Amid the celebrations in the Wallabies’ Mendoza change-room following their big Rugby Championship win over Argentina, halfback Nick Phipps said he took a moment to reflect.
The same game in Mendoza last year was one of the low points in Australian rugby history.
They lost to the Pumas for the first time since 1997 and the team was fractured after a text messaging scandal involving Kurtley Beale, which led to the demise of their coach Ewen McKenzie.
Fast-forward and not only did they steam-roll Argentina but the team is united under new coach Michael Cheika and the self-belief is back.
“I was just sitting in there thinking about how different it is,” Phipps said.
“It’s obviously been a tough 12 months, but it’s great were heading in the right direction.
“We started at the very base with a never give up attitude. The boys are really around each other. It’s a great mood at the moment.”
The Wallabies hope the win, particularly with it coming at the same venue, can finally close the book on the scandal that also involved then-team business manager Di Patston.
“It is really satisfying to put that behind us – a new squad, new team, new coaching staff – we’re all really happy to put that behind us,” Phipps said.
“Now we can move on.
When Cheik took control we closed the door then, but obviously it was going to be hanging around but it’s well and truly behind us now.”
The Wallabies’ next focus is beating New Zealand to win their first Rugby Championship silverware since 2011.
After so long, Phipps said the side was hungry for success.
But he said it would take more than spirit and self-belief to knock off the All Blacks, who are also unbeaten after accounting for South Africa.
“We won’t get too ahead of ourselves; they’re top of the world for a reason,” he said.
“I don’t think they played to their full potential against South Africa, so they’ve got another level to go up again.
“Playing-wise, we’ve still got a lot of work to do.”