Wallabies closer to desired style - Ewen McKenzie
October 6, 2013
Michael Hooper displayed great energy for the Wallabies in Rosario © Getty Images
Ewen McKenzie has described the Wallabies' performance against Argentina in The Rugby Championship-concluding Test in Rosario as closer to the style of play he wants to see from his team, but he lamented "we still missed opportunities and made errors".
"You saw a lot of the spirit of how we'd like to play, there was some adventure there, we mixed the game up and we showed toughness … In terms of pattern of play we're only just scratching around the edges yet. There's a bunch of things we haven't got to yet because we're still trying to bed a few things down. I felt it was a better effort. In the end you've got to be able run, got to be able to bend the line, break tackles, and we started do all that.''
Wallabies captain James Horwill described the victory as a "confidence booster" that had the potential to develop self-belief among the squad. McKenzie said he could feel tension in the dressing room before the game, saying "it's pleasing that they expressed themselves in the face of a fair bit of pressure rather than shrink and say it's all too hard".
Horwill was pleased, in particular, with the efforts of the forwards to stand firm in the scrum early, when they packed down seven times in a row and didn't concede points. "We need to [carry that performance forward]. We're coming up against some world-class scrums. The All Blacks are an excellent scrum and we've got them in two weeks. A big thing for us is not going back from here, it's moving forward. You can't just rest on your laurels and have it be a one-off performance; it needs to be a stepping stone onto bigger and better things."
Folau, meanwhile, said the Wallabies had to show the passion displayed at Estadio Gigante de Arroyito when they play New Zealand in the Dunedin Bledisloe Cup Test on October 19.
"That one in Dunedin is obviously going to be a pretty tough challenge," Folau said. "But we can regroup and turn up and have the same passion, like we did against the Pumas going in against the ABs."
After mixed success pursuing a kicking game through the tournament, the Wallabies looked comfortable playing ball in hand, with Quade Cooper spiralling long and accurate passes. "It's definitely a blueprint," Folau said of what McKenzie had described as a "pared back" game plan. "It's good to get the win but we want to get two in a row," Folau said. "That's going to be our next challenge."
The Wallabies head home from Buenos Aires on Monday, and they will have a one-week break before starting preparations for the third Bledisloe Cup Test.
The Wallabies produced their best form of the year in Rosario
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd with AAP
Despite having lost all four of their 2014 Six Nations games, the future of Italian rugby is bright with the team showing a new youthful core, argues Enrico Borra
"The loudest cheer at a rugby game, away from social media gimmicks, pumping music and pyrotechnics will always be for a try." Tom Hamilton on the Twickenham atmosphere
"The only thing that will stop this England team from becoming a great team is themselves. They need to ask themselves 'what can we be?'" The Phil Vickery column
The latest Monday Maul looks at the hectic final weekend, the Lions hangover, the superb Mike Brown and the 'selfie'