Following Raelene Castle’s letter to Wallabies fans yesterday, where she failed to show any appreciation to the Australian side, this is the letter that former Brumbies chaplain, Dave McDonald, believes she could have written.
Dear Wallabies fans
As we lower the curtain on another World Cup, can I ask you to please join me in thanking so many who’ve worked so hard. It has been a tough campaign and it’s been far more than a few weeks or months. It’s been four years in the making. We expect more and more of our professional players and coaching staff. The competition has become incredibly fierce. The quality of rugby keeps getting better and better. Our teams keep being pushed harder and harder as the game gets tougher and tougher. Join me in thanking everyone involved for their grit and determination during four tough years of international rugby.
Let me begin by expressing gratitude to Michael Cheika and his coaching team. Being a professional coach is often a thankless task. I laud the long hours spent by our coaches, medical staff, and trainers, devoted to maximising every opportunity to put the best-prepared team on the paddock each time we play.
Let us express our congratulation and gratitude to Michael Hooper and his team of players. You have represented your country with pride. Sheer guts and determination, game after game, season after season, year after year. And thank you to the players in the squad who haven’t taken the field, or who haven’t seen much game time. We understand how it takes many more than 23 players to win any serious competition, let alone a world cup. Thank you to players in Super Rugby, the NRC, and club rugby, for challenging one another, and lifting our standard of competition.
Thank you to those in our team who have endured special hardship to represent our country. To Christian Lealiifano for your inspirational journey back from leukaemia to play flyhalf in a World Cup quarter-final. To David Pocock, year after year, in training and rehab, to put his body on the line for one more World Cup campaign. To the unknown and unheralded players who have gone over and above for our entertainment and joy in this great game.
Many of our players have played their last game for Australia. We want to say thank you for representing us so well on the world stage and to wish you all the best for your futures, both in rugby and beyond.
Our thanks must go further. So, to the wives, partners, parents, and children of our players and high-performance staff, we salute you. Many of you have accepted being temporary widows and orphans to allow your men to reach the heights they have. Thank you for your support, love, and sacrifice.
As we come to the end of another World Cup campaign, there can only be one winning team, and we eagerly look forward to seeing who that will be. We will need to review our own campaign. We will examine our processes, systems, priorities, and strategies. We will review our coaches, high-performance staff, and players. We will examine our board, and I will submit to review, in my capacity as CEO of Rugby Australia. There will be changes. There must be. It is only right that we take a long look in the mirror. But, for now, let us not forget to appreciate the men, women, and families who have worked so hard for so long.
With deep appreciation,
CEO, Rugby Australia
Dave McDonald was Chaplain to the Brumbies from 2003-17.
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