Alexander still reeling after semi-final loss
October 18, 2011
Prop Ben Alexander is hoping the Wallabies can learn from their Rugby World Cup heartbreak © Getty Images
Australia's Ben Alexander has confessed that he is struggling to come to terms with the disappointment of having missed out on the opportunity to play in a Rugby World Cup final.
The Wallabies were comprehensively beaten 20-6 by bitter rivals New Zealand in their semi-final showdown at Eden Park on Sunday and the 26-year-old prop freely admits that he has been left devastated by the defeat.
"You just feel like you've let everyone down. We're representing our country, representing our friends and family, all our supporters, and we wanted to do it for them. [So] You can't describe it. It's just gut-wrenching," he said.
"As a young group, some blokes were there in 2007, but there's a vast majority of us that haven't had this pain before. [But] We'll harness that and use it to spur us on in the future."
Alexander also believes that the Wallabies will learn from the way in which they failed to cope with the pressure at key points during their loss to the All Blacks.
"We did pretty well trying to stay calm, but in the heat of the battle we lost our composure a little bit," he said.
"We kept trying, there was nothing wrong with the effort, blokes were giving it everything. But against a side that good you can't lose track at all."
Indeed, Alexander admitted that the Wallabies' failings had been brutally exposed by their rivals, particularly in the set-piece.
"They have the best attacking scrum and they've touched up everyone else they've been up against. We're in a busy line. They've left a lot of sides in their path," he said.
"We're still a long way off. It comes down to consistency and that comes down to mentality. We've still got a lot of technical work, but we're pretty young in front-row terms."
Alexander is now hoping that the Wallaby front-row, and indeed the team as a whole, can finish on a high in Friday's third-place play-off against Wales.
"We want to come away with something to show from this tournament and a bronze medal would be great. Obviously we'd like to be in the final, but to finish on a positive would be awesome," he said.
"To walk away with nothing would just compound the pain that we're already feeling now. We're going to get up and we're going to be ready to put on a good show. Hopefully we're going to be able to walk away with a bronze medal and say, 'Look, guys, we were beaten by the best, we can handle that, but we still put in.'
"Hopefully you'll see two very good attacking sides that will try to put on a good show, have a great game of rugby and just enjoy what rugby is about."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The tone was set early on in Dublin as a more clinical Ireland made England pay. All is not lost, however, argues Phil Vickery
Monday Maul takes in retirement talk, England reshuffles, France's unfair advantage and Scotland's communication breakdown
John Griffiths takes an analytical look at Week 3 of ESPN Scrum's Fantasy Rugby game - who should you have picked?
Ireland coach Joe Schmidt won the tactical battle and set his team on course for a shot at the Grand Slam. Tom Hamilton reports from Dublin