Despite winning the Rugby Championship and reaching the World Cup final in 2015, Australia failed to kick on under Micheal Cheika in 2016.
A series whitewash at the hands of England in June was followed by a disappointing Rugby Championship campaign and an underwhelming November series. Although there has been some criticism of Cheika, he is having to deal with a player pool that is evaporating faster than a creek in the outback.
No sooner than players announce themselves with one of Australia’s five Super Rugby franchises, a European club comes calling. Dane Haylett-Petty is the perfect example of this phenomenon. After breaking into the Wallabies starting XV last season, he is now the subject of a contract offer from Bordeaux Begles according to Midi Olympique.
If Haylett-Petty does decide to leave the Force, he will no longer be available for selection with the Wallabies as the 27 year-old has only accumulated 13 international caps, far short of the 60 required to be considered by Cheika.
However if he were to take up Bordeaux’s reported offer, Haylett-Petty would join a list of eight further Australian wingers plying their trade in the Top 14.
Indeed, there is now so much Australian talent playing in France, it is possible to pick a backline that could arguably eclipse what Michael Cheika has at his disposal domestically.
Alan Drumm, Pundit Arena
On this week’s Oval Office Podcast we look at Leicester Tigers’ options and discuss Johnny Sexton’s potential Lions tour.