Having 125 Test caps doesn’t exempt you from severe criticism when your game is not what it used to be.
George Gregan knows this better than anyone. The Wallaby No 9 has been on the receiving end of scathing reviews from the Australian media and opponents recently. But, the most capped Test player in history refuses to let the negative press affect him.
“I don’t play to answer critics, I play to become a better player and enjoy it,” Gregan told the media. “I love getting out on the field and playing and as soon as that wanes I know it’s time.”
The 33-year-old last year snapped back at England’s defensive coach, Mike Ford, who critcised him of running sideways too often by calling him a “east-west” player.
“If there is a hole to go north, I think I’m all right at taking that too,” Gregan said sarcastically. “Everyone’s a bit different.”
It seems he has become an easy target for journalists the world over, who intricately dissect every mistake he makes. He came in for severe criticism after his team’s poor showing against the Boks in Sydney and media were particularly ruthless.
“Gregan’s form was again disappointing,” one journalist wrote. “His passing was flawed, he was involved in a scrumbase mix-up that led to the Boks’ first try and he lacked the pace to cash in on the times he breached the defence. He is, it appears, on borrowed time.”
The plucky scrumhalf has made it known that he desires to end his career after the World Cup, but Connolly is thought to be looking at long term replacements.
“I’m committed to it [making the World Cup squad],” Gregan said. “I’d love to play in it but there’s a lot of football to be played and a lot of things that you can’t control between now and then.”
Australia face New Zealand in Auckland in their next Tri-Nations game on 19 August.