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Wallabies great Stephen Moore has delivered a grim view of rugby in Australia.
A “disillusioned” Wallabies great has slammed the perilous state of Australian rugby, saying it was “floundering at every level” and hit out at the “panic decision” to rehire Eddie Jones.
Former national captain Stephen Moore, a 129 test veteran, called for more unity in the game across the Tasman where he feared the short term views taken by the national administration had left rugby “beyond make or break”.
“Australian rugby has drifted from one level of mediocrity to the next over the last couple of decades. It’s disappointing. I’m really disillusioned with the game, which is a shame, and a lot of my mates who l played rugby with are in the same boat,” Moore said in a damning interview with Code Sports.
The former hooker felt the decision to bring back Jones after he was axed by England, showed the lack of development in coaching in Australia where the Wallabies were previously under the guidance of Kiwi Dave Rennie.
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“(Hiring Jones) is almost a panicked decision because Eddie got sacked by England, and they had to move quickly,” Moore, 40, said.
“We haven’t grown our own coaches like we should have, and now it’s biting us. Whenever the Wallabies job comes up, we’re scratching our heads about who could fill that role.”
It was a similar situation with leadership and development in the playing ranks.
He blamed Rugby Australia for “not doing a good job” in this area, pointing out two current Wallabies captaincy options Michael Hooper and James Slipper were nearing the end of their careers.
Moore felt there was an obsession with rugby league players being makeshift solutions for rugby, something Jones had already indicated he would do as he takes over the reins of the national team with a need to reboot the side ahead of this year’s World Cup in France.
Declining interest and standards in grassroots rugby was a major issue with Moore blaming Rugby Australia’s desire to focus mainly on the Wallabies, at the expense of the women’s game, juniors and wider participation in a sport that has increasingly attractive alternatives for youngsters.
“We seem to be taking a very short-term view on the success of the Wallabies and the game more generally. We don’t have a long-term vision for the game, and it’s a big problem because we continue to regress over time … we’re floundering at every level,” Moore, who also played almost 200 Super Rugby games between the Reds and Brumbies, told The Code.
He felt the game was at a new low in Australia.
“I would say it’s beyond make or break, we’re well beyond that stage,” Moore said, though he felt there were examples of how it could be lifted from the mire, citing how Ireland, with their centralized efforts at high-performance level had lifted them to being one of the best rugby nations in the world right now.
Australian rugby, often seen as elitist in the wider sporting scene there, needed to work past the internal political rivalries that had been a trademark of the game.
“We need to work together a lot more, that’s really important. We need more alignment between the provincial unions around high performance, commercial arrangements – all that kind of stuff,” Moore said.
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