All Blacks still the measure for Wallabies

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Australian writer Bret Harris said in The Guardian, their next Test, at Eden Park on August 7, would reveal if the side was on the up.


"Even given their reduced error rate against France, they still made the kind of basic mistakes on which the All Blacks would feast," he said.


"For all the changes [coach Dave] Rennie made for the third French Test, there still appears to be a few Wallabies who are not quite up to Test standard.


"Does Rennie remain faithful to the players who won the deciding Test against France or continue to search for the Wallabies' best combination? A little bit of tinkering, maybe? Whether the Wallabies are good enough to upset the All Blacks remains to be seen. But one thing is now certain: they will not lack heart," he said.


Former Wallabies legend David Campese said for the side to be successful, winning needed to become part of their DNA, Harris said.


The only way that could happen was to keep winning. That wouldn't be easy when remembering they haven't won at Eden Park since 1986.


Harris said the 33-30 win over France to claim the series was not convincing, although full of character. That character was reflected in winning when playing with 14 men for 75 minutes.


But at the same time, it had been against a second-string France team, he said.



Points of improvement for the Australians included: lock Darcy Swait, flanker Lachie Swinton and No8 Isi Naisarani providing a physical presence upfront, using tighthead prop Taniela Tupou as a substitute provided impact at key times in the first and third Tests and halfback Tate McDermott giving the side speed and energy and forming an effective combination with flanker, and captain, Michael Hooper.


In the third Test, the Australians simplified their plan and reduced the handling errors that had been costly in the second Test.


"It certainly was not champagne rugby, but it worked by reducing costly turnovers.


"The fact the French did not send their best team to Australia, coupled with the distorting effect of the red card [in the third Test], means the series was inconclusive in many ways, but the Wallabies will much confidence.


"Since winning the Rugby Championship in 2015 and reaching the final of the World Cup that same year, winning has not been something the Wallabies have often managed. In the past five years, Australia had not beaten a European power on home soil, losing to England, Scotland and Ireland.


"Now they know what it feels like to hold a big trophy again," Harris said.



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