Neither Australia flank Rocky Elsom nor flyhalf Matt Gireau could pinpoint what the source of their current struggles are.
The Wallabies have yet to win a match in the Tri-Nations and despite their coach Robbie Deans’ assertion that they’re progressing weekly, have looked a ragged bunch at times.
They’ve blown leads against New Zealand and haven’t been in the contest against the Springboks. Elsom blamed their high error rate.
‘That was more disappointing [than the All Blacks loss], as we created more problems for ourselves. It wasn’t great,’ Elsom told rugbyheaven.com.au, referring to their defeat against the Springboks in Perth on Saturday. ‘It’s hard to say what is causing this, but the error rate sees you not finding yourself in a good position right from the start. The Springboks are a very good side, but we can’t give them a leg up.
‘Errors accumulate. If we can cut out those errors, things will be so much better. And then it wouldn’t have mattered if we were 20 points down. We would have been in the game a bit earlier, and it would have been a genuine game, rather than a race against the clock.
‘The only thing that really matters now is if you win. We’re not the type of team which is climbing from eighth in the world, trying to get up to the top tier. If you don’t win, well …’
Giteau blamed the inability to front mentally.
‘Mentally we have to learn how to stay the distance, and we’re not at the moment. That has to be an individual thing, where we really have to own our individual state of mind. We have to stay committed to that. It’s as simple as that.’
The Wallabies last lost four Tri-Nations Tests in a row in 2005, but Elsom stressed that they were in a very different place now.
‘It doesn’t feel like 2005,’ he said. ‘We had some pretty big problems then, which helped us get into that big hole. We don’t have those same problems now.
‘In 2005, everyone tried really hard, and it wasn’t as if anyone gave up at any stage. But we had some big problems within the unit that probably accelerated our downfall then.’