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'See them not making the quarters': Early RWC exit predicted for Wallabies

By Finn Morton
Tate McDermott disappointed following the Wallabies' loss to Italy. Photo by Timothy Rogers/Getty Images

The Wallabies have proved to the rugby world that they’re capable of challenging the best, but winning is ultimately all that matters – and success has alluded them in recent international thrillers.

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After beginning their five match spring tour with a valiant one-point win over Scotland at Murrayfield, the men in gold have failed to win their last three Tests.

Indiscipline a lack of consistency, in terms of player performance across the entire 80 minutes and with selections week-to-week, have cost the Wallabies.

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The Wallabies pushed World No. 2 France for about 75 minutes before a late try sent the Stade de France crowd into a frenzy, and saw Les Bleus keep their impressive unbeaten run alive.

While there were plenty of positives to take out of that tough loss against one of the World Cup favourites, the Wallabies showed just how long a week can be in international rugby.

Australia made mass changes to their starting XV and ultimately paid the price, with inexperienced combinations failing to fire against Italy – who beat the Wallabies for the first time ever.

While they fell just short of an upset win over the world’s best team Ireland in Dublin last weekend, the Wallabies are now just 80 minutes away from a four match losing streak to end their season.

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Speaking on the Aotearoa Rugby Pod, former All Blacks hooker James Parsons said Australia may not qualify for the quarterfinals at next year’s World Cup.

“I think I can (make the quarters) with the performance I saw against the French,” Parsons said.

“I think on their day you can but I can also see them not making the quarters in pool play because they have a couple of slip ups.

“They’ve got a bit of fine tuning to do in their preparation. As we know Bryn, it’s what happens before gameday that sets you up for success and I just think something’s not right in that period of time to bring the best out of them.

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“There is no lack of ticker. They are trying almost too hard at times and that puts them under pressure.”

Australia are just a matter of days away from their final Test match of the year, which is against familiar foes Wales in Cardiff.

While the Wallabies have traditionally found a way to win Tests against Wales, this match has major ramifications for next year – it might just be their most important game of the year.

Rugby fans will be forgiven for experiencing some déjà vu at next year’s World Cup with Australia, Wales and Fiji set to go head-to-head in pool play, just as they did three years ago.

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The Wallabies may have shown plenty of potential and promise throughout the Autumn Internationals, but the most important stat in sport is the scoreboard after all.

Still, six-time Super Rugby winner Bryn Hall believes Australia have shown that they’re capable of potentially challenging for the Webb Ellis Cup.

“I think the biggest thing is trying to adapt, trying to adapt to the discipline areas and I think that sits well for Australia and probably the whole of World Rugby,” Hall said earlier in the podcast.

“I know the results haven’t gone their way but they have been competitive, and to be honest they should have won maybe three of those Test matches due to one-point losses. You can take confidence in that.

“I think they’ve shown enough that I think they can still be in a place to be able to win the Rugby World Cup because of the style that they do play.

“When they do get it right, they can beat any team on their day.”

The Wallabies’ Achilles heel as of late has been injuries, with a number of star players having been ruled out of test matches including Taniela Tupou and Michael Hooper.

While Australia have been able to hand a number of up-and-coming players their first Test caps, it’s clearly impacted the teams competitiveness on the field.

“Obviously something has to change because they can’t be without this many key personnel. We’ve spoken about the consistency of selection, it’s probably failed for them in the sense that they haven’t had the relationship with each other,” Parsons added.

“There’s elements of their game that they need to be a little bit more ruthless (in). At some stages they hold the ball for too long and don’t kick, and then other times they don’t score off the first phase and then kick.

“I think their balance of attack has always been an issue, especially if they’re not winning those collisions.

“There needs to be, clearly a review but there does need to be some changes and I’d say they’d weakly structured.”

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