Some people may notice I am slightly frustrated with the state of our national team at the moment. Don’t get me wrong, it is not the losing I mind so much. I have “been there, done that”. It’s a brutal tournament. What I am most upset at is the complete lack of self awareness and honest self assessment in the team management and our senior administrators. I sit in disbelief as I watch/read these interviews… So I thought I’d give myself a shot at answering some of the same questions.
Here is what Coach Tolkin has said during the course of the tournament. The comment on the overall performance just leaves me gasping for hope:
On his team’s World Cup performance:
“I think it has been the best we’ve ever performed. We have been consistent in every game and showed moments of brilliance and periods of good play, unfortunately our game management and other areas let us down.”
TR: Really. Best we’ve ever performed. Not quite. 1987 – Beat Japan. Our “2nd team” lost to current World #1 47-12, and then to England in the final match. The USA had the oldest team in the tournament by far. 1991 – Our “2nd team” lost 46-6 to current World Champion New Zealand (on 2 full days rest), and then 37-9 to eventual runners up England (again on only 2 full days rest). My comments here are not intended to compare the two era’s. Far from it, But, please don’t make blatant comments that sound good on camera or on paper , but are just not true.
I wrote this post prior to the USA v. Japan match tonight at RWC2015. The USA lost another very winnable game. I believe our issues are systemic in a big way. Here is the way the Pool table ended…
11/11/2015. I have committed to not eating today – so when USA Rugby wins tonight I can eat my words from last night. And I will, with delight. However; win or lose this evening – it doesn’t change the premise of the discussion.
Ok, so clearly I stirred up a bit of a wasp’s nest with my post last night. I want to make something very clear – I am not posing complaints at any one individual. I am raising some issues that we (yes, the collective “we” who have a true passion for rugby in the USA) must resolve for fear that the ‘definition of insanity’ will rule, and we will just continue with the same old story, same old results. I am also not criticizing any one individual, nor the commitment of any one individual.
I had a pretty amazing day today. Four hours before kickoff, I did not have a ticket to the match. My man, Victor Ubogu and his staff (thank-you Felicia, and his wife Ang) completely squared me away. I got a text , go to such and such address to pick up your ticket… I get there and I peak in and there are some pretty decent former players in there. Two RWC Champions (David Campese AUS, and Chester Williams RSA) and the great Mark Ella who retired in 1984 after leading the Wallabies to a Grand Slam tour of the UK.
The great Australian outside halfback and Grand Slam Champion 1984, Mark Ella