The 1984 Grand Slam winning Wallaby skipper Andy Slack best summed up the men-in-gold’s 31-8 shellacking by the Boks last night at Loftus.
“It smells like amateur hour”.
Indeed it did, completing a wretched week for coach Robbie Deans that’s been lowlighted by two massive public serves from the injured Quade Cooper, and an horrendous addition to the injury toll.
Last night Berrick Barnes, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Radike Samo, Tatafu Polota-Nau, and Digby Ioane joined three captains James Horwill, David Pocock, and Will Genia, along with James O’Connor, Stephen Moore, Wycliff Palu, Sitaleki Tomani, Drew Mitchell, Quade Cooper, Rob Horne, and Scott Higginbotham – an entire Test team in numbers plus one.
As if the five tries to one walloping wasn’t enough, the Wallabies played the final eight minutes with 14 men because they had used all seven replacements and tried to use an eighth. In all the rugby I’ve seen that has never happened – an unwanted first.
Taking nothing away from the Boks who were superb right across the park with champion winger Bryan Habana back to his elite best with a hat-trick of tries, the Wallabies didn’t lack commitment, but lacked plenty of cohesion, communication, and confidence.
It was a nightmare from the kick-off when fullback Barnes made three terrible kicks in succession, and from that moment on it was one-way Springbok traffic.
If it hadn’t been for three disallowed tries, four missed penalties, and two missed conversions, the Boks would have won by a cricket score.
The only Wallabies who played their part were fly-half Kurtley Beale who tried everything in his bag of tricks, eventually setting up replacement Mike Harris’ first Test try.
Pat McCabe went hard in attack and defence, Michael Hooper was his usual busy self, as was Liam Gill when he came on in the second half.
But the rest were a disjointed rabble.
The big question is what will Deans do for Rosario against the Pumas next weekend? His cupboard is bare.
As for the Boks, they are on the rise with six players under 22 last night, their depth is strong and they ran the ball from everywhere, and kept backing up in support.
It was one-way traffic, but there was no excuse for the Wallabies to give away senseless penalties, no way should they wander offside or get in front of support, and no excuse for passing behind supports, jarring any positive rugby.
The basics are missing, and they won’t win anything playing under 8′s rugby.
And that’s being unkind to seven-year-olds.