The statistics might not provide a positive reflection of the 2016 Wallabies, but skipper Stephen Moore says he is full of pride for this year’s crop as they head home.
A six-nine win-loss record from 15 Tests gave Australia its second-lowest winning percentage since 2005 but Moore said his side’s unwavering faith through the year was an indication of the team's character, in a season that has offered up a rollercoaster of emotions.
“I think one thing that’s been evident through the year is that the team’s stuck solid and everyone’s kept working hard and kept trying to improve - that’s players, staff, coaches, everyone,” he said.
“I’m really proud of the team, the way they’ve done that. It hasn’t always been easy but the team’s stuck really solid and hasn’t fractured under a fair bit of pressure.
“As a leader I’m very proud of the fact that my teammates have done that, kept working hard and when it doesn’t go your way then sometimes you can easily fracture and fall apart but the team’s stuck really solid.
“That’s a positive sign to carry forward.”
Moore said the next step for the team, that he felt had progressed from the side whitewashed by England in June and added 13 Test debutants along the way, was ensuring they don’t lose the harsh lessons of this season when they return to their Super Rugby franchises.
“[We] probably played more how we wanted to at the end of the year than we did at the start but in saying that, we wanted to win every game so their results that haven’t gone our way are disappointing,” he said.
“We’re not happy about that so we want to go away and become better and that starts with Super Rugby, going back to our Super Rugby teams, working on the things we need to right from the start of the year and that’s something Cheik’s already emphasised post-game."
Winger Dane Haylett-Petty is one who has grown with the Wallabies this season, after making his debut in June, and said they simply needed to turn glimpses of promise into full-blown 80-minute outings.
“I think we've come so far, I don't know if the scoreboard reflected it, (but) I think we really put them under pressure and had we executed early on, it might have been a totally different game,” he said.
“I suppose throughout this year we've put together part really good performances, really good halves, but rarely put together 80 minutes.
“I think if you want to be the best team in the world, you've got to start putting together 80 minute performances.” - Dane Haylett-Petty
The Wallabies fly back to Australia on Sunday, with their next Test in Melbourne next June against Fiji.