Coach Michael Cheika says he will forcefully get his message across to his misfiring team after the Wallabies threw away their chance of squaring the Test series against England this weekend.
The Wallabies let themselves down with a multitude of handling errors, many in strong attacking positions, as England triumphed 23-7 on the back of a monumental defensive effort in the second Test to clinch their first-ever series in Australia on Saturday.
While the Wallabies conceded 14 penalties in losing 39-28 in the Brisbane series opener, this time it was their shoddy handling that let them down, losing possession a staggering 13 times.
The Wallabies enjoyed 68 percent possession and 56 percent field position, yet could only come up with one try after scoring four tries in the previous Test.
Cheika was fuming over the butter-fingered Wallabies throwing away their chance of taking the three-Test series to a decider in Sydney next Saturday.
“I’ve got to own that because we prepare that during the week and I’ve got to explain it to the lads more forcefully,” he told reporters after Saturday’s loss.
“I’ve got to own that as a coach with those things. That’s the stuff we set out and I’ve got to make sure that message is clear.
“I know that we want to play a lot of rugby, but it doesn’t always convert into the scoreboard and that will happen sometimes, but it shouldn’t happen regularly.”
The Wallabies were frustrated by England’s resilient defence with the Six Nations champions making a total of 215 tackles to Australia’s 81.
– Humbling defeat –
“You have to pay credit to England, they played very well in both games,” Cheika said.
“They’ve played very smart, they’ve played in the right areas, they’ve played well in the ruck and spoiled a lot of good ball for us. That’s well done to them.
“They’ve seen that we’re going to play a lot of footy and chosen the opposite way and their way has been victorious pretty clearly.
“Even though we’ve had a lot more attack, we only got the one try this week. We have to take that, suck it up and use the scars later on.”
What began with the Wallabies as clear favourites to beat the Eddie Jones-coached England after reaching last year’s World Cup final materialised into a humbling series defeat for the first time at home.
Injuries to key men David Pocock and Kurtley Beale did not help, but the Wallabies were out-thought and out-played by the Six Nations Grand Slam champions, who now have won eight consecutive Tests.
“Our squad’s changed a fair bit. I think there’s 10 or 11 different from the World Cup squad, but that’s the opportunity for us to grow our depth and that’s what we’re going to get out of this,” Cheika said.
“But the opportunities that we let go tonight just through errors are at this point more at the forefront of my mind than the other things we may be getting from this series.” – Agence France-Presse