AAP

If any miracles were expected of Ewen McKenzie, Wallabies supporters have surely lowered those sights to settle for continued improvement.

After the toughest possible start to a coaching tenure - back-to-back Tests against the All Blacks - the Wallabies sadly remain off the world champions' pace, as they were under Robbie Deans.

McKenzie has introduced different players, different plans and a bold new approach but the results have been the same as Australia's Bledisloe Cup drought continues into a 12th consecutive year.

Consecutive 18-point and 11-point losses in Sydney and Wellington will have the Wallabies under increasing pressure to regain faith and respect when they next line-up against South Africa.

McKenzie, who had openly talked up the great opportunity to test his long-considered plans against the All Blacks, has two more months to wait before challenging them again in a dead-rubber match in Dunedin.

"We're getting there," McKenzie said. "It's not an easy task but it's not one we're shying away from."

For the first time in McKenzie's short reign the Wallabies will start as favourites to win on Saturday week at Suncorp Stadium.

But, as he did, for Saturday night's second Bledisloe Test, the coach could well stick by his beaten troops after being heartened by improvements in the 26-17 loss, despite an outgunned scrum and an inability to finish breaks.

Fullback Jesse Mogg and tighthead prop Ben Alexander are under most pressure after indifferent displays at the Cake Tin while a tough choice looms between rookie playmaker Matt Toomua and Quade Cooper at No.10.

Sekope Kepu finished the two-tries-to-one loss with a hamstring twinge which could save Alexander or see James Slipper switch from loose-head while McKenzie was non-committal about moving either dangerous winger, Israel Folau or James O'Connor, to fullback.

There was criticism of the Wallabies bench for failing to make an impact while the coach was also unhappy the back-five let the front-row down in a tough night for the scrum.

He said any changes would be more likely to be a result of varied plans against the bigger, less mobile Springboks.

"It's a different (opposing) team and different strategies," McKenzie said, hinting they would attempt to run the Boks around.

"It's a different game completely."

Asked about the chances of Cooper, who stands out more against South African sides, gaining a promotion, McKenzie labelled them "as good as anyone else's at this point".

But the mercurial Queenslander failed to threaten the All Blacks in his 23 minutes off the bench and Toomua earned praise for an improved display, running with venom at the line and kicking better than in Sydney.

McKenzie said attack was the hardest part of the game to master as a new team but it was the Wallabies' defence - highlighted by poor missed tackles in the first half - that proved most exasperating.

"A couple of times it was too easy for them," he said. "There was a couple of one-on-one misses and that was it. Bang.

"I'm quite pleased when I look at the numbers, the ball movement, we're actually using the full width of the field and all the players in the game are getting through the line, breaking tackles.

"We'll get better at how we control the ball in those (line-break) moments.

"But we are expressing ourselves there and we'll get pay out of that sooner or later."