'That was massive': Dave Rennie praises Wallabies after narrow Wales defeat

Sun, Nov 21, 2021, 5:19 AM
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
Wallabies coach Dave Rennie and captain James Slipper spoke after their match against Wales.

Wallabies coach Dave Rennie has praised his side after their narrow one-point defeat to Wales, believing they deserved better.

The visitors succumbed to their third straight defeat after an 82nd-minute penalty gave the Welsh a 29-28 victory.

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The last-gasp penalty was heartbreaking for players and fans alike, with the side showing incredible fight after Rob Valetini was sent off inside 15 minutes.

They found themselves defending with 13 shortly afterwards after Kurtley Beale was yellow-carded for a deliberate knockdown.

Despite that, they managed to take the lead with 90 seconds to go via a late Beale penalty before Wales pulled off victory well after the siren.

Whilst Rennie had plenty of questions for the referees and TMO after the match, he couldn't fault the effort of his side to hang in and nearly pull off an all-time victory.

“I’m incredibly proud of the effort, that was massive,” Rennie said after the match.

“We said we were going to empty out the tank for each other and when you’re one, two players short, you’ve got to do that. (We showed) heaps of character.

“We got put under the blowtorch and I thought the boys responded really well. So I’m really proud of the guys but I feel they deserved better.”

The sentiment was shared by new captain James Slipper, who was proud of their fight whilst lamenting the incidents which saw them short-handed for the majority of the match.

“We started really well but we put ourselves under a lot of pressure,” Slipper remarked.

“We lost Bobby 15 minutes into the game so we played the majority of the game down a man and then we lost Kurtley. Those moments really hurt us and put us under pressure.

“To be in the game at the end I was extremely proud. The disappointing thing was we could’ve easily won that one. Some of the calls I’m still a little bit shocked but the results done now.”

Coming back from a man down isn't unfamiliar to the Wallabies side, having pulled a similar feat against France in July when Marika Koroibete was marched from the field inside five minutes.

Whilst the result wasn't the same, Rennie believes it shows the improvements and character of the group as they look to take positives from the winless tour.

"We'll reflect back on three games (on the Spring Tour) that were winnable so it's frustrating," he added. "We’ve learned a lot. I think what we’ve highlighted, hopefully to everyone back at home, is a huge amount of courage and character in this group and you saw that again tonight.

“We beat a French team with 14 players (playing) for 75 minutes. We’ve got a group of men who are prepared to fight for each other. We weren’t accurate enough in the first couple of weeks and finished second.

"We’ll take learnings out of this bit obviously very disappointed not to get to win on tour but we'll be better for it.”