Wallabies team is officially the worst in a decade

A dejected Wallabies side has now been labelled the worst in a decade following their loss to the All Blacks on the weekend. Photo / Photosport
A dejected Wallabies side has now been labelled the worst in a decade following their loss to the All Blacks on the weekend. Photo / Photosport

They are officially the worst Wallabies team in a decade, having lost five successive Tests, suffered the biggest home defeat in history, and conceded more than 40 points in successive Tests for just the second time.

After last Saturday's 42-8 thumping by the All Blacks, Michael Cheika's side faces the stark prospect of becoming only the second Australian team in the professional era to lose seven games in a row.

They've lost five on the trot since the World Cup final last October, including the historic 3-0 whitewash by England in June, and now head to Wellington for the daunting task of having to win in New Zealand for the first time since 2001 before hosting South Africa.

Only Eddie Jones' 2005 team has had a worse losing streak since the game turned professional in 1996, and shortly after that side's seven successive defeats Jones was sacked as Wallabies coach.

Cheika is contracted until the end of the 2019 World Cup campaign and is not in danger, but his team must somehow overturn their horrid form as fans turn on the team.

Social media and chat forums filled up with furious reaction after last Saturday's meek performance. The Telegraph was inundated by angry reaction, including this from the mother of a player who was in the last Bledisloe-winning Australian team of 2002: "Never thought I'd say I'm not proud to be [an] ex-Wallaby mum, but I am today".

Cheika is the first Wallabies coach to have had a side concede more than 40 points in successive Test defeats.

The only other time it has happened was in 2013 when Robbie Deans' side lost 41-16 to the British & Irish Lions, after which he was sacked and replaced by Ewen McKenzie, whose first Test in charge was won 47-29 by the All Blacks.

Key areas of Australia's game are in a state of flux.

The telling line from Cheika's press conference on Sunday morning, however, was his final one.

"I'll have a look at the whole team, once we have a good review of the match, and give the opportunities to the players who want to stand up and put themselves on the line for Australia next week in Wellington, because that's what it's going to take," Cheika said.

Defence

After missing 31 tackles, which allowed the All Blacks to score six tries and constantly put them under pressure, the Wallabies' attitude has been called into question.
Simple one-on-one misses characterised the poor effort.

Cheika said: "Our defence has been poor, in the England series too we let in a few too many tries as well.

"It's not like we don't know how to tackle, we know how to tackle, we've just got to make sure we do it right in the games."

Lineouts

Yet again, Australia's lineout was a weakness, with the All Blacks stealing Stephen Moore's throws or jumpers spilling the ball.

England and New Zealand have successfully targeted this set-piece and pressure is mounting on Moore and chief lineout caller Rob Simmons.

Cheika said: "The first couple we lost there and it put us on the back foot.

"That was in that middle period in the first half where we lost our composure, we need to stay a bit calmer.

"We need to back what we've practised. At the end of the day that decides if we're the right quality or not - what we do on game day."

Kicking and mental preparation

The Wallabies trained for a month together before the match, but on game-day played as though they were uncertain and flustered.

Mixed messages last week about the approach to their kicking translated on the field, with five-eighth Bernard Foley having a kick charged down for a try while failing to put the All Blacks under pressure with the boot.

Cheika said: "It will probably be a more difficult situation this week going to Wellington, but I have a plan in my head and we'll get about trying to get the team in a better headspace.

"We'll have a week where there's going to be a lot of negativity around us, and it's going to be a chance to stick together as much as possible and build something out of adversity."

- news.com.au

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW
Stats provided by

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf04 at 10 Dec 2016 15:26:12 Processing Time: 739ms