How un-Australian - rugby players aren't cocky enough suggests Rod Kafer

When Australia were great: lippy George Gregan - seen roughing up Richie McCaw - never backed down. Photo / Brett Phibbs
When Australia were great: lippy George Gregan - seen roughing up Richie McCaw - never backed down. Photo / Brett Phibbs

This is a not a cry normally associated with Australian sport - but a leading light says their rugby players aren't cocky enough.

In a very un-Australian moment, commentator Rod Kafer believes an inferiority complex is at the heart of a disastrous run of trans-Tasman results.

Advice is flowing thick and fast for beleaguered Australian rugby, and Brumbies icon Kafer has joined the fray urging it to stop "aping" New Zealand.

Kafer also believes that constant put downs of the Australian teams have seeped into the players' psychology.

"All the players hear is how far ahead the Kiwi teams are and eventually, as resistant as you try to be as a player, those things over time seep in, through the smallest cracks in a player's psyche," Kafer told the Sydney Morning Herald.

"You get the sense that our decline in performance, particularly against New Zealand sides, has unfortunately been consistent over the past three years. It's almost in the Australian psyche now, that deferment to New Zealand, and it becomes self-perpetuating."

The former test inside back, a key mastermind in the Brumbies' great years, said Australia had to find its own way of doing things.

Listen: Former Australian coach Alan Jones talks to Mike Hosking

"There is absolute merit in what our administrators and coaches have been doing with all their work looking at best practice in New Zealand, but the process now needs to take everything we have learned and make it our own," Kafer said.

"There is a fantastic template for success across the ditch that we should be learning from but you can't pick up something from another organisation, drop it in here and expect it to work with no further tailoring."

The SMH reported Kafer supported cutting the number of Australian Super teams from five to four. But he was baffled as to why the threat of fewer jobs being available for players wasn't inspiring them to play better.

Kafer said: "Of course there's going to be uncertainty around the competition but if anything that gives the players opportunities to be inspired and to play as if their lives depended on it."

- NZ Herald

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