Tue, Nov 14, 2006 - Page 18 News List

Australian press slam Wallabies' Test performance

AFP , SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA

Australia's first away win for a year has been panned as horrible, miserable and disappointing as the Wallabies broke through for their first success on the their European rugby tour against Italy.

The Wallabies bumbled to a 25-18 win over the Italians in Rome on Saturday and the Australian newspapers yesterday joined coach John Connolly in slamming the team's performance.

That the Wallabies weren't even assured of victory in the final minutes was a strong indicator that the tourists are a long way off from being a 2007 World Cup threat, media said.

"What an infuriating performance. For long stretches of play it was just dreadful," the Sydney Morning Herald said.

"You were almost expecting Wallabies' coach John Connolly to take his leave from the main grandstand, where as the game went on he became more and more beetroot-red as he tried to comprehend what his players were up to, and head to the Vatican for a private prayer session," the Herald said.

"Australia got away with it somehow, but they weren't convincing. For most of the game they played abominable, aimless football," it continued.

The Herald said in the end it was Australia's good defense, with Italy never a chance of scoring a try, and several moments of individual excellence that won it for the Wallabies.

The Daily Telegraph said Connolly criticized his players' extraordinary error count, poor kicking, tactical naivety, the indiscipline which handed Italy eight attempts at penalty goal, and even suggested complacency.

"The Wallabies scored three tries and Italy never looked likely to accumulate points other than through the boot of fly-half Ramiro Pez," the newspaper said.

"But the Wallabies rarely found rhythm or composure. They battled for ascendancy up front, apart from at the lineout where they did excel, then attempted to shift the ball wide from a static platform. It was sitting duck stuff," it said.

The Australian newspaper said the Wallabies regressed after their 29-29 draw with Wales in Cardiff the previous weekend.

"For all Connolly's warnings about complacency ... there was none of the razor sharpness they displayed at times a week earlier against Wales," the Australian said.

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