England 26-17 Australia
Slow start stings Wallabies yet again
Sam Bruce
November 30, 2014
England end Autumn fixtures with win over Australia

The need to fix a misfiring scrum is obvious but the Wallabies have identified their slow starts as another area in need of improvement ahead of next year's Rugby World Cup.

The Wallabies continued an alarming trend on Saturday night against England, giving up an early lead for the third straight week on tour as they fell 26-17 to England at Twickenham. The visitors trailed 13-3 at the break and although they hit back immediately after half-time through a try to Bernard Foley, the need to play "catch-up" rugby and an up-tempo game plan eventually took its toll.

"It sucks really, you know to walk in, to have that feeling on the field knowing that we got close was really disappointing," Wallabies skipper Michael Hooper said. "There's opportunities that we left out there; multiple opportunities. And I don't think we can put ourselves in a position every week to not start well and then have to catch up. There was a good point made in the change room that, at this level, you've got to at some point learn to start games better."

The Wallabies gave up early leads to France (17-6) and Ireland (17-0) in the two preceding Tests, before clawing their way back to within one point of Les Bleus, and drawing level with the Irish, at the break. The Wallabies went on to lose by three points on both occasions while coach Michael Cheika attributed their slow start at Twickenham to a lack of patience, particularly after winning turnover ball.

"I thought the first half was poor, around just the edge we showed," Cheika said. "It was very reactive in the first half."

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But it's not all doom and gloom according to Cheika, who will now swap Wallaby gold for Waratah blue as he plots the NSW side's Super Rugby defence. The Wallabies' attack flourished after the break in London with Adam Ashley-Cooper, in particular, wreaking havoc down the left-hand side on his return to outside-centre.

Elsewhere, the coach said his side had improved their physicality - a key hallmark of the Waratahs' maiden Super Rugby triumph - and the style in which they wish to play.

"They should know that we are not naive of the areas we need to improve," Cheika said when asked what hopes the fans could hold for next year's World Cup. "I think we've improved a lot of things on this tour; the way we're playing the game and the physical nature of the way we're playing the game. But we're also not naive of the facts of the things we need to improve and we're going to take the steps to address that."

Whether nine months and just four Tests is enough time to achieve such improvement remains to be seen.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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