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'They're letting themselves down' - Knives sharpening for Rennie's Wallabies

Rob Valetini of the Wallabies reacts during The Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup match between the New Zealand All Blacks (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)

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The heat is on Wallabies coach Dave Rennie after the All Blacks racked up their highest score against Australia in 118 years of Test rugby.


New Zealand’s 57-22 mauling at Eden Park keeps the Bledisloe Cup in New Zealand for a 19th straight year and has left some to question the Australia mentor’s tactics.

Just five points down at the break, a horror show then ensued as the All Blacks slammed on five second-half tries, including four in a rampant 18 minutes.

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All Blacks legend Andrew Mehrtens questioned Rennie’s tactics, saying they were “just too quick with the boot”.

“When you’re on a front-foot roll you put in a little kick to regain it, a grubber kick to regather. They’ve just kicked the ball away too often tonight,” he said.

Sir John Kirwan, another Kiwi statesman, took aim at loose passing that saw two intercepts lead to tries – after Noah Lolesio committed the same blunder in last week’s 33-25 loss.

“They made that mistake again twice … they haven’t adjusted,” he told Sky Sport NZ. “They’re throwing moneyballs because they think they can see the space and it’s not coming off … they are letting themselves down.”


Both Rennie and captain Michael Hooper agreed the Wallabies didn’t treasure the ball closely enough.

Rennie said he appreciated the buck stopped with him.

“Everything falls back on me, doesn’t it,” he said. “We went in with a plan; we didn’t execute that plan and we’ll seriously look at what we’re doing.”

Hooper was downcast about his side’s inability to play out a match.


“We’ve got to have 80-minute performances and we haven’t put one together probably this year,” he said. “We’re 100 per cent going to be optimistic about the stuff we’re doing well.”

On at least one point, Kirwin was happy to give the Wallabies some credit.

“Were they really physical tonight, did they create lots of play? … Are they fantastic in contact? Yeah,” he said. “But you cannot give the All Blacks those 10 or 15 minutes where they put mistake after mistake.”


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