MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Video analysis of Australia’s capitulation to the All Blacks in back-to-back Rugby Championship matches has made for tough viewing for the Wallabies as they search for answers ahead of Saturday’s game against South Africa.
Australia head into the match at Lang Park still scratching their heads over their fumbling, turnover-ridden displays that saw them torn apart by half-time against the world champions in Sydney and Auckland.
Winger Dane Haylett-Petty put their struggles down to mental lapses last week, denying a lack of fitness had played a part in their rapid surrenders, but four days out from meeting the Springboks in Brisbane lock Izack Rodda has said the side crumbled due to fatigue.
“It’s definitely hard to watch (the video) when you see yourself there and you look like you’re just going that one pace as opposed to really sprinting,” Rodda told reporters on Tuesday.
“It’s hard to watch but it’s also good to see that and address that for the next game.
“It’s definitely not a confidence thing, I just think it’s a combination of fatigue and maybe just a little bit of mental-switching-off.
“But I think the big one is fatigue, that’s about it.”
The day after losing to the All Blacks at Eden Park, Cheika said his side were fitter than the squad he put through brutal boot camps ahead of last year’s Rugby Championship.
However, footage of his players being left for dead on the counterattack by the All Blacks have fuelled accusations from pundits that the Australians were under-done.
Fullback Israel Folau remains a doubt as he battles to recover from an ankle injury that saw him miss the match at Eden Park but even should the potent try-scorer return it would be no panacea for the Wallabies’ ills, said scrumhalf Will Genia.
“It’s not one of those things where you go into a game thinking, ‘we don’t have Israel’ or ‘we’ve got Israel’,” he said.
“A lot of our problems aren’t going to be solved by just one or two players being in or out of the side.”
Without naming names, the no-nonsense halfback said some of his team mates had failed to do their jobs against New Zealand.
“That requires other people to do other people’s jobs and we get out of whack in terms of our shape defensively and when we have the ball,” he added.
“We’re working hard to find those answers and ultimately we’d like to put in a performance with those answers on Saturday night.”
(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Peter Rutherford)