Wallabies need more of Kurtley's killer instinct

The Rugby Championship
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

A ‘neutral’ Michael Cheika says the Wallabies need only look at Kurtley Beale to know the killer instinct they need to bring to turn close losses into wins.

The Wallabies were out to a 10-point lead after a Tatafu Polota-Nau rolling maul try before the Springboks reeled them in with a successful maul of their own and a penalty goal.

It’s the second match in a row where the Wallabies have squandered a lead, going down by six points to the All Blacks a fortnight ago, and makes their record since the World Cup final, just eight from 21 Tests.

Cheika, who said the result left him feeling neutral said the rest of the team could learn something off a devastated Beale, who was Australia’s best again, in just his third match back in action after returning from England.

“Forr a guy who hasn't played footy since the end of May, he's just came in, played three or four games of footy and killed it, has carved it up and he's bitterly disappointed in that dressing room right now,” he said.

“He's a guy who - we all need to just have that same attitude around wanting it a lot and staying at it.

“We've seen in this campaign, bar that first half against New Zealand (in Sydney) that that attitude's definitely there and it's about just concentrating on - don't worry about the outcome part - just get sorted with what we're doing in every moment of the game and we'll finish some of these opportunities that we're creating off.”

Cheika conceded the Wallabies may have gotten ahead of themselves when they held that lead, with momentum on their side, a luxury they simply can’t afford.

“If you look at the score it was 20-10, you don't have to score any more points, it's the opposition who has to score at that point so you've just got to keep doing what you're doing,” he said.

“That will lead to other scores as well you'd imagine, but it's just about staying in that.

“That takes that little bit of extra maturity that this team needs to accrue as they get the experience together.”

Captain Michael Hooper dismissed the suggestion the Wallabies were ‘gutsy’ in avoiding a loss, more frustrated they couldn’t lay the killer blow.

“I don't think it's a gutsy performance, I think that suggests that we're just hanging in there,” he said.

“I think guys, we're genuinely getting better.

“It's not gutsy, we're just starting to do things more to how we want to  do them.

“Unfortunately there tonight, we slipped away from those moments and started thinking about outcome rather than sticking to those throughout the game and probably around that 20-10 mark didn't just put the foot on the throat.”

Sean McMahon was the only injury concern for the Wallabies, with a corked thigh forcing him off the field, while hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau suffered a poke to the eye in a clash.

Former skipper Stephen Moore will re-join the squad in Canberra this week, ahead of their Test against Argentina, a team that will test them in the areas that hurt the Wallabies on Saturday.

The Pumas pushed the All Blacks for three-quarters of their Test in New Zealand earlier on in the day, before being overrun by the Kiwis.

“They have a habit of doing that when they go over to New Zealand,” he said.

“It's always a good match, Australia-Argentina over this percent past in particular.

“It’s been open and there's been a fair bit of footy played, so we're looking forward to taking another step and getting down to Canberra and getting stuck into that match.”