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Deans puts Azzurri resurgence down to fatigue

Date

Georgina Robinson

"It is evident the batteries need recharging ... We won't want to drain all the energy prior to playing this week" ... Wallabies coach Robbie Deans.

"It is evident the batteries need recharging ... We won't want to drain all the energy prior to playing this week" ... Wallabies coach Robbie Deans. Photo: AFP

FLORENCE: Robbie Deans says fatigue at the end of a ''demanding year'' was partly to blame for Australia's second-half collapse against Italy on Saturday.

The Wallabies allowed the home side to pile on 13 unanswered points in the second half to close a comfortable 16-point gap between the two sides and leave Australia clinging to the lead for the final 20 minutes.

Captain Nathan Sharpe blamed poor decision-making and sloppy execution for the turnaround and Deans said it was clear the squad was feeling the pinch after a long year.

''It is evident the batteries need recharging … the first half was good, the second half we were half-a-metre to a metre off, so we will allow the blokes to recharge as best as possible. We won't want to drain all the energy prior to playing this week,'' the Wallabies coach said.

Deans stopped short of blaming tiredness entirely but said it was ''part of their performance, no doubt … They showed great resilience to hang in under genuine pressure''.

The Wallabies travelled to Cardiff on Sunday for the final game of their four-match European tour, bringing the season full circle with a Test against the country they beat, three games to none, in the June internationals at home.

There is some doubt over the fitness of halfback Brett Sheehan, who was taken off with an ankle injury in the first half in a devastating end to his first Test start.

Scans revealed no broken bones but the ankle is sore and will be monitored closely. Wallabies medical staff were positive, a team spokesman said.

After missing the window to recall France-based No.9 Luke Burgess, the prospect of losing half the squad's halfback stocks before the match against Wales is unsettling for Deans and his staff.

He played down the risk after the game, saying: ''We will have some conversations about that, we have been communicating with a couple of blokes. Prior to even leaving we skilled up a couple of blokes domestically, but we will deal with that in time. Immediate feedback was they thought he [Sheehan] would be around.''

Deans praised the defensive efforts of players, including centre Adam Ashley-Cooper, breakaway Michael Hooper and forwards Wycliff Palu and Sitaleki Timani.

Timani was one of the biggest contributors to turnovers in the side and cost Australia Robert Barbieri's try early in the second half, but Deans defended his powerhouse lock, who escaped citation for an apparent hit on an opposition player and generally made the desired physical impact, particularly in the scrum.

''He was immense out there tonight because it was very much a physical pressure they were putting us under. Blunt and direct, and we had to stand up to it and we did,'' Deans said.

The Wallabies' strategic kicking game was once again found wanting, particularly in the second half. Deans targeted that area after the Test against England, where similar judgment lapses cost Australia possession and put them under pressure.

''We didn't kick well, that's the key thing, it's decision-making, it is thought process,'' he said. ''But that is often the first thing that goes when you are under pressure and feeling pressure, that's sometimes how you respond. It's an easy way out. But the way the Italians played and brought an enthusiasm to their game, there wasn't an easy way out.''

Sharpe said ''compounding errors'' in the second half cost the Wallabies their margin.

''Any time we had any likelihood of getting some attacking play going, we'd make a mistake and put them just outside our 22,'' he said.

''They're known for their strength when they get into the 22 and we held them out from that position, [but] there's all sorts of ways to win a game, you can win it pretty, you can win it ugly, but we won and we'll take that.''

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Round 1
Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 18 vs TGA 18 Report Stats
FJI 25 vs ITA 14 Report Stats
NZL 20 vs ENG 15 Report Stats
AUS 50 vs FRA 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 47 vs WXV 13 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 29 Report Stats
USA 6 vs SCO 24 Report Stats
CAN 25 vs JPN 34 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 15 vs ITA Report Stats
FJI 45 vs TGA 17 Report Stats
NZL 28 vs ENG 27 Report Stats
AUS 6 vs FRA Report Stats
Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 38 vs WAL 16 Report Stats
CAN 17 vs SCO 19 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 23 Report Stats
USA 29 vs JPN 37 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
ARG 19 vs SCO 21 Report Stats
FJI 13 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
JPN 26 vs ITA 23 Report Stats
AUS 39 vs FRA 13 Stats
NZL 36 vs ENG 13 Report Stats
Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 31 vs WAL 30 Report Stats
USA 38 vs CAN 35 Report Stats
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Round 4
Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 55 vs SCO 6 Report Stats
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Round 5
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
BAR 36 vs AUS 40 Report Stats
USA 6 vs NZL 74 Report Stats
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Round 6
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 24 vs SAM 13 Report Stats
ENG 21 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
WAL 28 vs AUS 33 Report Stats
FRA 40 vs FJI 14 Report Stats
IRE 29 vs RSA 15 Report Stats
SCO 41 vs ARG 31 Report Stats
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Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 18 vs ARG 20 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs RSA 31 Report Stats
WAL 17 vs FJI 13 Report Stats
SCO 16 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
FRA 29 vs AUS 26 Report Stats
Mon, 17 NovTimes shown AEDT
IRE 49 vs GEO 7 Report Stats
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Round 8
Sun, 23 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 6 vs RSA 22 Report Stats
SCO 37 vs TGA 12 Report Stats
IRE 26 vs AUS 23 Report Stats
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ENG 28 vs SAM 9 Report Stats
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Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
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