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‘A bit of a process’: Why Eddie Jones believes the Wallabies will ‘get it right’

By Finn Morton
Tom Wright of the Wallabies (C) looks on following The Rugby Championship match between the Australia Wallabies and Argentina at CommBank Stadium on July 15, 2023 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Scott Gardiner/Getty Images)

Coach Eddie Jones is confident that the Wallabies will “get it right” after showing plenty of fight and character during their thrilling 31-34 loss to Los Pumas in Sydney.

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Unfortunately for the Wallabies and their fans, the history books will show that the men in gold started their new era under coach Jones with back-to-back defeats.

After losing to the world champion Springboks in Pretoria last weekend, the Wallabies returned home to Australia for their first Test of the year on home soil.

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For the second week in a row, the Wallabies started quite well. Centre Len Ikitau scored the opening try inside the opening 10 minutes, but left the field shortly after with an injury.

This was the first of two major turning points.

Towering lock Richie Arnold was yellow-carded later in the half. Los Pumas had already scored 10 unanswered points by that stage, and they didn’t look like slowing down.

Captain Julian Montoya scored just after the break to put the visitors ahead for the first time, and they remained in a fight for the rest of the contest.

But against the run of play, Australian winger Mark Nawaqanitawase went coast-to-coast to give the hosts the lead with less than five minutes to play. In the NFL they’d call that a ‘pick six.’

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The thrilling Test was ultimately decided by a 79th-minute try to Los Pumas backrower Juan Martin Gonzalez. The Argentine fans in attendance went berserk.

The Australians were stunned, but as Jones said post-game, it’s not all “doom and gloom.” Reflecting on the match, the legendary coach was visibly proud of the Wallabies’ effort.

“We kept fighting mate, we kept fighting. It was one of those games where it’s sitting on the table and one team’s going to grab it,” Jones told reporters after the match,” he added.

“We thought we grabbed it and they grabbed it back, and we got beaten at the end.

“Our set-piece was good, last week our set-piece wasn’t good. We’re a bit like a broken car… last week our set piece wasn’t good, this week our set piece was good. Last week we didn’t attack, this week we did.

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“This is a bit of a process that we’ve got to go through, as painful as it is and as hard as it is. It seems like where we want to be, the team we are today is a long way away from the team we want to be tomorrow.

“We’ll keep working on it and we’ll get it right.”

With upcoming Tests against the All Blacks and France before the start of this year’s Rugby World Cup, there’s a real possibility that the men gold could go 0-5 before the sport’s biggest event.

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On the flip side of that very same coin though, the Wallabies could make a statement in those three Test matches – which includes a home and away fixture against the red-hot All Blacks.

But Jones isn’t panicking.

“100 per cent confident mate. At the moment it seems like we’re miles away from where we need to be but all of this is going to make us harder and more hungry to get it right.

“We’re a team that needs to change, we know that, and that’s the reason I’m here in the job.

“We’re not seeing the change in terms of results at the moment but we’ll see that.”

The Wallabies host fierce rivals New Zealand in a highly anticipated Bledisloe Cup clash at the Melbourne Cricket Ground later this month.

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William 1 hours ago
All Blacks vs England takeaways: Richie Who? Time for Cortez

Correct analysis of Perofeta’s bungling of the try opportunity Ben. Never ‘fixed’ Steward as he came across in defence and passed too early. Steward didn’t have to break his stride and simply moved on to pressure Telea. Never scanned the easier option of passing to the two supporting players on the inside. Beauden Barrett showed how it is done when he put Telea in for his try. Another point from the game is that the rush defence is hard to maintain as the number of phases increases. From scrums the defensive line only contains backs who all have roughly the same pace. Once forwards are involved, the defence has players with variable speeds often leading to a jagged line. It also tends to lose pace overall giving the attack more time and space. Beauden Barrett’s break to set up Telea’s try came because Baxter went in to tackle McKenzie and Steward went out to cover Telea. Barrett has a massive hole to run through, then commits Steward by passing as late as possible and Telea scores untouched. Another comment I would make is that Ben Earl is a good player and generally an excellent defender but he made three significant misses in the series, two of which led to All Black tries. Got stepped by Perofeta in Dunedin for Savea’s try, missed McKenzie in Auckland leading to what should have been a certain try being set up by Perofeta and was one of the tacklers who couldn’t stop Savea in the leadup to Telea’s first try. Perhaps he should contact Owen Farrell to pick up a few tips from ‘tackle school’.

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