting patience from the team’s Aussie supporters. He stopped short of attaching a time frame to his request, but it is highly doubtful that he would be so bold as to seek another 15 years forbearance for the Wallabies to win another Bledisloe Cup.
According to Byrne, the Wallabies have been “hugely improved” in training for the second game at Dunedin Saturday coming, meaning perhaps that the All Blacks will not be able to switch off until past the beginning of the second half, as they were able to do in Sydney when enjoying a 54 – 6 advantage.
Byrne may be a reliable source, having served in a similar role focusing on skill aspects for the All Blacks over a span of three World Cup competitions. Byrne may have some sort of keen insight. After all, he did play 14 seasons in the AFL with the Melbourne Demons, Hawthorn Hawks and Sydney Swans as a ruckman. What better source of rugby skills could there be?
Then again, a “hugely improved” Wallabies side might be able to hold the All Blacks under 50 and score over 30, as an assessment of the Wallabies improvement would have to be viewed as highly subjective.
Looking better in the training paddock versus looking better in actual games is a reach that is beyond the grasp of more than a few. We could make a similar claim, that our writing is “hugely improved” compared to when we were in first grade, but we could only hope for compassionate judges. There is no such luxury in international rugby.
Byrne failed to make his case when he brought up 2007. He was two years into his stint with the All Blacks when France knocked them out of the World Cup in the quarterfinals. Even though the All Blacks were resurrected, how much credit can be given to the coaches and how much must be accredited to the players?