The Australian sides of the Super Rugby league have nowhere to go but up, at least so far as playing against the New Zealand sides in the competition are is concerned.
There is cautious optimism, wistful hope or some other sort of positive mental thinking going one, although it would be a stretch to call the prevailing outlook one of outright confidence.
The foundation of the optimism seems to be based on greater team depth now that the five Aussie sides have been reduced to four by the elimination of the Western Force.
Also on the docket is a greater emphasis on fitness and conditioning, although far be it from us to suggest that professional rugby players in Super Rugby last season were slothful in any way regarding preparation, but they will be following programmes that were meant to satisfy Wallabies’ Head Coach Michel Cheika.
There are also some new coaches and some new ideas pertaining to on-field tactics.
Of course, last season, the Australian Super Rugby sides were zero – 26 against any New Zealand opponents. The only way that figure could get any worse would be to play more games against the Kiwis.
Not everyone shares this newfound optimistic outlook.
Waratahs and Wallabies skipper Michael Hooper told the AAP, “It’s hard to say at this point in time. You’ve still got to have coaches coaching the right things, the skills being up to the standard of Super Rugby. As far as I know, across the states, the teams are fit. That’s only as good as a base. What fitness does is allows you to get to a level where most teams want to play.”
Saturday just past, the Queensland Reds pulled off an upset win over the Chiefs in the Brisbane Global Rugby Tens, but let us face it, that was an exhibition. Still, it is a glimmer of hope, perhaps a better glimmer than the close win the Wallabies eked out over the All Blacks in the dead rubber third match of last year’s Bledisloe Cup.