'It's not a natural part of the DNA of the Wallabies': Rennie wants balance
Dave Rennie has pledged to stick with his plan to evolve the Wallabies despite a disastrous night at Eden Park where the All Blacks scaled heights unseen in Bledisloe Cup history.
Sam Whitelock’s side won 57-22 on Saturday night, stretching their hold over the trans-Tasman silverware to 19 years.
The All Blacks’ score was the highest in the history of the rivalry, dating back to 1903.
Australia completely crumbled in the face of second-half pressure, their fade-out completely eclipsing any first-half positives.
Michael Hooper was frustrated his side wasn’t able to cash in on a one-man advantage after the break as Ardie Savea’s trip to the sin bin should have allowed for an Australian revival.
“We didn’t capitalise on that yellow card at all,” Hooper said.
“New Zealand really put us to the sword.
“We need a longer performance in us. We need to stick to our script a bit more and knuckle down.”
Neither Hooper or Rennie is challenging that script, despite the loss.
Both agreed they needed to “treasure” possession more, a self-evident fact given the intercept tries given away by Noah Lolesio, for the second straight week, and Matt To’omua.
But Rennie said it was important for Australia to grow an attacking kicking game given their size.
“We want to kick more. It’s not a natural part of the DNA of the Wallabies players at the moment,” the Wellingtonian said.
“I don’t think we’re big enough to get into an arm wrestle with sides, so we’ve got to be able to play a balanced game.”
Rennie’s predecessor Michael Cheika said defence, rather than attacking blunders, was the key weakness.
“I think coach Rennie will be really disappointed in the defensive side of the game,” he told Stan Sport.
“The attacking side of the game looked sharp enough … but the defensive side of the game is key.
“The score isn’t really reflective of the performance they put in.
“They really excelled in disrupting New Zealand early on. They just couldn’t keep the defensive pressure on all match.”
The series concludes with game three in Perth in a fortnight, and while the Bledisloe is gone, a win will keep alive Australia’s Rugby Championship hopes.
With Tate McDermott’s lively showing, Hooper’s Herculean effort and Andrew Kellaway’s two tries, it’s not all gloom for the Wallabies.
“We want to have an optimistic mindset,” Rennie said.
“But we went in with a plan, we didn’t execute that plan and we’ll seriously look at what we’re doing.”
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