Discipline. It’s the word that won’t go away as the Wallabies lost yet another tight contest on their end-of-year spring tour against Ireland.
The visitors threatened to upset the world’s No.1 team, coming up just short in a tense contest that was bogged down by penalties.
If not for a rogue Dave Porecki neck roll, scrumhalf Nic White would have been awarded a try in the opening minutes of the match that could have made the difference.
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By and large, the Wallabies were good, and although Ireland had as many penalties conceded, the eighth-ranked team let themselves down with penalties at crucial moments of the game while in possession.
Indeed, an infringement at the death by Jake Gordon squandered any chance of the Wallabies converting a lineout just short of the try line into points.
All told, Ireland won 13-10 in a match that the Wallabies looked like they had as good a chance at winning as the home side.
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Former Wallabies winger-turned-Stan Sport pundit Drew Mitchell was left bemused by the continual lack of control from the Australian contingent.
“I felt like the story once more is the lack of discipline from the Wallabies,” Mitchell said.
“Just so many repeat infringements. In that first half, four neck rolls alone, the yellow card to Folau Fainga’a, that proved to be really crucial when the Irish went over early in the second half when they [Australia] were down two men under uncontested scrums.
“Look, there’s a lot to like about this Wallabies performance, but there’s a lot not to like about the scoreboard.”
Mitchell said he was encouraged by the Wallabies’ physicality and the impact off the bench.
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However, he couldn’t get away from the word ‘discipline’ as the Wallabies recorded the third straight loss.
“So often we’re talking about these games for the Wallabies, losing by one point, losing by three points here tonight, but it’s just little fine margins – lack of discipline, lack of focus and concentration in the big moments to alleviate any pressure that you might have on the opposition, and the Irish were really good at that,” he added.
“They [Ireland] were really strong at the breakdown. They stymied the speed at which the Wallabies wanted to play.
“The Wallabies held the ball for long periods of time but weren’t able to make too much impetus through that defensive line because the Irish have a really structured defensive line.
“There’s not much in it, but the fine margins, it mounts up to the results that we don’t want to see from the Wallabies.”
So far, the Wallabies have just one win to their credit on this year’s spring tour.
A one-point win over Scotland was followed by back-to-back defeats to France and Italy, both of which were also one-point losses.
Australia will face Wales in their final 2022 Test in Cardiff on Sunday, November 27 at 2.15am (AEDT).
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