It is hard to know where to start with the Wallabies’ spring tour debacle but let’s try a lament. It did not have to be this way.
Poor communication from all parties – from players to coaches to executives – has turned what was a disappointing development into a full-blown embarrassment for Rugby Australia, a firestorm for the players and a selection crisis for Dave Rennie.
As forecast, Quade Cooper officially confirmed to the Wallabies on Thursday morning he would not be joining the tour, and like Sean McMahon and Samu Kerevi, will remain in Japan.
It was the players’ decision to withdraw from the tour. Let’s get that straight.
Eddie Jones, England coach and Suntory consultant, makes a delightful villain but it is stretching credibility to brand him the puppet master on this occasion, despite having much to gain if Australia lost another two from their starting line up a fortnight out from a visit to Twickenham.
Star centre Kerevi was tired after a long Japanese season, an Olympics campaign and a Rugby Championship. He picked up an ankle injury in the Test against Argentina and is three weeks off being back on duty in Japan.
Two sources told the Herald that Japanese club Suntory gave McMahon and Kerevi their blessings. In the Japanese way, it likely involved some ambiguity, which could have sounded something like “We’d like to have you involved in our pre-season, but we understand representing your country is a great honour and we are happy for you to go”.