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'We're pretty soft at the moment, and that's the honest assessment of it'

By AAP
Tate McDermott of the Wallabies is tackled during the Bledisloe Cup match between the Australian Wallabies and the New Zealand All Blacks (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

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Scrumhalf Tate McDermott has described the Wallabies as soft following the team’s latest flop against the All Blacks, saying Sunday’s 38-21 loss felt like Groundhog Day.

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Despite being without stars Sam Whitelock, Aaron Smith and Richie Mo’unga due to paternity leave, the All Blacks ran in six tries to three to secure the win in front of 52,724 fans at Optus Stadium.

The All Blacks were dealt a huge blow in the 28th minute when fullback Jordie Barrett was given a red card for a studs-to-the-face incident on Wallabies winger Marika Koroibete.

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Barrett had leapt to catch a high kick and thrust out his right leg as he was coming down to the turf in order to protect himself.

Trailing 13-0 at the time, the Wallabies needed to make the most of the numerical advantage they would have for the next 20 minutes before Barrett could be replaced.

Instead it was the All Blacks who pounced, with a powerful rolling maul allowing inside centre Dav id Havili to cross just seconds before half-time, giving the visitors an 18-0 lead.

It was a similar case in the recent 57-22 loss in Auckland when the All Blacks managed to power ahead during the period in which they were down to 14 men.

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Another similarity on Sunday was the two long-range intercept tries the Wallabies conceded when on attack.

It meant the Wallabies had given up a total of five intercept tries on the way to losing the Bledisloe Cup series 3-0.

Overall they conceded 128 points in the three Tests while scoring 68.

“It’s so disappointing and frustrating from our point of view,” McDermott told Channel 9.

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“It’s Groundhog Day. Every time we say we’re going to do something, we don’t do it.

“We’re pretty soft at the moment, and that’s the honest assessment of it.”

The Wallabies didn’t score their first points until a 50th-minute try to hooker Folau Fainga’a.

Australia will now lick their wounds befo re fronting up to world champions South Africa on the Gold Coast next Sunday as their Rugby Championship campaign continues.

The All Blacks kicked two penalties to open proceedings on Sunday, and Beauden Barrett set up the first try in the 17th minute with a perfectly-weighted grubber kick that sliced open the Wallabies’ defence.

The Wallabies were unable to score any points during the 20 minutes New Zealand were down to 14 men.

But just moments after the All Blacks were back to their full complement, a smart break from McDermott set up the home side’s opener in the 50th minute.

With the margin back to 11 points there was a glimmer of hope, but it was quickly snuffed out by All Blacks flanker Akira Ioane, who broke three tackles in a powerful run before offloading to Will Jordan for an easy try.

Then came the intercept tries.

A wayward pass from lock Matt Philip was picked off by David Havili, who ran 80m with Kerevi in hot pursuit to touch down.

The other intercept try came in the 72nd minute, when reserve scrumhalf TJ Perenara picked off a pass and made an important burst before unleashing a cross-field kick for George Bridge to cross.

“In the end, we had chances to score and we didn’t,” Wallabies coach Dave Rennie said about his team’s inability to capitalise on the red card.

“It’s about us being clinical. We thought we had scored, it was disallowed, and three minutes left in the half they piggyback a couple of penalties and then hurt us at our end.”

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'We're pretty soft at the moment, and that's the honest assessment of it'

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