SAINT-ETIENNE: The inconvenient truth for the Wallabies is there is no one silver bullet when it comes to rescuing their Rugby World Cup campaign.
Stan Sport’s Sean Maloney, Morgan Turinui and Andrew Mehrtens worked through an extensive to-do list on Between Two Posts from Lyon, where Australia will meet Wales in a high stakes clash on Monday (AEST).
Australia’s lineout was perhaps the only area to avoid scrutiny in the wake of the historic 22-15 loss to Fiji in Saint-Etienne, leaving the Wallabies with a 1-1 record in a Pool C topped by Wales (2-0).
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Disaster for the Wallabies
Former Wallaby Turinui said continued maul issues were emblematic of a new look squad and coaching staff that was yet to find its feet at international level.
“This is exactly what happens to a team with these teething problems – a team that’s new and thrown together,” Turinui said.
“The issue is that we’re not two years away from a World Cup. We’re in the middle of a World Cup.”
Highlighting the unsettled nature of the Wallabies is their extraordinary use of six captains in just seven Tests this season.
Hooker Dave Porecki is the latest to have a go after Michael Hooper, James Slipper, Allan Alaalatoa, Tate McDermott and Will Skelton.
“Like, that’s hard to fathom for a Wallaby fan in a World Cup year. That’s just where we’re at,” Turinui said.
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“New coach, new staff, new players all thrown together. Unfortunately, in the middle of a World Cup, when you’re trying to have a more flexible attack as well, any time there’s changes and mix ups and it’s not perfect, what happens at the breakdown?
“Levani Botia absolutely dominates the Wallabies.”
Turinui added that Australia was guilty of not adapting to referee Andrew Brace’s handling of the breakdown at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard.
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“They should have made the breakdown an absolute war zone with players on their feet going for the ball.”
All Blacks great Mehrtens was most alarmed by Australia’s inability to problem solve on the fly.
“They’re running into brick walls, literally – aggressive, moving brick walls – and they failed to find ways to get around that or find other opportunities,” Mehrtens said.
While not absolving Carter Gordon of blame, Mehrtens had some sympathy for the young playmaker who struggled to assert any control in a team going backwards.
“It was a tough night, he wasn’t getting a lot of traction, Carter Gordon, with anything he was trying to do,” Mehrtens said.
“Everything seemed a little bit futile… they got a bit narrow on attack.
“The important thing for Carter Gordon will be if he’s still got the confidence of the coach. Everyone can acknowledge you have bad moments and sometimes you’ve just got to take it on the chin.”