Coleman "not proud" of Sydney Bledisloe bungle

The Rugby Championship
by Sam Phillips

A third-straight Sydney Bledisloe Cup bungle was a performance the Wallabies were "not proud of", according to star lock Adam Coleman.

The 38-13 loss was tough viewing in the second half - a 6-5 half time lead quickly turning into another All Blacks rout as the Wallabies' set piece crumbled in front of their eyes.

Having set up camp on Waiheke Island - a 30-minute ferry ride from Auckland's CBD - the Wallabies now have an Everest-sized mountain to climb if they are to snatch the Bledisloe back from the Kiwis.

Australia haven't beaten New Zealand at the Eden Park since 1986 and the All Blacks are undefeated through their last 41 starts at the ground.

If that number ticks over to 42 on Saturday the Bledisloe will stay across the ditch for another year.

Rather than being daunted by the task ahead of them Coleman said the grim history would be a motivating factor for the team.

"I have a lot of confidence in our boys," he said.

"What a challenge - to come to Eden Park and respond - I think it's a great challenge and great motivation for the squad.
Kurtley Beale and the Wallabies have to snap a 32 year drought at Eden Park to stay in the hunt for the Bledisloe. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley"I don't think they need motivation but it's a good challenge."

Coleman dismissed any notion the Australians would benefit from playing the All Blacks later in the Rugby Championship - when they have really hit top gear in recent years - with the team eager to reverse another Sydney performance packed with moments they would rather forget.

"I think it's a good opportunity to respond," he said.

"We got beat but I look at it as a positive that we get to play them again and turn around a performance that we're not really proud of, to be honest.

"We let down people on our home turf and it hurts.

"It's something we're not proud of but I think there is a great opportunity on Saturday to turn it around."

If they are to respond two facets of their game must be hastily addressed.

First things first - set piece.

Lineouts - and the turnovers that came from them - were Australia's achilles heel in Sydney. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyColeman was calling the shots at lineout time and the Australians lost seven of their own throws on Saturday - killing any and all attacking momentum at critical junctures.

"They mixed things up in that area," Coleman said.

"They had a shift/peel play when they first came into the attacking 22 and really changed the picture.

"Defensively I think our boys had made improvement in that area but it's just disappointing from our attack perspective.

"We were really turning (the ball) over and relieving pressure which, in turn, didn't give our team the opportunity to attack."

The turnovers from both set piece and general play were the killer blow, according to Wallabies back Dane Haylett-Petty.

"When you look at the structured and unstructured defence we were actually really good, but we got killed on turnovers," he said.Dane Haylett-Petty is confident the Wallabies are good enough to break the Eden Park hoodoo. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley"Four or five tries. It was the main area of the game where we let ourselves down.

"Against other teams they're probably not going to capitalise on all those opportunities but the All Blacks definitely do and we can't afford to open the door and give them those opportunities."

Fix those key areas and the result may have been different on Saturday but for now all eyes are on Eden Park.

"We know we're good enough, we were good enough for 39 minutes in the game and we've got to be able to do it for 80 minutes," Haylett-Petty said.

"It's going to take a very good performance but we've got a very good team, a lot of quality, experienced players and very good coaches.

"If we stick to what we do well, we'll do well."

The Wallabies face the All Blacks at Eden Park on Saturday, kicking off at 5:30pm AEST, 7:30pm local, broadcast live on Channel Ten and Fox Sports.