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Rugby Union: Reaction to Australia defeat against South Africa

Australia once again failed to string back-to-back wins together as they suffered a disappointing 24-8 defeat against South Africa in Sydney on Saturday.

The Wallabies defeated the Springboks 25-17 last weekend and in the lead-up to the re-match spoke of how important it was to find some consistency and start stringing wins together.

However despite their good intentions they failed to get the job done on the pitch, much to the frustration of everyone connected to the Wallabies.

The Springboks had not won a game down under for nine years but managed to end that drought in a fiery encounter at the Allianz Stadium.

South Africa completely outplayed Australia, who had to wait until the 79th minute before scoring their only try of the game.

The visitors took the lead after just 11 minutes and there was no way back from there for the Wallabies, who once again struggled with their discipline.

Next up for Australia is back-to-back games against New Zealand and they will need to respond again in what is now becoming a familiar pattern of win one, lose one.

But before we look ahead let’s look back and see what we learnt from Saturday’s defeat.

Ill-discipline costs the Wallabies once again

Ill-discipline has been an issue for the Wallabies in recent games and it reared it’s ugly head once again in Saturday’s defeat.

Australia lost Matt Philip to the sin bin early on in the game following too many indiscretions in the build-up to South Africa’s opening try. His absence cost the Wallabies badly.

Not only that they conceded way too many penalties early on in the game. It evened up later in the game but the damage had already been done and the Springboks were out of sight by then.

Coach Dave Rennie admits that the lack of discipline is a big concern and needs fixing if the Wallabies are to make progress.

"Even from our structure, beyond that, we lost Matt Phillip early so you're one short at the clean-out," Rennie said after the game. "They did a really good job early on stealing pills. We've got to be better. We gave away penalties early and it hurt us.

"The penalty count evened up in the end, but even that last stanza – 15 on 13 – we had a five on one and we shelved it. Probably summed up our day. We allowed them to get all the momentum and play all the footy down our end.”

The competition is fierce

The Rugby Championship remains wide open as all four teams have won two and lost two.

Argentina have recorded impressive wins over both Australia and New Zealand which shows just how strong the competition is.

The All Blacks bounced back and thrashed the Pumas 53-3 on Saturday, but still Argentina showed the week before they can beat anyone on their day.

"It just highlights how tough international footy is at the moment," Rennie added. "The teams are so even. You're five per cent off, you get hurt – we saw with Argentina and the All Blacks as well.

"Our job is to make sure we can get that sort of stuff going against the All Blacks in a couple of weeks."

Important that the Wallabies respond

The Wallabies have suffered setbacks already in 2022 and have responded well. They lost to England and bounced back to beat Argentina and they beat South Africa after the Pumas gained revenge with a record-breaking defeat.

It is important they do the same when they face New Zealand in the next two games.

They face the All Blacks at Marvel Stadium on Thursday 15th September before crossing the Tasman for the re-match at Eden Park on Saturday 24th September.

Captain James Slipper says it is crucial the Wallabies use the pain of the defeat against South Africa in a positive way and come out with all guns blazing.

“I just wanted the boys to realise how much it hurts and hold on to that and let that drive you into the future,” Slipper said. “We can be disappointed for a day or two but at the end of the day, we’ve got the All Blacks coming up in two weeks.

“If you’re still kicking cans around at that time, then that’s not going to help anyone. I want it to hurt but at the same time I want it to be better. We got to be better. I just put a challenge to the group essentially.”

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