Rollo Manning has been a rugby tragic all his life since being named after a Wallaby winger and educated at a private boarding school in Sydney, Australia. Manning has been working in publicity and public relations for 40 years, and during that time has commented on the "game they play in heaven" through radio, magazines and newspaper coverage.
As a correspondent for the Australian Broadcasting Commission, he has broadcast in magazine style programs and live coverage of games. He is currently a regular contributor on ABC Radio in his hometown of Darwin in the Northern Territory of Australia.
Manning has been contributing to eSports for six years and relishes the opportunity to express his views on the first of the two rugbies. He is currently completing work on a study of the inter play between rugby league and rugby union over the past 100 years, when league was formed as the professional arm of an otherwise purely amateur game.
Since 1995, both have become professional and the drift of players is going back from league to union. Where will it end? That is the question Manning is now asking himself.
The Wallabies are one test win towards redeeming themselves as a force for the 2011 World Cup – but hang on, haven't we heard that before?
In 2009, a 22-16 win against France was hailed as the "comeback" game, only to see losses in the Tri Nations to both New Zealand and the Springboks. Similarly, the first Test against the England side this year with a 27-17 win was seen by the Australian media as the "turning point," only to lose the next week to the same side and win against a tired Ireland the following week.
The praises are being showered today on the Wallabies for their 30-13 win over the beleaguered Springboks at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane in their opening match of the Tri Nations Rugby tournament. Going into the test match with 18 wins from 34 outings, coach Robbie Deans would have been hoping for more.
The score could have been more inviting had James O'Connor been able to ground the ball in the corner, had Rocky Elsom not taken a wrong option with an attempted chip kick when he had support to pass to and the line open, and had a pass not been forward from Cooper to Mitchell for a certain try.
Okay so everyone makes mistakes, but at this level, such fundamental errors should be trained out of the players so they simply do not happen. Until the Wallabies can rid their game of mistakes that would be common place in Club rugby, they cannot be considered a serious contender for either the Tri Nations or the World Cup.
Next week against the All Blacks will be a much better pointer to the real Wallabies and hopes will be high for another top notch display.
The venue, the Docklands Stadium in Melbourne, will not be as friendly for the Wallabies as a Sydney or Brisbane venue, while the All Blacks are likely to be buoyed by the number of expats in Melbourne and the lack of a close Wallaby supporting crowd.
Why such important Test matches have to be played in Melbourne is beyond belief?
It is a city that has rugby as a token sport among the tumultuous Aussie Rules and a ground that is not a rugby ground, but an oval shaped field ideal for cricket or Aussie Rules. Melbourne should not be the venue for the second most sought after game on the Rugby Calendar.
Suncorp in Brisbane is probably on a par with Stadium Australia in Sydney and should be hosting this important game. Take the Wallabies to the outposts of Australia's rugby society but use the minor Tests in a season and not he games that are "must win" for the Wallabies.
As for the Springboks, it is hard to understand how a bunch of players that can play such attacking and attractive rugby for their provincial teams in Super 14 and Currie Cup, can then turn around to be such a rabble in the National guernsey.