Monday’s rugby news has the Wallabies upset loss, Link under pressure, the laser controversy and the All-Blacks finally defeated.
Wallabies become first Pumas scalp
The Wallabies have claimed the dubious distinction of being the first team to lose to Argentina in the Rugby Championship. The Australian side squandered a 14-0 lead to cap off a disappointing competition, defeated 21-17 by the Pumas on Sunday. Captain Michael Hooper refused to make any excuses for the Wallabies’average performance.
“There’s going to be distractions wherever you go, we do a lot of travelling, you have to turn up on the night and be able to do the job,” he said. “We [turned up] and they were better.”
Pressure building on McKenzie
The historic loss has increased the pressure mounting on Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie, hailed as Australian rugby’s saviour after the Robbie Deans era. The loss leaves the Wallabies’ win rate at 52 per cent under McKenzie from 21 Tests in his first full year in charge.
A particularly troubling statistic is that the Wallabies are only one-from-nine against New Zealand and South Africa and have yet to triumph over the All Blacks in five encounters since McKenzie succeeded Robbie Deans last year.
Foley contends with lasers
The Argentinean crowd have once again brought out the lasers to distract opposition kickers, with Bernard Foley distracted by the tactic during a pressure kick which would have put the Wallabies up 20-18 towards the end of the match. Kurtley Beale, Mike Harris and All Blacks playmaker Aaron Cruden have also been subjected to similar treatment in Argentina.
Foley said he never sought a second attempt after his decisive miss and the option was never offered by referee Nigel Owens. “You can’t be doing it,” Foley said. “But how do you stop them? Maybe the re-kick will teach them, but who knows?”
All-Blacks finally defeated
New Zealand’s 22-game unbeaten run has finally come to an end with Saturday’s 27-25 defeat to South Africa. After a slow start the All Blacks fought back from 24-13 down to be leading with two minutes to go before a 52-metre penalty from flyhalf Pat Lambie gave the match to the Springboks.
It was just the second defeat in Hansen’s three-year spell as coach of the world champions. “We are all disappointed, this team hates losing…it sucks really, but every now and again you are going to do it,” Hansen said, while emphasising that South Africa were deserving winners.