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'That was Cheika-esque': Wallabies hard loss to France 'C' team

By Sam Smith
(Photo by Graham Denholm/Getty Images)

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Another close contest between Wallabies and France has resulted in a level series heading into the third and final match of the series, with the visitors sealing a 28-26 win with a penalty three minutes from full time in Melbourne.


The entertaining series has been an even one so far, but not lost on Wallaby fans is the fact that this France team is effectively a third or fourth choice side without the likes of stars Antoine Dupont, Romain Ntamack, Charles Ollivon, and Virimi Vakatawa.

After escaping in the first test after a French brain fade, losing in the second has brought disapointment over the realisation where Dave Rennie’s side is at in their development.

After a promising Rugby Championship in 2020 which saw a win and draw over the All Blacks from four contests and two draws from two with the Pumas, doubt is creeping in over where the Wallabies are headed.

Australian rugby writer Hugh Cavill called the side ‘honest toilers’ lacking enough game-breaking ability. Koroibete was identified as the only back that could make plays.

Fans lamented not being able to ‘compete with the French C side’ and the state of the Wallabies breakdown, which was under pressure all night from a French side intent on slowing the ball down.



Fans weren’t happy with the ‘run it from everywhere’ approach, which one described as ‘Cheika-esque’, the former Wallaby coach whose side played recklessly up until the 2019 World Cup campaign.

One of the hallmarks of Dave Rennie’s time at the Chiefs was their willingness to run it out of their own 22, but applying that strategy in test rugby is an entirely different kettle of fish it seems.

Rennie spoke about ‘knowing when to get the balance right’ in his post-match press conference, while he gave France credit for their work at the breakdown.

“We made some key errors and there were probably only two stats we lost, one was breakdown penalties and the other was the kicking battle,” he said.

“While we wanted to play and we did some really good stuff from deep we’ve got to get the balance right of when to kick on the front foot.

“You’ve got to give France credit, they were really good over the ball, I think we got penalised nine times at the breakdown and obviously that had a massive effect on our continuity and our ability to hurt them.

“We tried to go back door and go around them at times when they were flying up and shutting us down.”


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