Australia
Second-half stumbles frustrate Wallabies
November 23, 2014
Ireland 26-23 Australia (Australia only)

The Wallabies' trend of losing attacking steam in the second half is becoming a cause for concern in the build-up to Rugby World Cup 2015.

Australia carried all the momentum into half-time against Ireland in Dublin, but they failed go on with it after the break - scoring just three second-half points in the 26-23 loss on Saturday. Previous Tests against France and Wales followed a similar pattern, with only one of Australia's eight tries scored under Michael Cheika posted after half-time.

The Wallabies have scored most of their points in the first half of the past six Tests, and centre Matt Toomua says the players are puzzled by the problem.

"The second half has been a bit of an issue for us throughout the whole year," Toomua said. "I don't have any answers as to why. If I did, you would probably have seen it out there. But you can see the game actually tighten up towards the end there, so whether that's teams being aware of the situation, I'm not sure."

The Wallabies have been worked hard in training under Cheika, but players insist fatigue is not playing a part.

Australia will be able to leave everything on the pitch against England at Twickenham on Saturday in their last Test of the season.

England inflicted the Wallabies' only loss on the end-of-year tour last season, and Toomua - who looks certain to retain his starting spot after an impressive return in Dublin - admitted memories of the 20-13 loss 12 months ago would serve as motivation.

"It was probably the loss that hurt us most last year," Toomua said. "We won't be short of motivation but you never are at international level."

Australia must avoid defeat if they are not to record their worst European campaign since 2005.

© AAP

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