Wobblies go back to the drawing board...
August 25, 2013, 03:17:35
The boks may be facing a different team that took on the Mighty All Blacks.
Finally Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie has come to his senses perhaps and is looking closely at making changes to his team, and their tactics, after a second straight disappointment against the All Blacks.
The Bledisloe Cup was lost for an 11th straight season in Wellington on Saturday night when New Zealand weathered an early Australian storm before dominating the last 50 minutes for a 27-16 victory.
McKenzie had stuck by all his fit troops after the 47-29 defeat in Sydney last week but he couldn't promise he'd keep the faith for a second time.
"We'll go back to the drawing board and have a look," he said post-match.
"Different game, different opposition next time, we'll have a look and maybe play the game a bit differently."
The Wallabies face South Africa on Saturday week at their happy Brisbane hunting ground at Suncorp Stadium, where they have consistently run the big Springbok pack off its feet.
After being punished for running too much, and passing too laterally in Bledisloe I, they kicked far more at the Cake Tin with varying results.
McKenzie was happy with the run-kick balance in the first half as well as the blend of width and penetration in attack, creating a host of try-scoring opportunities which they frustratingly failed to finish.
But there was too much aimless kicking in the second half while the scrum was dismantled and the lineout fell apart.
"I think we advanced in the balance of the game but the error-rate - in different areas and different people (to the first Test) - made it hard to sustain pressure," McKenzie said.
"We didn't make any progress there but we did make progress in the flow of the game."
Fullback Jesse Mogg and tighthead prop Ben Alexander appear to be under most pressure to keep their places while five-eighth Matt Toomua, who played solidly, is under pressure from Quade Cooper.
Cooper has previously played some of his best rugby against South Africa but does not appear to be the attacking threat he was before his knee reconstruction in late 2011.
The mercurial playmaker played the last 23 minutes off the bench but rarely took the ball to the line and challenge the defence, preferring to kick and pass.
McKenzie denied Cooper was mentally burdened by a lack of confidence in his knee.
"He's fine," the coach said. "I think he's trying to fit into (a game plan).
"It depends what part of the field we're at. We have some specific ideas and he's trying to fit into that space."
The Springboks were pushed all the way almost suffering a shock loss to Argentina but surviving thanks to the boot of their hero Morne Steyn in a 22-17 nailbiter in Mendoza on Sunday morning (AEST).