Drawing out an inner killer instinct could be the thing that opens the Wallabies’ try-scoring floodgates after a lean Rugby Championship campaign, according to recalled flyhalf Bernard Foley.
Australia has scored just 10 tries in this Rugby Championship despite having a host of renowned finishers in their squad and a strong share of territory and possession.
That number puts at the bottom of the tournament, behind New Zealand (29), South Africa (18) and Argentina (10).
To put that in context, the Wallabies finished last year’s tournament with 25 tries, second only to the Kiwis’ 35.
Australia were frustratingly close to the line for sustained periods against the Springboks but couldn’t come away with points, even after a yellow card to South African winger Aphiwe Dyantyi.
Foley said ensuring they take their chances had been a focal point of conversation in the lead-up to the Salta Test.
“We're working extremely hard, getting down in the right parts of the field, especially in that last game, it’s just having that killer instinct to try and finish our tries and finish them early in the set, rather than grinding and grinding,” he said.
“We've got some amazing finishers so we've got to give them opportunities to try and score those tries early on, when we initially make the break.
“When we can convert straight away, the whole team has a different feel, probably got a bit more energy and the ability to attack a bit further.”
The sense of post-match disappointment that comes from missing their moments is not foreign for the Wallabies and Foley said the pain of their last clash against the Pumas, a loss on the Gold Coast, sat in the back of their minds heading to Salta.
“I think we saw an improvement last game and that would’ve been from the hurt that we felt in that change room,” he said.
“It was a pretty dire experience and something we don’t want to feel again.
“As a squad, we spoke about it at the time. To be honest, it’s probably been all too familiar that feeling.
“Change has been coming but we want to recognise that now. We don’t want to feel like that, so a bit of extra motivation for the guys to come out here and finish this Rugby Championship on a high.”
Foley is returning to the starting side for the first time in a month, with Matt Toomua back on the bench, and said his temporary was an adjustment he had to try and make the most of.
“It’s tough personally but for me I think it’s all about the team,” he said.
“It’s about wanting this team to win and trying to contribute however I can and taking a back seat or becoming a finisher was different and you have to adjust to a different role amongst the team.
“You’ve still got to try and be vocal and be that presence you once were but you’ve just got a different role.
“It was tough and something to get used to after starting for so long.
“My focus changed straight away to preparing the rest of the guys to make sure Pup (Toomua) and Kurtley did well and the team was successful.
“That’s what we’re trying to build at the Wallabies.”
The Wallabies face the Pumas in Salta on Saturday October 6, kicking off at 7:40pm local, Sunday 9:40am AEDT, LIVE on FOX SPORTS and Channel Ten.