Brisbane, Australia – Australian rugby pundits on Monday rounded on the Wallabies and under-fire coach Robbie Deans after the “infuriating predictability” of their loss to France in Paris.
France scored three tries to nil in a convincing 33-6 victory over Australia on Saturday to move the home side into fourth place in the IRB rankings ahead of next month's World Cup draw.
Critics pointed to the Wallabies' inconsistency under Deans, who in the process of the French defeat became the most-capped Australia coach.
“It will be the infuriating predictability of the Wallabies' loss to France in Paris that sits like acid in the guts of the bleary-eyed loyalists,” The Sydney Morning Herald's Paul Cully said.
“It has been the way for the past five years that whenever Australia take one step forward, at least one back promptly follows.
“One incriminating statistic goes to the heart of the Wallabies' effort. They missed a huge number of tackles, 24 all up – or one in every four attempts,” he added.
The Australian newspaper's Wayne Smith singled out Deans in his post-match analysis.
“Deans may have become in this match the most-capped Wallabies coach but at the same time he also became – again – the least successful Wallabies coach of the professional era,” Smith wrote.
“His winning percentage dipped to 57.4 percent, below that of Eddie Jones. What he has the Wallabies doing, or rather not doing, manifestly isn't working.”
Smith criticised the Wallabies' tactics against the more creative Les Bleus.
“Arguably the most damning match statistic of all was that Australia's ruck-and-maul count was almost double that of France's, 121 to 69,” he said.
“Where Les Bleus creatively sought to use the ball to create two-on-ones, the Wallabies ponderously kept punching it up into the thick of the French defence, the pick-and-drive virtually their only attacking ploy.”
The Daily Telegraph said changes were needed to restore Australia's reputation against England at Twickenham on Saturday.
“Change is needed in the Wallabies side to take on England if Australia are to put Paris behind them and rescue their reputation in the north,” it said.
“The expected returns from injury of David Pocock, Digby Ioane, Ben Alexander and Sitaleki Timani should bolster the match-day 23, Timani's weight in the scrum particularly.” – Sapa-AFP