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Stephen Hoiles: 5 Things We Learnt...

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By Stephen Hoiles

1. Attitude counts for so much: 

On Saturday night the Qantas Wallabies started as $6 outsiders. The largest price in Wallabies history since the game went professional. That can be a huge motivation to a team that essentially is playing for pride only. The Wallabies can be very proud of their attitude and effort for most of the match. They will however be extremely disappointed with their inability to close out a game.
2. Keep chasing points:
It seemed the Wallabies felt the game was theirs and tried to defend a lead. We looked far too conservative in our attack during most of the match and I get the feeling we were relying too much on referee Craig Joubert to give us penalties within kicking range, which Mike Harris took full advantage of. You can't defend a lead against such quality opposition; you have to keep looking for try scoring opportunities. Tries in tight matches likes last night can have such a massive effect on both teams mentality.    
3. Don't rely on penalties:
We scored all of our points off the back of All Blacks infringements in the first 60 minutes. By this stage, the AB's had finally sorted out their discipline. We had 29 phases in the last 3 minutes all within field goal range and at no stage did we look to set up for a field goal. It seemed we were expecting a Penalty from Joubert. The penalty came eventually, but it was correctly awarded to the All Blacks.
4. Difference in decisions:
I wonder what the Wallabies would have done if we were awarded a penalty 80 meters out at full time with the scores locked at 18 all? The AB's decision to take the scrum and get themselves 70 meters up the field giving themselves a chance for victory was one to be admired and they very nearly pulled it off. 
5. Our game needs some changes:
It may sound like I'm being overly critical of the Wallabies, and maybe I am, but it is the game itself that I am frustrated with at the moment. 
The Wallabies have done well in many areas during this year’s Castrol EDGE Rugby Championship, especially when you see the injuries they have had to deal with. 
It is however disappointing to see a game where the two best sides in the world play 80 minutes of Rugby and not a single try is scored. Some may argue that team’s defences nowadays are so strong, and I agree somewhat to that, but I feel something needs to be addressed for our game to survive in the market place in Australia. 
The All Blacks made several line breaks and had far more try scoring opportunities than us, we scrambled very well but inevitably, we conceded penalties immediately after almost every AB's line break. It's too easy to concede three points rather than five or possibly seven. Referees aren't to blame either because they can only do so much. They have to adjudicate to the laws in place. 
A game that was essentially a dead rubber deserved more than just 12 penalty goals (six for each team) in 80 minutes. 
We compete against Rugby League, AFL and the fast growing A League. Players will always manipulate the laws that best suit their desired outcome so it is therefore up to the IRB to make some decisions that suit the growing frustrations of Rugby supporters