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Awful Wallabies searching for solutions
By Jim Morton
15:42 AEST Sun Sep 8 2013

Winless coach Ewen McKenzie will place every facet of the Wallabies' play and culture under the microscope to avert an Australian rugby crisis.

McKenzie has declared he'll leave no stone unturned in finding solutions to a worrying four-match losing streak and inability to grab the sporting public with an innovative and attractive game.

The Wallabies have won just one of their six Tests this season and slumped to their worst streak in four years with Saturday night's record 38-12 rout by South Africa at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium.

They must regroup and muscle up quickly on Saturday night against Argentina in Perth to avoid a fifth straight loss - a run not seen since Eddie Jones' ill-fated last year in charge in 2005 - and likely the Rugby Championship wooden spoon.

McKenzie's injury-hit pack was overpowered by the Springboks at the breakdown and scrum, and his highly-touted backline failed to deliver the flair or precision expected.

The Boks' backs, instead, showed the skill required in the big moments to break their Suncorp Stadium duck in style with the record four-try away win.

Former captain Michael Lynagh despaired so much at what he saw that he lamented the Wallabies lacked any kind of promise and were "getting worse".

"We didn't look like scoring, our defence was very poor - something that has been a factor for the last few games - our scrum has gone backwards, our attack is too predictable and there were many handling errors," Lynagh told British Sky Sports.

"Australia are in a huge hole and I think that is because they have got too comfortable."

The Wallabies scored just 15 tries from 15 Tests last year and haven't improved in 2013 with seven from six, contributing to a noticeable drop in crowd numbers.

Hailed as a saviour to the under-pressure code following the axing of Robbie Deans after the British and Irish Lions series loss, McKenzie admitted he may need to shelve or simplify his up-tempo attacking plans.

But the former Queensland Reds mentor said there would be no soft options, nor a quick fix.

He felt errors in judgement rather than skill undermined a game plan proving to be too high-risk for his under-strength side against the likes of the All Blacks and Boks.

"I'm confident about (developing our game) but we're too far away from where we need to be at the moment," he said.

"We need to turn stones over everywhere because it's not as though we're losing by one point.

"There will be some big decisions in there along the way, some big calls, because I'm the first to say if you're not getting the outcomes you need to change something."

Most worrying was how the Wallabies, trailing 19-12, capitulated midway through the second half where the Boks produced a three-try blitz in eight minutes.

McKenzie feared it had become a trend following the 47-29 and 27-16 losses to New Zealand and said plenty of work was needed off the field to improve the culture.

"We have to tough those moments out too," he said.

"This is not just an exercise in playing footy. It's an exercise in teamwork and being a team day-in, day-out."


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