Skipper Stephen Moore has hailed the character of the Wallabies after they emerged from a fortnight of fierce criticism with a morale-boosting win over the Springboks.
Australia won 23-17 in Saturday night’s Test against South Africa at Suncorp Stadium to snap a six-match winless run.
It was a long way from the finished article but a buoyant, sometimes gritty performance they will hope to build the remainder of their Rugby Championship campaign around.
“There’s been plenty of people outside the group giving their two bob on everything,” Moore said.
“I’m just really proud the way that everyone’s hung tight and worked hard and kept preparing as best they possibly can.
“The way we’ve stuck at it throughout the campaign is probably the most pleasing thing, when it’s been tough.”
The Wallabies were 14-3 down at one stage in the first half but recovered through tries to rookie lock Adam Coleman and inside centre Bernard Foley, who also slotted five penalties.
Moore said the intense scrutiny of his own form had not bothered him in the lead-up to the match, which came on the back of two limp Bledisloe Cup defeats to New Zealand.
“I think it’s part of the game, isn’t it? Particularly in a leadership role, coach and captain, you’re open to that and that’s fine,” he said.
“Everyone has their opinion. I’ve got no issue with that at all.”
The only sour note was a possible knee injury to reserve prop Allan Alaalatoa, who was seen leaving the stadium in a knee brace and will have further scans on Sunday.
Alaalatoa helped swing the match Australia’s way when he came on in the second half, at one stage even squaring up to giant Springboks lock Eben Eztebeth in an off-the-ball scuffle.
Team officials are confident it’s not a major setback for the youngster, who was making his third Test appearance.
The Wallabies take on Argentina in Perth on Saturday in the Rugby Championship’s fourth round.