Wallabies need to stop expecting, start winning

The Rugby Championship
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Wallabies desperately need a Rugby Championship win, but attack coach Stephen Larkham says the only way to do that is to stop thinking about winning.

Larkham said their preoccupation with a final result may have contributed to their undoing a 35-29 loss to New Zealand and their 23-23 draw with South Africa last week.

“We’d spoken about the last couple of games where we probably had an opportunity to win them and didn’t and maybe some guys were thinking about outcomes in the final few minutes of the game,” he said.

“We want to make sure that thought process is not in the players’ minds at all, so in our preparation leading into this game, it’s certainly not about the outcome it’s about the way we prepare and play on the day."

Larkham said the team was aware of public perception around its performance, with a 2-1-4 start to the season and that South Africa draw their best result in the Rugby Championship so far.

“We’re aware that we’re responsible for rugby in Australia in general to make sure we’re getting results but the best way to do that is not to think about the outcome but more the preparation and your performance in the moment,” he said.

“We’re not going to shy away from that, we’re going to try and play the game that we want to play and it’s a very entertaining game.”

Larkham said he was proud of the way the Wallabies had progressed in 2017, despite their results.

“If you look at the two Bledisloes, which was our really big build-up games this year, there was probably 25 minutes there where everything went New Zealand’s way and they scored four or five tries and the game got away from us,” he said.

“Apart from that over two games, the attitude, the grit, the determination that the boys have shown, we have definitely be proud of.

“We probably saw patches of that against South Africa, we’ve certainly seen it in training.

“The belief within the group and the attitude within the group has been tremendous through training and I think that’s something that people will notice when they come out and watch.”

Kurtley Beale has been influential since returning from the UK, and Larkham said they couldn’t be more pleased with his efforts.

“He adds a very important link in our game, Bernard (Foley) and Willy (Genia) are controlling everything in tight and KB’s the man who calls for the ball when it’s on out wide,” he said.

“I think the guys outside the inside backs are now appreciating the fact there’s a distributor there, someone with really good vision but also some attacking flair so he’s created a lot of opportunities on his own.

“We couldn’t be happier with the way that he’s performed so far.”

The Wallabies take on Argentina on Saturday night, kicking off at 8pm AEST LIVE on FOX SPORTS, Network Ten, Win and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO.