It was not a good end to 2016 for the Wallabies, taking a hefty defeat to England in the November Internationals. Well, it was probably the worst end, as any Aussie hates being beaten by an England side, especially when its by 16 points.
But this actually isn’t the worst of Australia’s Rugby Union troubles, as studies carried out this year by Australian Sports officials, has showed that the sport is declining at a pretty scary rate! This is definitely not what we want to see anywhere across Rugby, especially with a nation sporting as much history as Australia! It is not just like it is declining in interest, but in almost every aspect of the game; sad to say it’s not looking good for the Wallabies!
The great sport has seen a massive fall in participation, interest and funding;which is pretty much a message that the ARU don’t see the game going anywhere any time soon. This isn’t good to hear considering countries with much less Rugby history such as China are pumping millions into the game. Although, the female side of the game is booming down under, with the sevens team taking home gold at the summer’s Olympics; but could this just be a sign of Women’s sport growing in general?
This news had me thinking, could this decline possibly be down to Australia holding so much love for Union for a long time and never really being the top dogs? And now England seem to be taking their spot, they might be getting a bit too fed up, but this shouldn’t be the case, with them still playing top Rugby.
Although, wouldn’t this mean that young players are still coming into the game? Probably, as the same attractions the game had years ago have not faded, as when I started the game, I played it for the love and fun of the game, and Union is definitely still a lot of fun! But this also doesn’t seem to be the case, as the ARU have seen a decline in how many children join the game, as Union ranked 18th in the top 20 sports played by children 14+, even after such sports as Horseriding!
This decline seems to be part of a pattern within this year’s studies, as they have also seen an estimated 7000 players discontinue playing for their clubs. This is definitely scary for Australian Rugby, as if this carries on, there is a very good chance that Union in the country will not be about for years to come, allowing other sports to take the reigns. The decisions of players are obviously going to be at least a bit about money, and the same with any other career, as no one wants to go into an industry where there is no money, and with the current lack of funding, there definitely isn’t any in the world of Australian Rugby.
All is not lost yet for Wallabies Rugby, as a group of Aussie lovers of the sport(led by former captain Nick Farr-Jones) wrote a very emotive letter to the Australian Rugby Union, distressing their deep concern for the sport which they have grown with and loved more every time they stepped on the field. They are not going to let Rugby union in the country go down without a fight, and neither should any Rugby fan, as without Australia, we are definitely losing out on a big part of our Union future.
Let’s hope that the sport can rejuvenate, sparking a new love for Union across Australia. But what do you think the future holds for the Wallabies?