Australian media slam ‘woeful’ Wallabies

The Australian media on Monday laid into the Wallabies blasting their performance against New Zealand which ended the TriNations hopes of a third Rugby World Cup title.

The All Blacks’ relentless pressure and masterly forwards proved too much for Robbie Deans’s team in the intimidating atmosphere of Eden Park, with New Zealand comfortable 20-6 winners as they booked a place in a final with France.

Defeat left Australia needing to regroup ahead of a third-place playoff against Wales on Friday

“Woeful Wallabies kicked out by All Blacks hellbent on raising cup,” said the Sydney Morning Herald headline.

“In the end, the Wallabies didn’t get close,” the paper’s chief rugby correspondent Greg Growden wrote.

“In the only Australia-New Zealand match which really mattered over the past four years, the All Blacks showed how superior they were, how their attitude will constantly win them the big battles.

“(It showed) how they apply the power game with such tremendous effect and how easy it is to rattle the Wallabies.”

Fly-half Quade Cooper was singled out by most papers for criticism, with the Herald saying “the hope of rugby fumbles and bumbles when he was needed most”.

The Sydney Daily Telegraph also got its teeth into New Zealand-born Cooper, who had one of his poorest games ever during Australia’s quarter-final win over cup holders South Africa and fared little better on Sunday.

“Cooper’s opening kick-off blunder hobbled the Wallabies before they had fired a shot,” it said.

“It was maddening. It was a momentum killer. It handed the All Blacks a roaring start on a plate. It was a sign of his pressured World Cup getting to him.”

Wayne Smith, rugby union editor of The Australian, said the team had gone backwards as the tournament progressed and highlighted their set-pieces as “an embarrassment”.

“Until Deans and the senior management of the Australian Rugby Union seriously set about putting some armour-plating on this Achilles heel, the Wallabies will remain vulnerable and inconsistent,” he said.

“That this problem has been allowed to persist since before the 2003 World Cup is nothing short of a disgrace.”

Former Australia captain John Eales, the Wallabies’ skipper when they won the 1999 World Cup, said New Zealand were simply too good.

“The All Blacks started with a pace and intensity the Wallabies hadn’t encountered to date, and they barely hung on,” Eales said in a column for the Australian Financial Review.

“The Wallabies tried gallantly but had no answers for the onslaught, which I suspect will also overwhelm the French next week.”

New Zealand are now just a game away from winning only their second World Cup title, secured when they beat France in the climax of the inaugural 1987 edition.

Under the headline ‘Epic All Blacks deliver on huge night’, the New Zealand Herald’s Dylan Cleaver wrote: “Yes we can and yes we did — in style.

“Twenty-four years after New Zealand and France played the first Rugby World Cup final on Eden Park, the two teams will meet there again,” said Cleaver, who added the All Blacks had been “scintillating” in beating the Wallabies.

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