By Lee Stace
THE PROGNOSIS for under-fire Blues coach Pat Lam does not look good, but it will be unfair if he is made the scapegoat for what has been a wretched season for the Auckland-based side.
There are others who need to be held accountable; others who have contributed to this annus horribilis at the castle of the former kings of Super Rugby.
Confirmation yesterday by the Blues top brass that Lam’s job will be advertised does not bode well for the battling incumbent.
While the franchise’s chief executive Andy Dalton indicated that Lam would be welcomed to re-apply for the position he has occupied for the past four years, it is unlikely that he will be retained given the Blues currently reside in the Super Rugby basement with a one-win, nine-loss record after 10 games.
Lam has to take some blame for this embarrassing season, particularly around his initial squad selection for the 2012 campaign and subsequent team selections since.
Put simply, he has got them wrong – badly wrong – and has placed misguided faith in players who have not been able to cut the Super Rugby mustard.
To his credit, though, he has fronted up. Not only has he fronted up each and every week as us vultures in the media circle, but he has kept his cool, answered our questions and accepted his fate all the while taking more hits than Google.
But Lam cannot be blamed entirely for the 2012 Blues fiasco.
There are others who need to take a long, hard look at themselves in the mirror. Everyone – from players, coaches and administrators – needs to do some soul searching and ask themselves if they have done the best that they can. If their answer is no, then perhaps it is best they begin re-evaluating their future plans.
The rot has started at the top and has over the years spread to other arms of the organisation.
Of chief concern for the Blues should be talent identification and recruitment. Both have been poor, as has been evidenced by the some of the sub-standard players who have worn the Blues jersey in recent years.
Lam will be given a pink slip. There is no doubt about that.
But the buck should not stop with the coach. Others need to follow him out the door if the Blues are to return to the dizzying heights of 1996-97 and 2003.
If they don't, the same mistakes are doomed to be repeated.
With the series level, expect both teams to put it all on the line as they seek to win the deciding test in Sydney on Saturday night.