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'It hurts': Wallabies reflect after tough series defeat

Sat, 16/07/2022, 1:30 pm
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
The Wallabies and England faced off in the decider at the SCG.

Wallabies coach Dave Rennie and captain Michael Hooper could barely hide the hurt after going down to England 21-17 at the SCG.

The hosts started strong and created more than enough opportunities to build a commanding lead in the first half.

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However, a lack of finish kept England in the contest and tries to man of the match Freddie Steward and Marcus Smith left them once again chasing the game.

Whilst the fight came late and they looked damaging in the final ten minutes, the English defence held strong and came away with the Ella-Mobbs Cup, something Rennie lamented after the game.

“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 match.

“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, last week was a slow start and we fought our way back into the contest and probably should’ve finished over the top of them.

"We started better and we got behind again and had enough ball and territory to win that.

“We have to be better. We’ve got a lot of footy (left), we’re three weeks into a season so we have a few things we need to tidy up heading into Argentina.”

It continues a lean run after a strong Rugby Championship campaign last year for the Wallabies, losing five of their last six games.

Within this streak, it feels like there have several matches that have followed a similar script, with the Wallabies showing fight and promise before falling to close it out.

For Hooper, the inability to find a way to win in front of a packed SCG crowd was gut-wrenching, knowing the opportunity and occasion that was missed.

“It’s a silent change room,” Hooper remarked.

“We’re gutted. It was a deciding match at a stadium that probably won’t see Rugby for a while.

“We had every intention to win so we’re gutted…it’s tough to process at this point.”

On the flip side, England coach Eddie Jones was full of praise as his young squad once again showed remarkable heart and defensive courage to pull out another famous victory.

With players such as Courtney Lawes weathering a near-12-month calendar since the Lions tour of South Africa, the victory was one to be cherished as the likes of Steward and Tommy Freeman powered them to victory.

"We had to fight like anything and we kept in there," Jones said.

"We weren't at our best, which sometimes happens, but when you fight like that and win a game like that it's a big achievement."

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