Basic errors cost the Wallabies dearly against England, with coach Michael Cheika lamenting their mistakes after a Jekyll and Hyde showing at Twickenham on Saturday.
Following their loss to Ireland, Cheika said his team needed to be "40 minutes better" for England after a stuttery start in Dublin, but in London events were reversed with Australia’s ominous beginning.
Two disallowed tries to Sekope Kepu and Tevita Kuridrani left them rueing their chances, while England pounced on some Wallabies’ errors, something that became more prevalent in the second half
“First half all told, all they got was the drop ball and toe through for the try. We had a lot of good continuity,” Cheika said.
“In the second, they were always going to get a run of momentum, and in the moments we had to try and break that, (but) we made errors." - Michael Cheika
“We might have had a penalty against us and then back that up, and when we saved that situation we would knock-on and make back-to-back errors."
A 72nd minute yellow card to Dane Haylett-Petty for a hit on England fullback Mike Brown ended the winger’s night in somewhat controversial circumstances, snuffing out Australia’s chances of a late comeback.
Haylett-Petty’s frustration showed at the time, shaking his head at the replay as the TMO reviewed the contact before Jaco Peyper showed him the yellow.
“I don't know what I can say. Obviously (it was) a bit disappointing, we were still chasing the game. I felt like probably a penalty, bit rough,” he said after the match
“Yeah, I was definitely disappointed about everything but I don't know [what to say about that]."
Cheika said the Wallabies didn’t adapt well enough to Haylett-Petty’s loss, with an intercept pass that handed England their final try evidence of mistakes that littered Australia's performance.
“If you watch anything in slow motion enough it’s going to look late.” - Michael Cheika
“Did it hurt us? That move in itself, but before that it wasn’t match turning. It’s always hard playing with 14 so it is what it is.
“The intercept, we played a play that requires a blind winger to hold someone in defence, and he had been sent off, so we shouldn’t be calling that play.
“It allows the outside back to come up and make the intercept because he hasn’t got a man on the inside to defend.
“Little things like that, where we needed to make good decisions to make sure we got back on the front foot.”
Australia was also hurt by a missed forward pass in the lead up to England’s momentum-breaking second half try to Marland Yarde, but Cheika said no whistleblowing determined the game.
“There were obviously a few decision that we wouldn’t have agreed with, but in the overall context of the game we needed to work out how we were going to break their momentum in the second half,” he said.
“They play a relatively conservative style (of rugby) to put you under pressure and we know that.
“And we did that giving away a couple of tries off a dropped ball and a quick tap, (where we) turned our backs which is unforgivable.
“Even with a few decisions like that, we had opportunities to break the momentum but we made errors and it cost us.”