The Wallabies won’t retreat into their shells after yet another Eden Park beating left Dave Rennie’s men needing to pull off rare back-to-back wins over the All Blacks to regain the Bledisloe Cup.
While they paid the ultimate price for 40 missed tackles in Sunday’s 27-7 defeat in Auckland, too many loose carries also hurt the Wallabies, who created enough chances to frighten the All Blacks.
After a crisp display in the series-opening 16-16 draw in Wellington, the Wallabies lacked the necessary attacking poise to punish the All Blacks as the last pass too often failed to find the mark.
“We need to be better,” said Wallabies coach Dave Rennie.
The loss of midfield playmaker Matt Toomua to a recurring groin injury before halftime didn’t help, leaving five-eighth James O’Connor to pull all the attacking strings on his own.
But Toomua’s departure did allow Jordan Petaia to make his test return and the young gun was among Australia’s best during his 45-minute cameo.
With the extent of Toomua’s injury still unknown, Rennie may be forced into a change for Bledisloe III in Brisbane on October 31.
Hunter Paisama switched from outside to inside centre to accommodate Petaia, but whether Rennie retains the powering pairing or potentially replaces Toomua with another ball player will be the big call.
“Hunter’s going great. A young man who wasn’t even sure if he was going to play Super Rugby at the start of the year and started in the first two tests,” Rennie said.
“I thought he made a good fist of moving into 12. We do have some pretty good options who didn’t play today as well.
“Irae Simone being one fellow who has spent a bit of time over here in New Zealand and is a big part of the Brumbies set-up.
“So we do have some options but I thought Hunter was strong.”
Either way, the Wallabies’ 20th straight loss to the All Blacks at Eden Park has left them needing to record successive trans-Tasman victories for the first time in 19 years to regain the Bledisloe.
Flanker Ned Hanigan, one of Australia’s best on Sunday, said that, despite the handling errors in Auckland, tempering their attack and being conservative wouldn’t do the defiant Wallabies any favours.
“The skill and the offload is something that creates a lot of momentum and that the boys practice at training,” Hanigan said.
“I think it’s different if you’re going into a game and you’ve never practised an offload and you throw one and it doesn’t come off.
“Yeah, we definitely will be saying we’re not pulling back on offloading.
“Nothing else matters except winning that Cup and we’ve got two at home to do it. There’s no doubt in my mind we can do it.”
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