Tony Veitch: Anzac animosity is real

Dane Haylett-Petty of the Wallabies pushes Israel Dagg of the All Blacks. Photo / Getty
Dane Haylett-Petty of the Wallabies pushes Israel Dagg of the All Blacks. Photo / Getty

Trans-Tasman mates? Anzac brothers? Not even close when it comes to rugby.

Let me be perfectly blunt about this - these two old rivals cannot stand each other.

Why, I hear you asking? It's sport. Shake hands, share a beer and move on from whatever controversies may have played out during the match.

Not going to happen.

This animosity can be traced back to one significant date in All Blacks-Wallabies relations. December 14, 2007, the day Robbie Deans was rolled out as the new Australian coach.

Little did we know then that one appointment would turn traditional but respectful rivals into fierce enemies, moreso off the field.

Deans did not want a bar of the niceties or traditions of international rugby. He instructed his players not to share a beer with the All Blacks in the dressing sheds post-match, as has been the way since William Webb Ellis decided to pick up a ball and run with it.

So, for the best part of six years these two sides drifted apart badly. Compare that to the relationship between the All Blacks and the Springboks. Every time the Boks are in town, New Zealand Rugby puts on a post-match function for both sides. Hell would freeze over before the same courtesy was shown to the Aussies in the current climate.

There is no doubt the All Blacks don't have an ounce of respect for Michael Cheika and his passionate rants aimed at them, but on the flipside I can also tell you that Cheika won't engage with the ABs either.

Cheika claimed last night he is never welcomed into the All Blacks sheds post-match. From what I've been told, Cheika has always refused.

All of this may explain why Kieran Read was not exactly glowing in his praise of the Wallabies when the ABs wrapped up the Bledisloe Cup for another year. At the time, there was some chatter that Read could have been more gracious in his post-match speech. Well, now you know the reasons why.

It took a clown cartoon to blow the lid on this wavering relationship and to make Michael Cheika flip out.

But come on, the Aussie press has said and done far worse. Remember the "Richetty grub" front page?

There is also no doubt in my mind that the All Blacks are still hugely suspicious about who planted the bug in their team meeting room in Sydney. Strangely that investigation has gone ever so quiet.

Maybe there's a play here for Dean Lonergan and Duco? Cheika v Hansen at the Fight for Life? Because as long as these two are in their respective jobs, Trans-Tasman mateship is a thing of the past.

*Tune in to Newstalk ZB from midday for more reaction and interviews.

- NZ Herald

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