Allegiance; National or Provincial?

After a disappointing 2018 season at all levels, we see what many have labelled inevitable. The streamlining of rugby between State and national teams. A similar system to the largely successful model New Zealand utilises, in which provincial rugby teams are owned and operated by the national body.

Whilst ownership will remain in the public sector, the introduction of Scott Johnson as Director or Rugby for Rugby Australia is the first step in a very long journey to effective communication and collaboration between franchises and the national team.

It’s my view that a strong Wallabies side is good for rugby in Australia. With such a competitive sporting landscape, we cannot function as a code without a strong national team.

What is largely predicted is Scott Johnson will spend many hours on the phone to the coaching staff of each of our 4 Super Rugby sides (and the Western Force) with particular focus on “managing workload”. Meaning making coaches rest players, they would otherwise prefer to be on the paddock.

As a wallabies fan, it makes sense to funnel all our resources into helping the Wallabies stop the rot. It is a Rugby World Cup year, and i would prefer us not to be knocked out in the group stages.

But as a Waratah fan, we consistently make the finals only to fail in the semi’s. With the obvious exception of 2014, we are a regular bridesmaid in Super Rugby. I don’t want our best players to be sitting on the sidelines when the Wallabies aren’t likely to taste victory in Japan regardless of how many games Izzy sits out.

There is a conflict between my national and provincial allegiance which is echoed by the majority of the rugby public. But which takes precedence and why?

It’s a tough call, but the higher order must take precedence. The Wallabies need to have priority. In the mind of the players, the mind of administrators and the minds of the rugby public.

The life of the Christian is no different. In what is a mixed bag of conflicting allegiances, we are drawn to any number of priorities that draw us away from the highest order. A life dedicated to following Jesus.

July will roll around, the Waratahs will not be Super Rugby Champions. October will roll around, the Wallabies will not be World Champions. But the game will go on and Jesus will still be in charge.

Where does your allegiance lie?


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