Head down despite win streak: Rennie
WALLABIES coach David Rennie refused to crack a smile in the post-match dissection of his team’s performance despite the Australians picking up their third-straight victory in the Rugby Championship.
The 27-8 win over an emotion-charged Argentina in Townsville was the first time the Wallabies have won three-straight games under Rennie’s tenure with the national side.
But still the coach found a way to bring out his ‘Mr Grumpy’ alter ego after the clash, and was adamant his side still needed to be better in their final game of the Rugby
Championship this weekend. Rennie believed the Wallabies wasted opportunities to the put the Pumas to bed in the second half after several clean breaks went without a five-pointer on the end of them.
It was typified late in the first half when halfback Nic White failed to score after a Samu Kerevi break, instead putting the ball on the base of the upright padding.
“We are obviously happy to win and we worked really hard in the first half to put ourselves in a strong position,” Rennie said.
“(But there is) a bit of frustration that we had a lot of opportunities late to put them out of the game but we didn’t
do the obvious. We have just got to throw one more pass.
“I felt a number of line breaks late in the game where we need to give it to the guy next to us and we score. In the tight games you have to be clinical and it is something we will look at.
“We’re always looking for perfection. Last week we were really clinical but not as clinical tonight. We have to be better there.”
It was a frank appraisal that will help the Wallabies continue their growth through the championship, which has included back-toback wins over the world champion South African side.
The belief has grown in the squad and it is built off a foun
dation of experience with Rennie opting for Wallabies veterans Samu Kerevi and Quade Cooper in the starting side for the tournament.
Wallabies skipper Michael Hooper said he felt the side was building to something big but there was still a host of improvements they could make.
“We are sticking to the script mostly, we are on board and creating some belief around how we want to play and what Wallabies rugby looks like,” Hooper said.
“We could have put them to the sword there a few times but we let that slip.”
James O’connor also made his long-awaited return to the Test arena, coming on
late in a double change alongside Queensland Reds teammate Tate Mcdermott.
The pair replaced starting halves Cooper and Nic White, and immediately gave the Wallabies an added spark with O’connor setting up a try for winger Andrew Kellaway, which proved the final nail in the Pumas coffin.
“It is great for (O’connor) to be out there and be back in the Test arena, he hasn’t played in a Test all year,” Rennie said.
“He will take confidence out of that. His combination with Tate at the Reds is the reason we put them both on together.
“I know he is just excited to be back in the fold.”