Elsom admits there is work to do
June 26, 2010
Wallabies fly-half Quade Cooper is congratulated on his try © Getty Images
Wallabies captain Rocky Elsom is all too aware that his side will have to raise their game if they are to challenge for this year's Tri-Nations crown.
The flanker admitted his side had plenty of work to do in the wake of their unconvincing 22-15 victory over Ireland at the Suncorp Stadium that ensured a return to winning ways following their defeat to England in Sydney a week ago.
''We've got a lot of work to do,'' Elsom told Fox Sports. ''The Tri-Nations is the most difficult tournament in world rugby so we have a lot of work to do. 'We just weren't sharp enough and not on the same page. I think when we played Ireland last year we played a hell of a lot better and came away with a draw.''
Coach Robbie Deans wad delighted to see his side close a big game out having failed to do so in the past - most recently against England in Sydney. "That's something we're trying to master, and didn't last week, so the boys worked their way through an awkward contest," he said."We played a lot of rugby and deserved to win, clearly we're frustrated we couldn't produce a little bit more."
The most pleasing aspect for Deans was the performance of his inexperienced front row who more than held their own to silence their critics. "It was a dominant scrum," said Deans. "Obviously it was an improvement and these blokes (rookie front-rowers) continue to grow."
Ireland coach Declan Kidney admitted that the better side had won the game and that his side only had themselves to blame after an error-laden performance. "We made too many errors, especially when we were attacking, and that was frustrating," said Kidney. "We defended stoutly but that left us short of energy at the end when we were trying to claw something back - in the end the result probably flattered us. There is now more competition for places and whoever plays well next season will get to wear the shirt.
"A lot of the possession they enjoyed was under our control as we gave them back the ball and, as a result, we were on the defensive a lot of the time," added Kidney.
Skipper Brian O'Driscoll also accepted the tour - that also included defeats to the All Blacks and the New Zealand Maori - had been a steep learning curve for some of the squad. "We had a number of players earning their first caps and it was all good experience - they will take a lot out of it.
"We haven't managed any victories on this tour and of course that is what you are judged on. We wanted to put a bit of pride back into our defensive game as we let ourselves down against New Zealand. Although we had a couple of lapses against Australia, we were fairly solid.
"The lads will now enjoy four or five weeks of holidays and try to freshen up for next year," he added.
More to follow.
Tom Hamilton talks to World Cup-winning captain John Smit about life after rugby, his fears over the South African exodus and the World Cup
The reopening of the openside debate, a dominant wolf-pack and a sublime performance in defeat - Monday Maul looks at the weekend's talking points
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the Rugby Championship alongside the best photographs from around the domestic game
Amy Perrett, the Australian referee who whistled the Women's Rugby World Cup final after handling only six Tests, talks to Jamie Lyall