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England stuff the Wallabies - again

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24th November, 2018
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There’s no nice way to say it, but apart from Israel Folau’s first try that was all class, the rest of the Wallabies played like stuffed turkeys.

England was in command from the third minute when winger Jonny May scored in the corner to run out 37-18 winners over the Wallabies for a record sixth successive time.

Sure, there were some other exciting moments from the Wallabies, such as the first half midfield bust from Will Genia celebrating his 100th cap, another from Dane Haylett-Petty in the second session, a try-saving tackle from Michael Hooper when he dropped England’s runaway winger Joe Cokanasiga centimetres from the line, and some strong runs from centre Samu Kerevi.

But overall it was simply awful.

Bloody hell, when are the Wallabies going to earn their thick wallets?

Matt Toomua’s not a 10, nor is Bernard Foley a 12. In fact, I kept asking myself was Foley a late withdrawal until I pegged him trying to defuse a push and shove just before full-time.

That was the only time I sighted him in 80 minutes, and he never had a shot at goal even though he’s the senior kicker.

As for the Wallaby forwards, they looked like a Punch and Judy show with the English pack pulling the strings.

None of them could have been tired by the final hooter, most just wandered around letting men in white, especially man-of-the-match hooker Kyle Sinckler, run riot in midfield at will.

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And for the life of me, I cannot understand why the Wallaby forwards back off every lineout and eventually join the lineout at a leisurely pace from a distance, even when they are behind on the scoreboard?

Rubbish rugby.

The basics of pass, catch, support, retain possession and tackle were, for the most part, again ignored.

Long passes found touch, not a runner, and a blatant forward pass cost Marika Koriobete a try late in the piece, as the backs were crowded out of business.

The halftime 13-all scoreline wasn’t indicative of the play as the Wallabies owned 52 per cent possession, but squandered so many opportunities with the exception of the Folau try that even had the English faithful on their feet applauding, pointlessly beating three defenders, and diving over with a huge smile.

Israel Folau Wallabies Australia Rugby Union 2017

(Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

It was the second half when the Wallabies fell apart.

Until Folau touched down for his second try on full-time from a Toomua kick-pass, England had piled on 24 unanswered points.

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Throw in the 28 missed Wallaby tackles, the 25 aimless kicking away possession with the 14 turnovers, and the 37-18 loss was a justifiable result.

It wasn’t the Christmas present on offer, and there won’t be a ticker tape reception on arrival home.

But there has to be a day of reckoning in 2019 or the Wallabies won’t qualify for the Rugby World Cup finals in Japan.

Yet in the back of my mind is that superb second half against the Pumas in Salta, turning a 31-7 deficit into a resounding 45-34 victory, touching down for five brilliant tries.

That proved the Wallabies can really play.

But it also begs the question why only one half in an entire campaign?