A five-game European tour has left the Wallabies’ weaknesses exposed and question mark over their likelihood to be a World Cup contender.
The Wallabies first tour with coach Michael Cheika ended with a 26-17 loss to England, seeing the team walk away with just one Test win under Cheika’s lead.
It was the power of the English pack and the downplayed significance of their set-piece that had the Wallabies at a disadvantage.
The loss at Twickenham Stadium has raised serious concerns ahead of the sides meeting in the group stage at next year’s World Cup.
While clearly disappointed, coach Michael Cheika said he still believes he has a winning team in the making.
“The team probably just doesn’t believe in itself enough. I definitely believe in the way it’s headed. There’s not going to be any panic at our end,” Cheika said.
“Of course there’s been a lot of mental and physical stress, you have to be naive or dreaming not to have picked that.
Well, they certainly showed they’re willing to fight in every contest. Coming back from 10 points down in the second half to have a chance of beating England, Bernard Foley scored a try under the posts after a beautiful play with Rob Horne.
But it wasn’t enough.
The game started with a touching tribute to Phillip Hughes, who died on Thursday after being hit in the head by a bouncer.
Cricket bats were placed at the entry to the tunnel on to the field, joining in the #putoutyourbats phenomenon, and fans clapped together at the 63rd minute as a sign of respect to Hughes’ last score, 63 not out.
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