The Wallabies had a golden chance to make a big statement against South Africa at the new Allianz Stadium, but they blew it – again.
V’landys’ assertion that rugby is a boring game was a juvenile comment that turned out to be far from the truth, but not for the reasons he offered.
Beauty, it has long been said, is in the eye of the beholder, but for pure entertainment value Saturday’s humiliating 24-8 loss by the Wallabies to South Africa had as much upside as the game electric opening of the NRL at the Allianz stadium between the Roosters and the Rabbits.
That was partly because Saturday’s Rugby League match was littered with so many sloppy errors it should have been classed as an adults-only comedy full of X-rated bloopers.
It was ugly but anything but boring. There was even a bit of an old-fashioned biff, though the puff punches were so soft they wouldn’t have bruised a grape.
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Wallabies skipper James Slipper was so embarrassed he gathered his players on the pitch after the whistle and told them to remember what failure was.
“As you can imagine, (we’re) pretty disappointed,” Slipper said.
“I commented after the match that this must have hurt a lot. I want the boys to hurt each other because, yeah, South Africa was good, but I just felt like we didn’t really play much rugby.
What V’landys understood, however, is that rugby is really hard to watch.
The pedantic dismissals and constant saves kill the game, but spare a thought for the long-suffering Wallabies supporters, as it tests their patience.
Once the pride of the nation, the Wallabies descended into a modern take on the show aisle act, mildly amusing but mostly harmless.
Saturday’s clash with world champion Springboks was another case in hand.
It was supposed to be Australian rugby’s coming out party, but it ended in another all-too-familiar defeat in the game’s traditional heartland.
The biggest surprise was that no one was surprised as the Wallabies haven’t won a Test in New South Wales against a Tier 1 nation since 2015.
For all their breath on being a booming team, the Wallabies still can’t win the games that matter.
They haven’t won a World Cup since 1999 and haven’t held the Bledisloe Cup for two decades. With their next two games against the All Blacks coming later this month, it would take a monumental turnaround for that to turn around.
Beating the Springboks is not in the same league, but Saturday’s game was still an important game as it was the first at the new Allianz Stadium, so the stands were full of game faithful.
It was a chance for Dave Rennie’s struggling side to prove they can string together a few wins – which they will need if they are to be serious contenders at next year’s World Cup in France.
By their own admission, last week’s impressive win over the Springboks in Adelaide wouldn’t count for anything if they didn’t back it up by winning in Sydney, but while they talk about a good game, they don’t. weren’t playing.
“I don’t know about one striker, two backs, but as I said before, it’s a tough competition,” Rennie said. “You have to be at your best every week to be comfortable and that has clearly been a big part of our mantra.
“We understand that we are playing for something bigger than ourselves. There is no lack of motivation in this group and there is no lack of motivation and no lack of conviction, but we have to win these key moments and we have to do the basics much better.
The Springboks hadn’t won a Test against the Wallabies in Australia since 2013, but they had this one in the bag almost from the kick-off as they beat opponents first with brawn then with brains .
The South Africans scored four tries, the first after just 10 minutes, to secure a bonus point, which could be decisive in deciding the championship. With two laps to go, New Zealand lead the other three teams by just one point.
“I just wanted the boys to realize how much it hurts and hold on to that and let that lead you into the future,” Slipper said.
“We may be disappointed for a day or two, but at the end of the day the All Blacks come and in two weeks and if you keep kicking at that point it’s not going to help anyone. ‘a.
“So I want it to hurt but at the same time I want to be better, we have to be better. And that’s what I just challenged the group basically.
The visitors refused to take a shot when they started to beat the Australian line and they were rewarded when Damian de Allende dove under the sticks.
The Wallabies cut the margin to 7-3 when Noah Lolesio kicked in a penalty just before the break, but the Springboks secured another five points before the interval when teenage sensation Canan Moodie leapt into the air above from a flat-footed Marike Koroibete to collect a box kick from Jaden Hendrikse and scored unopposed.
Leading 12-3 at the change of the end, the Boks regained their advantage in the second half, when Franco Mostert scored in the right corner just after the restart and then Makazola Mapimpi dove in the left corner with eight minutes remaining, then was sin scrapped for starting a fight.
The Wallabies were granted a last-minute consolation try to replace backrower Pete Samu, but it was too little too late.
“It’s thanks to them, they showed why they are world champions,” said Wallabies half-back Nic White.
“Physically I think they were just better than us. Defensively, overtaking our men, slowing down the breakdown. It’s disappointing, there were a lot of people here tonight and we couldn’t get in.
“We’re going back to the drawing board, we have the two biggest games of our year coming up. We’re in Melbourne, hopefully we can get a good start there and throw the kitchen sink on it.
Originally published as Australia vs South Africa: The Wallabies blow on the big stage at the Allianz Stadium