Near enough for a rebuilding Wallabies side is still not good enough for vice-captain Michael Hooper, who has bemoaned their inconsistency after letting a golden chance slip in South Africa.
Australia will look to right the wrongs of their Rugby Championship defeat to the Springboks when they face Argentina at Twickenham Stadium in London next weekend.
The Wallabies largely dominated proceedings at Loftus Versfeld but failed to make it count on the scoreboard and fell to an 18-10 defeat – essentially the reverse of what happened when they took on Los Pumas in Perth last month, when they were starved of possession but still ran in five tries.
“It flips around the other way this week. It’s frustrating we can’t get consistency,” Hooper said.
“We do some amazing play to get down there and then just simple stuff, right at the death to bring us undone.
“It’s almost like we were too keen to get on the line – so keen to score the try for the team and do the right thing that we’re anxious about just really playing to our full potential.
“It’s probably the position we’re in from the results we’ve had this year, just the little percentage off, or knowing exactly what we need to do and completing it.
“You’ve got to take your linebreaks, because in Test rugby they’re hard to come by.”
The Wallabies left Johannesburg on Sunday night (Monday morning AEST) bound for London, where Argentina has agreed to stage their ‘home’ fixture in what will be the first time a Rugby Championship game will be played outside of SANZAAR’s four core territories.
They’ll stay in the same hotel as they did during last year’s World Cup and Hooper said they had “fond memories” of Twickenham, where they won four matches, including the semi-final against Argentina.
“It’s going to be weird being back there, first of all, and weird being a bit of a flashback but we’ve got to move forward, and move forward quick,” Hooper said.
Coach Michael Cheika will be forced into making at least one change, with Sean McMahon returning home for more treatment and scans on his injured ankle.
In contention to replace him at No.8 are Lopeti Timani, who is already in the squad, and Leroy Houston, who isn’t, but is already in England, playing on loan from the Queensland Reds for Bath.