"Maw! Paw! Come quick – Robbie’s gawn!"

"Maw! Paw! Come quick – Robbie’s gawn!"

Post by Sportsfreak
(who’s a Kiwi by the way).

When it was mooted that Robbie Deans was off to coach Australia, the general feeling was that if he was not wanted by NZ rugby, then good luck to him. Most rugby followers wished him well, and whilst they admired his coaching record, they were disappointed to see him go.

Yet there were also a number of very strange reactions. And the strangest one by far was the “well, if the All Blacks don’t want our Robbie, I’m supporting Australia” reaction.

Initially, it appeared to be a knee-jerk response from those who were genuinely bitter that Deans’ services were not required. But recent events suggest it is more than that – even after an opportunity to have a cuppa and a lie down, there are still some rugby “fans” claiming that they are now bona fide Australian supporters.

Pea Brain Syndrome.

In some circles, there was an outpouring of bewilderment when Graham Henry was reappointed All Blacks Coach. But like it or not, Ted is back, and it’s probably a good thing he doesn’t own a racehorse.

Without going over very old, and very boring, ground, Robbie Deans can certainly consider himself unlucky not to be in charge of his national side. Yet for the sole reason that Henry is back in charge – and our Robbie is not – we have a whole new wave of (predominantly) red and black jerseys apparently about to be spray painted green and gold.

Talkback is not the be all and end all when it comes to public opinion, but it does provide a quick snapshot of how some sectors of the community are thinking at any one time. And quite often that snapshot makes you want to puke. Fresh from booing Phil Waugh during his speech on Saturday night, these people were on the phone on Sunday announcing their new allegiances.

It is incomprehensible to think that there are some people willing to turn their back on their national football team simply because they didn’t get their choice of coach. It is a mentality that would struggle to gain any momentum outside of New Zealand.

And in a massive irony, it would also be a sure bet that this thought process is exactly the kind of mentality that a coach like Robbie Deans would NOT promote.

Sure, it would be safe to suggest that when Australia plays most – if not all – other countries, there will be support for Robbie Deans from a lot of New Zealanders, hoping to see him do well. Although in the back of the mind there will remain that the side best equipped to challenge the hosts in RWC2011 now have just the coach they need.

But when it comes to the Bledisloe Cup, real New Zealand supporters will only want to see one team win.

Time will tell if this way of thinking will really come to fruition, or whether it is just hot air expelled by a group of self-absorbed blowhards. But one thing’s for sure. If the Robbie factor is enough for some “fans” to turn their backs on their national team, then the country is better off without their support.


Matt started G&GR just before the 2007 Rugby World Cup and has been enslaved ever since. Follow him on twitter: @MattRowley

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