The Wallabies put in another valiant display against England but ultimately came up short as the old enemy fought back to win the Test series 2-1 but there were plenty of positives for Dave Rennie to take away from the three games.
It was all set up for the decider at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Saturday but Eddie Jones once again came out on top as England prevailed 21-17.
Following the first Test win in Perth, it was not the outcome that the Wallabies were hoping for, but is of course a big improvement on the 3-0 defeat they suffered the last time England visited back in 2016.
Rennie’s men also lost the spring tour to the UK 3-0 at the back end of 2021 so even though there will be disappointment in the Wallabies camp, there have been signs of progress in the last few weeks.
They have also had to cope with a squad that has been decimated by injury, but still managed to run England close.
So let’s take a look at the positives and negatives from the defeat in Sydney.
Strong team spirit
This is not just a highlight from the third Test in Sydney, but the series as a whole. The Wallabies have been under the pump from the get-go but have shown great team-spirit and character to take England all the way.
Quade Cooper picked up a calf injury in the warm-up in Perth and has not been seen since. Not only that Rennie has had selection headaches elsewhere.
Tom Banks, Andrew Kellaway and Jordan Petaia all suffered injuries. Second-row duo Darcy Swain (suspension) and Cadeyrn Neville (MCL) also missed out but the Wallabies battled on regardless.
Rennie’s men certainly went down fighting at the SCG. If they are to kick on from here and build towards success at the World Cup, more of the same will be needed.
The Wallabies are priced at 12/1 to win the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.
Wallabies pay the price for missed chances
England came out on top in Sydney but it could have been a different story had the Wallabies taken their chances throughout the game.
England looked set to cruise to victory as they led 21-10 but the Wallabies got themselves back into it when Folau Fainga’a scored a try and Noah Lolesio added the conversion.
They missed a number of opportunities to add to the try tally and ultimately poor skills and execution let them down when it really mattered. Something that was recognised by Wallabies skipper Michael Hooper.
“No excuses, we gave ourselves a chance to win it tonight,” Hooper told Stan Sport after the game. “I don’t think we were clinical. We created good opportunities but just weren’t good enough to finish them. There were some errors that hurt us in big moments.”
Wingers shine in defeat
Despite the loss some Wallabies players stood out at the SCG. None more so than wingers Tom Wright and Marika Koroibete.
Wright was a revelation in the defeat in Brisbane last week and stepped up to the plate once again here. The winger scored a great try in the first-half as the Wallabies edged into a 7-3 lead.
Not only that, Wright was also great in defence. He denied England counterpart Tommy Freeman an almost certain try just before half-time when keeping holding just metres away from the line.
Wright has been a huge positive for the Wallabies this series.
Koroibete was also outstanding when playing a crucial part in Wright’s first-half try. Again he also demonstrated great defence, the highlight being a try-saving tackle to deny Freeman in the 22nd minute.
Losing streak continues
Depsite signs of improvement there is still plenty for Rennie and the Wallabies to work on as they now face a big couple of games against Argentina.
The Wallabies have lost five of the last six games and need to get into a winning habit over the remainder of 2022.
They have a short time to regroup before facing the Pumas on 7th and 14th August. Then there are Tests against South Africa and New Zealand to come.
Rennie accepts his side need to be better but he is taking the positives and is looking forward to what is to come.
“We have to be better. We’ve got a lot of footy (left), we’re three weeks into a season so we have a few things we need to tidy up heading into Argentina,” he told reporters after the game.