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What Rennie thought was 'disappointing' about the win over Japan

By Finn Morton

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The Wallabies made it five wins in a row on Sunday afternoon as they overcame a resilient Japan side to win 32-23 at Oita Stadium.

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The win secured a piece of team history for the Wallabies, and also shows just how far they’ve come as a rugby nation. It’s their best winning streak since the 2015 Rugby World Cup, where the men in gold won seven in a row before losing to New Zealand in the Final.

The Wallabies took control of the match early on against the Brave Blossoms, with some Quade Cooper magic setting up winger Tom Wright for the opening score inside 10 minutes.

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All Blacks react to 104-14 victory over the USA Eagles in Washington D.C
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All Blacks react to 104-14 victory over the USA Eagles in Washington D.C

After a penalty goal was converted by Japan flyhalf Rikiya Matsuda, substitute Jordan Petaia crossed to put the Wallabies up 3-14.

But the Brave Blossoms, as they have in some famous Test matches dating back to that win over South Africa in 2015, never gave up.

They fought back to make it a one-point game late in the first-half, and did so again in the second term. They trailed by as much as 14-points in the second-half, but scored 10-points late to make it a four-point game late.

It was a performance from the Wallabies that Rennie as being “disappointing” and “rusty”, as they failed to play Japan out of the match.

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“Fairly frustrating but we played a lot of good footy but we just didn’t kick the ball enough. There was a lot of space where we could apply pressure and we tended to overplay,” Rennie said following the win over Japan.

“We got some good go forward, almost got sucked into going more phases when then they’ve got no cover in the backfield. So it was disappointing and we ended up putting ourselves under pressure because of it.

“We’re seeing plenty from upstairs. We played a lot of rugby in between the tens, and certainly late in the game we got penalised a fair bit around there.

“Even the intercept, we’ve got a four on one. We’ve just got to give it to the guy next to us but we knew that going in.

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“We’re happy to win, we will be better for that game. And they’re a good side, Every time we gave them a bit of a sniff they hurt us.”

Their current winning streak includes two wins over both South Africa and Argentina, and could potentially extend into the European leg of their Spring Tour, when they face Scotland, England and Wales next month.

Let alone the improvement from year to year from the Wallabies, but the growth in their game throughout this year has been recognisable.

After a tense 2-1 series win over France to kick-off their international season, the Wallabies lost three matches in a row to the All Blacks. But the injection of Quade Cooper in particular, as well as Samu Kerevi who wasn’t available to face Japan, has this team headed in the right direction.

It’s a reflection of a Dave Rennie led side who have come so far, but yet, have so much improvement still left in them.

“It’s just reinforcing the type of play that we want to encourage on the field and the type of team we want to become,” Captain Michael Hooper said after the match.

“There’s still a lot to go and a lot to grow for us for sure, but having the ability to change plays in and out, and guys still putting in really sold performances, is certainly an aspect of the team that’s really pleasing.

“Being able to interchange and Dave being able to pick different varying teams and still get a result is great. We’re about to enter a place and play away from home, far away from home which we haven’t done in a long time which I think, you know, we’re right in the perfect time as a group to take on that challenge.

“Today was really nice to get that result and you know, I guess show a couple of areas that we can improve, but also still tick over a win there and take that up north and take on some of these European teams.”

The Wallabies are set to face Scotland in their next Test match, which will take place in two weeks’ time. It’ll be another great challenge for the Wallabies considering the last time they faced the Scots, which was at Murrayfield as well, ended in a 53-24 defeat in 2017.

They’ll then face England the week after at Twickenham, before their final Test of the year against Wales in Cardiff.

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What Rennie thought was 'disappointing' about the win over Japan

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