Michael Hooper has implored his teammates to stop shooting themselves in the foot as they attempt to end England’s 13-Test winning streak.
The Wallabies had their grand slam plans rocked by Ireland on Saturday – and largely had themselves to blame as they forced passes and bombed tries.
Reflecting on an up-and-down season, which opened with five straight losses to England and New Zealand but has finished with a mostly successful Spring Tour, Hooper said that Australia was the equal of anyone when they played to their potential.
“I’ve been really proud of how we’ve taken to different teams this year,” Hooper said.
“We’ve had those ups and downs, and consistency has been lacking, but what’s been the wrap up of the year is that when we do our stuff really well we can beat any team in the world.
“It’s just about doing it more often and sticking to that sort of stuff.”
While coach Michael Cheika fumed at a 13-3 penalty count, the Wallabies were also their own worst enemies against Ireland.
Two tries on the left-hand side of the field were bombed – firstly when David Pocock’s tip-on pass to Henry Speight floated forward, and later when the outstanding Israel Folau ignored a two-man overlap to step inside and take a tackle.
They’re the sort of errors which will need to be eradicated for Australia to trouble England at Twickenham on Saturday.
Certainly, the Wallabies have Cheika’s blessing to playing attacking footy – but he says the young players especially need to be more selective when it comes to pushing the final pass.
“We’ve got some clear technical ideas about when offloads are on and when they’re not,” Cheika said.
“Some of those that went to ground applied to our technical rules and some didn’t. We’ve got to get rid of that (inconsistency).
“It’s just about young guys trying to work out when it’s on and when it’s not on in the heat of the moment.
“If you’ve been under the pump for 15-20 minutes, you get an opportunity… let’s score? No, let’s keep it for another few phases and we’ll get over eventually anyway.”