The Wallabies may be looking in good condition after a third place finish in last year’s World Cup but the domestic game in Australia is hardly looking world beating.
Three Australian sides suffered defeats to overseas sides in the last round of games with the only Aussie side to taste success being Western Force who overcame fellow Aussies and reigning champions Queensland Reds.
With all five Australian sides struggling so far in the campaign it looks unlikely that there will be back to back Aussie winners. Last year’s Champions Queensland seem in the worst form of all, being hammered by the Western Force 45-19 this week. Only the Brumbies sit in the top half of the table as things stand and they themselves have only played one game away from home thus far.
In a dreadful round for the Australian sides the common issue was a failure to take opportunities when they were available to them. With all the losing sides having chances to score tries that they just couldn’t finish off. The second common issue was the injuries to key five eighths. Brumbies inside centre Matt Toomua has been ruled out for the rest of the season with a knee injury and Western Force’s fly half James Stannard picked up an ankle injury which will keep him out for at least a week.
Ill discipline has also been a constant thorn in the side of the Aussies with Cooper Vuna, Lloyd Johansson and Phoenix Battye all being disciplined for dangerous tackling.
With these issues and a lack of form it seems unlikely that Australian sides will be causing too much bother to the South African and Ireland Rugby sides come final’s time. In fact as things stand the only reason any Australian side anywhere near the top is the adoption of the new ranking system for this season.
Under the old system the Brumbies would be sitting sixth in the lowest play-off position and the prospect of a play off without any Australian participation would be a real possibility.