HOW good are the New South Wales Waratahs at the moment?
But how bad are the Waratahs’ fans?
If you bring up rugby anywhere, all you’ll hear about is how good the ’Tahs are playing. And of course, it’s true, they’re playing outstanding rugby.
Unfortunately, the next thing out of most ’Tahs faithful is how good it will be when they win the title.
One would think after 20 years of sublime mediocrity they would have learnt.
It’s the same story every year for the ’Tahs and their fans - win a few early in front of an empty stadium, then allow arrogance to consume the players.
Inevitably, the ’Tahs choke and don’t take home the title, and several thousand crisp, barely-worn sky blue jerseys find their way to the local Salvation Army outlet.
As good as they’re playing, their fans are filled with a sense of entitlement only Waratahs fans are capable of.
Let’s outlay the facts.
Israel Folau is continually proving he will be a legend of the game.
Providing he doesn’t decide to take up a third new challenge and sign with the New England Patriots.
Michael Hooper has established himself as the best breakaway in the country.
Wycliff Palu is finally playing well, after at least three seasons of injury-affected tripe.
The ’Tahs forwards have finally muscled up and, unlike recent seasons, don’t look like a pack of prima donnas more worried about spilling their single-malt scotch all over their cheese platter than putting points on the board.
And, finally, they’ve only won two games - against Australian opposition, albeit very good sides in the improving Western Force, and recent title winners the Queensland Reds.
I’d love to see the Waratahs finally fulfil their potential, and secure that elusive title.
But until they play this way consistently, against the best South African and Kiwi franchises as well, confidence is more suited as a quiet trait.
One thing is for sure, under Michael Cheika the ’Tahs will play exciting, running rugby.
The type of rugby the fans want to see, and the exact opposite of what we’re used to seeing from the Waratahs.
Here’s to hoping they continue to give their fans a reason to watch and, finally, a reason to celebrate come season’s end.