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Qantas Wallabies Head Coach Ewen McKenzie, although disappointed by the 18-point loss to the All Blacks in the first Bledisloe Cup Test of the year in Sydney on Saturday night, saw some promising signs for his young team.
Five Brumbies players – flyhalf Matt Toomua, prop Scott Sio, lock Scott Fardy, centre Tevita Kuridrani and scrumhalf Nic White – all made their Test debuts on the night and will be much better for the experience of facing up to the world’s No.1 team.
McKenzie said the chief concern for the Wallabies would be working on their ball security.
"Every time you lose a game it is disappointing”, said McKenzie, “We were level pegging there for some time in the game, but you have to respect possession."
"We had possession there at times where we did some good things. We made a bunch of line breaks but we didn't treasure the ball enough.”
"They were very good on counter attack. We knew that before the game. They score a lot of their points from turn overs and it was one of the things we did discuss – controlling the ball, and not giving them loose to play with.”
"We didn't control the ball and they were able to do some of the things they are good at. And you pay a price for that.”
However McKenzie remained buoyant that the Wallabies can turn it around when the two teams meet in the second Bledisloe Cup Test in Wellington next Saturday.
"In among it there were some pieces that we did like, and there are areas we can certainly improve ... no question about that” he continued.
"But we got some good width in our game and some of the interplay we worked on wasn't bad.
"The lineout was good. The scrum was a bit of a lottery for both teams. It was a bit of mixed bag there."
All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen also acknowledged the Wallabies attacking performance and said that both teams “played good Rugby” in what was an entertaining spectacle for the crowd of 68,675.
“I thought the game was something that the fans walk away with and say they enjoyed”, he said.
“Possibly not so much the Australians with the score but if you take the score out of it, it was a pretty good game of Rugby.”
He also saw some danger signs for his team going into next week.
"They did hold on to the ball for long periods of the game," he said. "We had to defend. We did tackle well. We didn't miss too many and we scrambled well. They broke us a couple of times.”
Hansen also conceded the victory margin could have been tighter.
"On another night they might have scored tries, but tonight we scrambled well. They have a real strong will to play for each other. That was the difference really ... we scrambled really well."