After an error-ridden performance against the Argentina Pumas on the Gold Coast last weekend the Wallabies have sunk to their lowest ever world ranking – 7th. Australia were unable to turn their advantages (the scrum and Israel Folau’s running game) into game changers, while their numerous mistakes were pounced upon by the Argentine side.
The Australians did have the opportunity to snatch a victory in the final seconds of the match, but Folau decided to run himself (which he had been doing successfully all night, including a scintillating run that broke 5 tackles on the way to a try) and ignored the opportunity to put Bernard Foley over in the corner untouched. This play represents a failure on the part of the Wallabies set up, given the attacking fluency that Folau and Foley have enjoyed all year at the Waratahs.
The Wallabies and coach Michael Cheika have been racked over the coals in the days since the clash, which saw an Australian side full of heart but with extremely poor execution. In defence the side made a number of bone crunching hits, but also missed a quarter of the total number of tackles attempted.
Similarly, in attack the Wallabies looked like world beaters when they could string some passes together, but a huge number of errors ruined most of their efforts.The Pumas were similarly full of heart, and in the end their superior accuracy earned them their first win in Australia in 35 years in a scrappy game.
Australia are now ranked 7th on the World Rugby rankings – the Wallabies worst ever ranking. They are also outright last on the Rugby Championship ladder after the Springboks upset the All Blacks a few hours earlier than the Gold Coast debacle. The loss increased pressure on coach Michael Cheika a year out from the next Rugby World Cup, with his security stemming from a lack of money from Rugby Australia to pay out his contract and a dearth of suitable replacements.