Wallabies' excuses wearing thin after England series loss: 'It hurts'

Pictured left to right, Wallabies captain Michael Hooper and coach Dave Rennie after the third Test defeat to England.
Missed opportunities cost the Wallabies a Test series victory against England at the SCG. Pic: Getty

The Wallabies were brave, daring and committed.

But ultimately, Saturday night's 21-17 loss to England in the series decider goes down as yet another missed opportunity in a worrying trend of blowing very winnable games.

That's now five defeats in the Wallabies' last six games.

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The green shoots we saw glimpses of last year are still that: green shoots.

Australia began playing some brilliant attacking rugby before a full house at the SCG, stunning the Poms with their audaciousness, pace and venom.

In commentary, Morgan Turinui said it was the sort of start that deserved a lead of around 13 to 15 points.

The scoreboard said otherwise.

A missed penalty goal and an ability to cash in on several line breaks – along with our old friend, ill-discipline - saw it deadlocked 0-0 before England went 3-0 ahead, completely against the run of play.

The visitors suddenly wore the look of a boxer who'd absorbed a heap of punishment but remained on his feet, shooting the Wallabies a 'is that the best you've got?' look.

Australia conceded a crucial try on half-time and spent the second half playing catch up after falling behind 21-10.

The error rate climbed – along with the penalty count - as the minutes ticked by and frustration grew.

The men in white tackled anything that moved, repelling their hosts time and time again.

They deserved their win and the post-match celebrations spoke of relief and sheer delight.

Pictured centre, England captain Courtney Lawes holds the trophy aloft as he celebrates a series victory against the Wallabies with teammates.
England captain Courtney Lawes holds the trophy aloft as he celebrates a series victory against the Wallabies with teammates. Pic: Getty

But let’s be clear, this is not one of the great England sides.

The Poms were coming off an underwhelming Six Nations campaign and started this tour with a loss in the first Test.

At that stage, HR back in London had the email ready to send Eddie Jones, inviting him for a chat upon his return.

Wallabies rue missed opportunities against England

This series victory now gives him plenty of breathing space heading into next year's World Cup and instead turns the heat up on Wallabies coach Dave Rennie and skipper Michael Hooper.

Under Rennie, Australia has played 23 Tests for nine wins, 11 losses and three draws.

Before the first Test against England, the Kiwi was asked how important the next three weeks would be to the Wallabies' development.

He said: "Winning the series is crucial. We've been together a couple of years now and we reckon we've got more in us and we want to get better, but within that you've got to find ways of winning."

They didn't find ways, and that's the most frustrating part.

"We had plenty of chances so it hurts. We created a lot of opportunities and had the right plans, but we just weren’t clinical enough," Rennie said after the SCG defeat.

"If we turned a couple of those opportunities in the game, we start applying scoreboard pressure.

"It’s disappointing because at this level, you have the take your chances and we left a lot out there."

"We’re disappointed because I reckon we’re better than the result tonight and last week."

It's sounding a familiar tune – and one that's wearing a little thin.

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