Ewen McKenzie has no answers
September 29, 2013
Nic White, in particular, struggled in Cape Town © Getty Images
Ewen McKenzie conceded his team was "way off the mark" after the Wallabies proved little more than a speed-hump for South Africa as the Springboks eased to a Rugby Championship-deciding Test against New Zealand at Ellis Park in Johannesburg, the hosts having victory at Newlands in Cape Town in the bag after only 19 minutes.
South Africa by that stage led 20-3.
Australia steadied in the second half, after Will Genia replaced Nic White at scrum-half, but they failed to score a try until the 78th minute through debutant Chris Feauai-Sautia. Australia now have won only one win in the tournament - a one-point victory over Argentina in Perth - and they have now lost five of their past six games. The battered Wallabies now play Argentina in Rosario, and the sight of the Pumas scrum pushing New Zealand around the park in La Plate will be the stuff of nightmares for the struggling Wallabies.
McKenzie lamented poor decision making as his team failed to adapt to the rampant Springboks and referee Frenchman Jerome Garces, who handed out two yellow cards to each team. "We didn't do well enough early in the game and they got away," McKenzie said. "We were a bit more competitive in the second half and showed a bit more character, but it was very hard chasing the scoreboard as we had to do."
The Wallabies missed 31 tackles, conceded 26 turnovers made 10 handling errors, statistics that made it near impossible to build any pressure on their opponents. McKenzie, who took over as head coach from Robbie Deans in July, didn't have an answer for those telling statistics.
"We missed opportunities to put pressure on," he said. "We're letting ourselves down. We missed them through poor execution so it's a combination of things that are letting us down consistently. It's very frustrating at the moment but all we can do is keep plugging away and the wheel will turn."
James Horwill implored fans to stick with the side through the tough times, Australia's skipper saying: "We expect to win every time we pull on that gold jersey and we understand that the public expect that of us as well. We urge them to stick with us because we will keep working and doing everything in our power."
South Africa were far too good for Australia (video available only in Australia)
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
As Ray McLoughlin prepares to celebrate his 75th birthday, Huw Richards pays tribute to the man and the selectors who had the wisdom to bring him into the Ireland fold
John Taylor argues the world's best XVs players must be given a chance to play in the Olympics to increase the appeal of the game
The All Blacks' form is not a peaking issue, but Hansen must threaten to wield his axe, to demand improvement, Craig Dowd writes
"It has been the World Cup that smashed down the gender barriers of the sport." Tom Hamilton looks back at a remarkable tournament