What happens next for wounded Wallabies

Dave Rennie was at pains to avoid using it as an excuse but a jam-packed casualty ward came back to bite the Wallabies hard in their record-breaking loss to the Pumas.

Incredibly, the Sydney Morning Herald was missing only a halfback in selecting a strong ‘Wallabies sideline XV,’ with hooker Folau Fainga’a getting a run there out of position and absent captain Michael Hooper (personal reasons) also included.

Wallabies sideline XV: Tom Banks, Izaia Perese, Hunter Paisami, Samu Kerevi, Andrew Kellaway, Quade Cooper, Folau Fainga’a, Lachie Swinton, Michael Hooper, Ned Hanigan, Cadeyrn Neville, Izack Rodda, Allan Alaalatoa, Dave Porecki, Angus Bell.

Watch every match of the Rugby Championship on the home of rugby, Stan Sport. Continues August 27 with Wallabies vs Springboks and All Blacks vs Pumas. All matches streaming ad-free, live and on demand

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The crisis was exacerbated by the fact that Fainga’a was ruled out on match eve, leaving the Wallabies with a green tandem of Lachlan Lonergan and Billy Pollard in one of rugby’s most important positions.

There has been no indication that Hooper will return for the next assignment: a daunting clash with the smarting Springboks at the Adelaide Oval on August 27.

The Wallabies have kept in touch with their beloved skipper as he prioritises his mental health but understandably he has also been given plenty of space.

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James Slipper as skipper and Fraser McReight as openside flanker are both doing an admirable job in his absence and Rennie is expecting to start getting some cattle back when the team licks its wounds and reassembles to tackle the world champs.

The coach hopes Bell, Alaalatoa, Porecki, Kellaway, Paisami, Fainga’a and Scott Sio will be available, although Kerevi and Cooper are irreplaceable backline cogs.

There is also intrigue around whether veteran five-eighth Bernard Foley will be involved in a training capacity or more.

Pumas pounce on Wallabies mistake

For now, the coaching staff and players must address some video nasties after completely failing to deal with Argentina’s revised kicking strategy in San Juan.

“They scored four tries with kicks – two in behind us and two in the air – so we didn’t do a good enough job around that,” Rennie said.

“We lacked cohesion, didn’t we, with a few changes. We’ll look at the footage, but we’re better than that… I’m not looking for excuses.

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“We’ve got to be better, we’ve got own that. It’s on us as coaches. It’s on the players. 

“It’s a massive disappointment. We want to earn the respect of the country and you don’t do it with performances like that.

“While we know we’ll get a few guys back, whoever puts the jersey on has to front. We weren’t good enough today.”

Dejected Wallabies captain discusses Pumas defeat

Slipper admitted the team was incapable of even doing the basics on Sunday.

“And that’s probably the hardest pill to swallow,” the centurion prop said.

“That’s what makes it pretty gutting.”

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