Wallabies coach Dave Rennie was left bemused by his charges’ decision to not go for a drop goal in stoppage time of their enthralling 16-16 Bledisloe Test draw with the All Blacks on Sunday.
In an extraordinary finish to the Test in Wellington, Wallabies utility back Reece Hodge had the chance to win the match for the visitors in the 83rd minute, but his well-struck 55m kick from an angle hit the right-hand upright and bounced back into play.
Australia regathered possession and went in search of a match-winning try instead of setting up a drop goal attempt right in front of the post. The ball was turned over, allowing New Zealand to try and win the game at the other end, also without attempting a drop goal.
Despite the match going into nine minutes of stoppage time, the sides ultimately had to share the points as they had to settle for the stalemate.
But Rennie was none too pleased with his players’ decision-making at the death, when they opted against a drop goal as they went in search of a match-winning try instead.
‘We practised it [drop goals] during the week,’ Rennie fumed. ‘James O’Connor dropped back, but I’m not sure what happened there around communication but we ended up going a bit wider and turned it over; we had our chances, but it was opportunity lost obviously,’ he added during his post-match press conference.
‘We’re disappointed. We’re certainly not celebrating in the change rooms.’
The new Wallabies says that while he thought his team ‘played with a lot of courage’, they still lacked the precision required to win Tests against the All Blacks and are far off the mark from where he wants them to be.
‘We found a lot of space in behind them, we had a lot of ball but the quality of our cleanout just wasn’t good enough and it’s area we need to be better next week. We gave away 14 penalties and a big chunk of those were post-tackle,’ he explained.
‘We’re miles away from where we need to be, we let ourselves down,’ he explained.
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