JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Coach Ewen McKenzie left scratching his head as Wallabies take a break

Head scratcher: Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie now has injuries to Pat McCabe and Nathan Charles to add to his troubles.

Head scratcher: Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie now has injuries to Pat McCabe and Nathan Charles to add to his troubles. Photo: Reuters

Ewen McKenzie will go back to the drawing board after the All Blacks took a nine-inch nail to the bubble of optimism in Australian rugby in Auckland at the weekend.

The Wallabies' hopeful momentum from seven wins on the trot and eight Tests without a loss came to a screeching halt at Eden Park on Saturday, after a 51-20 humiliation at the hands of the World Cup holders. So much for the Waratahs' Super Rugby success. Australia's best players, many in career-best form, allowed themselves to be overpowered, overawed and outclassed by a New Zealand side with a point to prove.

They left Auckland on Sunday bruised and battered, Nathan Charles in a sling with a suspected rib or pectoral injury and Pat McCabe in a neck brace. But the physical scars told just half the story.

1. Marcos Ayerza (Argentina) Click for more photos

Team of the 2014 Rugby Championship - Round Two

Paul Cully picks the best XV from the second round of the 2014 Rugby Championship. Photo: Getty Images

This one – the All Blacks' highest score against Australia and their third biggest points differential – should stick in the craw, fuelling motivation for the get-square down the track. "You have to respond after that," McKenzie said. "We've enjoyed winning over the last period of time and we've been competitive, so it was a massive disappointment."

McKenzie acknowledged the Wallabies had "created expectation" and failed miserably to deliver, and did not rule out big changes for the next Test, against South Africa in two weeks.

"We'd created some expectation there and it wasn't like we came up short, we came up a long way short, so that's really disappointing," he said. "We have to turn it around. The All Blacks went out there, they were under a lot of pressure, and they responded. That's what we've got to do."

The Wallabies may be limited in their capacity to do so, after injuries have run down stocks in key positions, including hooker, wing and halfback. And while the defensive frailties were plain, there was so little time in attack it is difficult to say anything categorical about McKenzie's halves experiment. Nevertheless, the Australian coach did not rule anything out.

"You've heard me say selections are a one-game contract," he said. "You get a chance and you have to go out there and make the most of it. We don't tend to change things after one game but you like to see an improvement and I've already said there are good players missing out. I thought [centre Tevita] Kuridrani did a good job at the back end of the game, for example. There are players itching to get a go and we recognise that. We were getting the performances on the field until last night, so we'll have to take stock."

The Wallabies break for a week before flying to Perth on Sunday to begin preparations for South Africa. The Springboks survived a huge scare from Argentina in Salta to sneak a 33-31 win on Saturday, thanks to a penalty by replacement five-eighth Morne Steyn in the final three minutes. Despite New Zealand's masterclass in Auckland, their 12-12 draw with Australia in Sydney leaves them trailing South Africa by a point after two rounds of the four-nation Rugby Championship.

After three seasons in the competition, Argentina is still without a win, and will travel to New Zealand at the end of the week to play the blisteringly hot All Blacks. After reviewing the tape, McKenzie said the Wallabies gave their opposition several legs up into the game at Eden Park. "The bottom line is, when you go through their point-scoring, predominantly it's off turnovers from us," he said. "Their ability to play from turnovers was exceptional. We weren't able to capitalise in the same way.

"It's very frustrating because when you look through the set-piece stuff, we didn't get near executing the plan that we had and off turnovers, that's what they're good at.

"We were aware of that, but you have to be able to react to that and reorganise. The transitional defence is an important part of that and we didn't get it right."

104 comments

  • The supporters are the ones scratching their heads with some of McKenzie's selections. Why would you mess around with a winning formula and drop Foley from fly half? Was he simply trying to separate himself from Cheika? Foley had been great in the position. Beale was chosen out of position. As soon as Foley came on in game one they were a better team. If they had played him the whole of game one they would have won and would still be in with a chance to take the Bledisloe Cup.

    Commenter
    Ken Dropole
    Date and time
    August 24, 2014, 8:36PM
    • Ken. We all agree the ABs played what was probably the worse game in living memory there in Sydney. If they had glue on their hands the ball would not have stuck. It was a shocker, except in one area - DEFENSE! Australia talked themselves up no end before the game, which one and all have come to expect - basically dissing the opposition by announcing: 'The gap has closed' 'We don't fear the All Blacks any more' . Nick Far-Jones, in his normal blather, 'The All Blacks are ripe for plucking" He was a brilliant player, (god knows how, as his pre-match talk is normally a load of tripe!)

      Here is what I am getting at. On the All Blacks worst night, with a performance that was embarrassing, where the men in gold had 70% of the ball and god knows how much time in NZs half, or inside their 22 meter line. They couldn't do it ...They set their tent firmly in front of the ABs sticks and camped there. Who does that? Which side in world rugby would not be able to grab the points from that position? Australia were weak and unable to get over the line ...

      There is no gap closing. There is no 'catching' up! It's the same old rubbish side that has been running around for years. In fact Australia would have to be the Scotland of southern hemisphere rugby!

      Commenter
      maximus
      Date and time
      August 25, 2014, 7:17AM
    • and just to finish off my thoughts Ken.... notice I used the word 'FINISH' The very thing Australia do not have the ability to do when it comes to the All Blacks ... to finish off ....

      Stop the blah blah and dissing other sides Australia. Respect teams and their skill ... When the sides play again in Australia, expect to witness complete and utter annihilation of the chaps who run around in gold. Australia are not even in the same bracket as this All Black team!

      Teams don't catch the All Blacks, and certainly not Australia. The All Blacks, at times have a bad night, they play like other teams, this is what happens. Catching up ... good lord!

      Commenter
      maximus
      Date and time
      August 25, 2014, 7:19AM
    • Agree 100%. Even a novice to the game would not have dropped an in form player (Foley) and replaced him with someone who has not played in the specialist fly half position since 2012 and who has started just seven games at fly half in a 42-Test career spanning 5 years. McKenzie went out on a limb, took a big / moronic gamble and lost. He needs to be held accountable.

      Commenter
      Very Unhappy
      Date and time
      August 25, 2014, 7:29AM
    • Bit of a stretch to say that Foley would have won the game for the Wallabies.

      By the time he had come on the ABs were ahead 44 - 6. Do you really think they would have allowed two soft tries like that if scores had been level? You Wallaby fans amaze me. The ABs just knocked your "Super Rugby" logic out of the park and yet you're still clinging to it like a doonah on a cold night.

      Foley would have made no difference. I agree he should play at 10 but it was your engine room who was humiliated off the park.

      Commenter
      Gonzo
      Location
      Brisbane
      Date and time
      August 25, 2014, 7:53AM
    • Maximums, should be Minimus. Who won the Super15. Me thinks the Waratahs beat the New Zealand mob. I rest my case.

      Commenter
      KP
      Date and time
      August 25, 2014, 7:57AM
    • Did Foley run over your cat Link? Despite a measurable improvement on Saturday night when Phipps and Foley came on, you single out Kurindrani for a special mention. The whole of Australia are telling you your selection of Beale instead of Foley is moronic, why cant you see it?

      Commenter
      Zaphod
      Date and time
      August 25, 2014, 8:58AM
    • Gonzo, I was clearly talking about game 1. They were never expected to win game two, especially with the team McKenzie picked but if they had won game one the series would still be alive.

      Commenter
      KD
      Date and time
      August 25, 2014, 9:22AM
    • KP - Maximums, should be Minimus. Who won the Super15. Me thinks the Waratahs beat the New Zealand mob. I rest my case.

      Perhaps you should go back to supporting league as union seems to be too complex for you...

      Big whoop that the Warratahs won the Super 15 (with some of the worst reffing going for them BTW)...that means squat when it comes to the Rugby Championship...

      Heres a lesson from history for you - NZ come 1st/2nd/3rd in 1998...we lost 5 tests in a row...

      Super Rugby <> Test Rugby

      Anyone who thinks otherwise is dumber than McKenzie...

      PS - Still think hes better than Deans? At least Deans beat the AB's (without rubbish South African Ref assistance as well)

      Commenter
      Mark
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      August 25, 2014, 12:35PM
    • @Maximus - It's clear as daylight that Australia are much better on attack with Phipps/Foley/Beale, rather than White/Beale/Toomua. You only have to see the difference it made in the first 2 games when Phipps/Foley were brought on way too late.

      I don't think it would have made a difference in game 2, AB's were on fire, Wallabies would probably have got done anyway.

      As far as the AB's defense in game 1, they should probably have had more players sent off for continued infringements and cynical play in their own 22. There was 1 period of play where they gave away 3 "advantages" in the space of about 2 minutes and then the ref calls "advantage over" even though they had made no ground and no tactical advantage was gained. A penalty there about 20m out and right in front, and that's the game.

      Commenter
      Bleh
      Date and time
      August 25, 2014, 12:41PM

More comments

Comments are now closed

Related Coverage

Richie McCaw Team of the 2014 Rugby Championship - Round Two

Paul Cully picks the best XV from the second round of the 2014 Rugby Championship.

d Wallabies dismantled in second Bledisloe Cup match

The Wallabies won't get their hands on the Bledisloe Cup for the 12th straight year after being steamrolled 51-20 by the All Blacks in Auckland.

Wallabies humbled by All Blacks in Bledisloe Cup massacre

There is no hiding at Eden Park. The rain, wind and mud confused the picture in Sydney a week ago, allowing the Wallabies to draw with the All Blacks and their fans to hope.

Wallabies also culpable in Bledisloe bloodsport

Hard questions for the Wallabies from top to bottom.

Kurtley Beale has got to go, but to where in Wallabies' starting back line?

Kurtley Beale should be switched from the starting five-eighth slot to the wing in the Wallabies line-up that was thrashed by the All Blacks at Eden Park in Auckland on Saturday night, former World Cup-winning coach Bob Dwyer says.

Related Coverage

HuffPost Australia

Super Rugby 2016

Round 1
Fri, 26 FebTimes shown AEDT
BLU 0vs HIG 0 17:35EP
BRU 0vs HUR 0 19:40GIO Stadium
Sat, 27 FebTimes shown AEDT
CHT 0vs Jagu 0 04:00FSS
Sunw 0vs LIO 0 15:15Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium
CRU 0vs CHF 0 17:35AMI
WAR 0vs RED 0 19:40AS
FOR 0vs REB 0 21:50nib Stadium
Sun, 28 FebTimes shown AEDT
King 0vs SHA 0 00:00NMBS
STO 0vs BUL 0 02:05DHL Newlands
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Fri, 04 MarTimes shown AEDT
CRU 0vs BLU 0 17:35AMI
BRU 0vs WAR 0 19:40GIO Stadium
Sat, 05 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHF 0vs LIO 0 15:15FMG Stadium Waikato
HIG 0vs HUR 0 17:35FBS
RED 0vs FOR 0 19:40SS
Sun, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
BUL 0vs REB 0 00:00Loftu
CHT 0vs STO 0 02:05FSS
SHA 0vs Jagu 0 04:10GpKP
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Fri, 11 MarTimes shown AEDT
BLU 0vs HUR 0 17:35EP
FOR 0vs BRU 0 22:05nib Stadium
Sat, 12 MarTimes shown AEDT
HIG 0vs LIO 0 17:35FBS
REB 0vs RED 0 19:40AAMI
Sunw 0vs CHT 0 21:50Singapore National Stadium
Sun, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
King 0vs CHF 0 00:00NMBS
STO 0vs SHA 0 02:05DHL Newlands
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Fri, 18 MarTimes shown AEDT
HUR 0vs FOR 0 17:35Central Energy Trust Arena
WAR 0vs HIG 0 19:40AS
Sat, 19 MarTimes shown AEDT
BUL 0vs SHA 0 04:00Loftu
Sunw 0vs REB 0 15:15Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium
CRU 0vs King 0 17:35AMI
RED 0vs BLU 0 19:40SS
Sun, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
LIO 0vs CHT 0 02:05Emirates Airlines Park
STO 0vs BRU 0 04:10DHL Newlands
Jagu 0vs CHF 0 09:00Estadio Jose Amalfitani
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Fri, 25 MarTimes shown AEDT
HUR 0vs King 0 17:35WS
Sat, 26 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHF 0vs FOR 0 17:35FMG Stadium Waikato
REB 0vs HIG 0 19:40AAMI
Sunw 0vs BUL 0 21:50Singapore National Stadium
Sun, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHT 0vs BRU 0 00:00FSS
SHA 0vs CRU 0 02:05GpKP
Jagu 0vs STO 0 09:00Estadio Jose Amalfitani
RED 0vs WAR 0 16:05SS
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Fri, 01 AprTimes shown AEDT
HIG 0vs FOR 0 17:35FBS
Sat, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
LIO 0vs CRU 0 04:00Emirates Airlines Park
BLU 0vs Jagu 0 17:35QBE Stadium
BRU 0vs CHF 0 19:40GIO Stadium
Sun, 03 AprTimes shown AEDT
King 0vs Sunw 0 02:05NMBS
BUL 0vs CHT 0 03:10Loftu
WAR 0vs REB 0 16:05AS
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Fri, 08 AprTimes shown AEST
CHF 0vs BLU 0 17:35FMG Stadium Waikato
FOR 0vs CRU 0 21:00nib Stadium
Sat, 09 AprTimes shown AEST
STO 0vs Sunw 0 03:00DHL Newlands
HUR 0vs Jagu 0 17:35WS
RED 0vs HIG 0 19:40SS
Sun, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
SHA 0vs LIO 0 01:05GpKP
King 0vs BUL 0 03:10NMBS
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Fri, 15 AprTimes shown AEST
CRU 0vs Jagu 0 17:35AMI
REB 0vs HUR 0 19:40AAMI
Sat, 16 AprTimes shown AEST
CHT 0vs Sunw 0 03:00FSS
BLU 0vs SHA 0 17:35EP
WAR 0vs BRU 0 19:40AS
Sun, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
BUL 0vs RED 0 01:05Loftu
LIO 0vs STO 0 03:10Emirates Airlines Park
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Fri, 22 AprTimes shown AEST
HIG 0vs SHA 0 17:35FBS
REB 0vs CHT 0 19:40AAMI
Sat, 23 AprTimes shown AEST
Sunw 0vs Jagu 0 15:15Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium
HUR 0vs CHF 0 17:35WS
FOR 0vs WAR 0 19:40nib Stadium
STO 0vs RED 0 23:00DHL Newlands
Sun, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
King 0vs LIO 0 01:05NMBS
BRU 0vs CRU 0 16:05GIO Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 10
Fri, 29 AprTimes shown AEST
CHF 0vs SHA 0 17:35Yarro
FOR 0vs BUL 0 21:05nib Stadium
Sat, 30 AprTimes shown AEST
HIG 0vs BRU 0 15:15Rugby Park
BLU 0vs REB 0 17:35EP
RED 0vs CHT 0 19:40SS
Sun, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
LIO 0vs HUR 0 01:05Emirates Airlines Park
STO 0vs WAR 0 03:10DHL Newlands
Jagu 0vs King 0 07:00Estadio Jose Amalfitani
View All Fixtures
Round 11
Fri, 06 MayTimes shown AEST
CRU 0vs RED 0 17:35AMI
BRU 0vs BUL 0 19:40GIO Stadium
Sat, 07 MayTimes shown AEST
Sunw 0vs FOR 0 15:15Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium
CHF 0vs HIG 0 17:35FMG Stadium Waikato
WAR 0vs CHT 0 19:40AS
SHA 0vs HUR 0 23:00GpKP
Sun, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
King 0vs BLU 0 01:05NMBS
View All Fixtures
Round 12
Fri, 13 MayTimes shown AEST
HIG 0vs CRU 0 17:35FBS
REB 0vs BRU 0 19:40AAMI
Sat, 14 MayTimes shown AEST
HUR 0vs RED 0 17:35WS
WAR 0vs BUL 0 19:40AS
Sunw 0vs STO 0 21:45Singapore National Stadium
Sun, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
CHT 0vs King 0 01:05FSS
LIO 0vs BLU 0 03:10Emirates Airlines Park
Jagu 0vs SHA 0 07:00Estadio Jose Amalfitani
View All Fixtures
Round 13
Fri, 20 MayTimes shown AEST
CRU 0vs WAR 0 17:35AMI
Sat, 21 MayTimes shown AEST
RED 0vs Sunw 0 15:05SS
CHF 0vs REB 0 17:35FMG Stadium Waikato
FOR 0vs BLU 0 19:40nib Stadium
LIO 0vs Jagu 0 23:00Emirates Airlines Park
Sun, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
SHA 0vs King 0 01:05GpKP
BUL 0vs STO 0 03:10Loftu
View All Fixtures
Round 14
Fri, 27 MayTimes shown AEST
HUR 0vs HIG 0 17:35WS
WAR 0vs CHF 0 19:40AS
Sat, 28 MayTimes shown AEST
King 0vs Jagu 0 03:00NMBS
BLU 0vs CRU 0 17:35EP
BRU 0vs Sunw 0 19:40GIO Stadium
STO 0vs CHT 0 23:00DHL Newlands
Sun, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
BUL 0vs LIO 0 01:05Loftu
REB 0vs FOR 0 16:05AAMI
View All Fixtures
Round 15
Fri, 01 JulTimes shown AEST
CHF 0vs CRU 0 17:35ANZ National Stadium, Suva
BRU 0vs RED 0 19:40GIO Stadium
Sat, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
Sunw 0vs WAR 0 15:15Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium
HUR 0vs BLU 0 17:35WS
REB 0vs STO 0 19:40AAMI
CHT 0vs FOR 0 23:00FSS
Sun, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
LIO 0vs SHA 0 01:05Emirates Airlines Park
King 0vs HIG 0 03:10NMBS
Jagu 0vs BUL 0 07:00Estadio Jose Amalfitani
View All Fixtures
Round 16
Fri, 08 JulTimes shown AEST
BLU 0vs BRU 0 17:35EP
RED 0vs CHF 0 19:40SS
Sat, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
LIO 0vs King 0 03:00Emirates Airlines Park
CRU 0vs REB 0 17:35AMI
WAR 0vs HUR 0 19:40AS
FOR 0vs STO 0 21:45nib Stadium
Sun, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
BUL 0vs Sunw 0 01:05Loftu
SHA 0vs CHT 0 03:10GpKP
Jagu 0vs HIG 0 07:00Estadio Jose Amalfitani
View All Fixtures
Round 17
Fri, 15 JulTimes shown AEST
BLU 0vs WAR 0 17:35EP
RED 0vs REB 0 19:40SS
Sat, 16 JulTimes shown AEST
SHA 0vs Sunw 0 03:00GpKP
CRU 0vs HUR 0 15:15AMI
HIG 0vs CHF 0 17:35FBS
BRU 0vs FOR 0 19:40GIO Stadium
Sun, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
STO 0vs King 0 01:05DHL Newlands
CHT 0vs BUL 0 03:10FSS
Jagu 0vs LIO 0 07:00Estadio Jose Amalfitani
View All Fixtures
Round 18
Fri, 22 JulTimes shown AEST
TBC 0vs TBC 0 09:00
TBC 0vs TBC 0 09:00
Sat, 23 JulTimes shown AEST
TBC 0vs TBC 0 09:00
TBC 0vs TBC 0 09:00
View All Fixtures
Super Rugby Semi Finals
Fri, 29 JulTimes shown AEST
TBC 0vs TBC 0 09:00
Sat, 30 JulTimes shown AEST
TBC 0vs TBC 0 09:00
View All Fixtures
Super Rugby Grand Final
Sat, 06 AugTimes shown AEST
TBC 0vs TBC 0 09:00
View All Fixtures
Super Rugby 2016
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Blues 0 0 0 0 0 0
Waratahs 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Super Rugby 2016
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Brumbies 0 0 0 0 0 0
Chiefs 0 0 0 0 0 0
Crusaders 0 0 0 0 0 0
Force 0 0 0 0 0 0
Highlanders 0 0 0 0 0 0
Hurricanes 0 0 0 0 0 0
Rebels 0 0 0 0 0 0
Reds 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
 

Follow Us on Facebook

Featured advertisers