The Wallabies didn’t lose any supporters with their performance against France, but their inability to win the big moments once again came back to bite Dave Rennie’s side.
A week ago the Wallabies were saved by a missed penalty shot from Scotland’s Blair Kinghorn at the death at Murrayfield.
In Paris, the Wallabies weren’t so fortunate as Damian Penaud scored a stunning try to break the hearts of Rennie’s side as France claimed a dramatic 30-29 victory.
Here are our talking points from the one-point defeat.
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PERFORMANCE SHOWS WHY WALLABIES CAN’T BE WRITTEN OFF AT WORLD CUP
Sunday’s defeat once again showcased the best and worst of the Wallabies.
Their foundations – scrum and lineout – were both solid. No international side can win consistently without a strong tight-five.
But their breakdown work, particularly with ball-in-hand, continues to halt their progress.
When you lose possession, or have your ball slowed down as much as the Wallabies do, it stifles attack and is the biggest reason for their inconsistency.
This isn’t just the responsibility of the openside flanker.
While the openside flanker often gets on the ball in defence, in attack it’s a team issue and the lack of cohesion throughout the squad is hurting the Wallabies.
What Sunday’s defeat once again reinforced, however, is that they can match it with any nation in world rugby.
The key is consistency, which is something that has dogged the Wallabies for years.
REDS FULLBACK SHOWS HE CAN MAKE IT IN TEST RUGBY
Jock Campbell didn’t try to hide behind the game’s defining moment, which was his missed tackle on Penaud.
Campbell has never been a great defender out wide, which is in part why he has struggled as a winger.
But the 27-year-old was competent in his first Test start and did not look out of place under the bright lights at the Stade de France.
He was safe under the high ball and generally got the balance right between kicking and running, which is an under-rated area of Campbell’s game.
He showed that when he took advantage of Bernard Foley’s cut out pass and dragged two defenders over the line to score.
Campbell also combined well with Andrew Kellaway at the back.
THE PLAY THAT SHOWED THE WALLABIES’ LACK OF CONTINUITY
For the second straight week the Wallabies were left with egg on their face from an attacking move that backfired.
Just when Kinghorn toed ahead to score last week shortly after half-time for Scotland, France took advantage of another play that backfired in the seconds before the main break.
In both cases Foley was the man who was made to look silly as he missed his target.
But if we take a step back, it is hardly surprising because the Wallabies had a different halfback, inside centre and fullback in four straight Tests.
The Wallabies’ struggles at the breakdown also, in part, come from the lack of continuity in the side.
Wallabies hold on against Scots | 01:44
TUPOU’S BEST TEST OF THE YEAR – AND THE DOUBLE ACT THAT CAN CHANGE WALLABIES’ PERCEPTION
By his own admission Taniela Tupou has struggled throughout the year.
Against France, the prop was promoted to the starting side in the absence of Allan Alaalatoa and delivered his finest performance in the No.3 jersey for the Wallabies.
He scrummed well and got the Wallabies over the gain line. It’s a huge tick for a man who often dominates attention on and off the field.
Even if Alaalatoa is fit to face Italy next week, Tupou should start.
If he does, he’ll likely team up with Will Skelton.
It’s a scary thought for oppositions but one that can help the Wallabies get over the gain line.
Oppositions might attempt to run the Wallabies ragged and target them at the lineout, but the Wallabies have two strong lineout options in Jed Holloway and Ned Hanigan at blindside flanker who can shore up the set-piece.