Wallabies 'a shambles'

Ewen McKenzie (AFP)
Ewen McKenzie (AFP)

Sydney - Pressure is building on coach Ewen McKenzie after the Wallabies' loss to Argentina Saturday was described as ill-disciplined and dispirited by Australia's media.

The Pumas defeated Australia 21-17 after trailing 14-0 to claim their first Rugby Championship win in Mendoza on Saturday.

The Wallabies' performance was panned by the critics, with one calling it an "absolute shambles".

"A rudderless and distracted Wallabies outfit got what they deserved by suffering the embarrassment of being Argentina's first victim in the Rugby Championship," veteran rugby correspondent Greg Growden wrote on ESPN Scrum website.

"The Wallabies easily won the mistake-error count. The Pumas won the up-front battle, mincing the Australian scrum at times, and so were able to dominate possession and territory.

"A better side - New Zealand, South Africa, England even - would have put the Wallabies away by at least 20 points."

Growden said McKenzie's position as coach is under serious question after the team suffered one of its most inexplicable losses of recent times.

"McKenzie has to accept much of the blame for the Mendoza fiasco. His Rugby Championship record is underwhelming.

"McKenzie's Test success record (52 percent) from 11 wins in 21 Tests is the lowest of any Australian coach in the professional era, ranking below Robbie Deans (58 percent), John Connolly (64), Eddie Jones (57), Rod Macqueen (79) and Greg Smith (63)."

The Sydney Morning Herald said McKenzie needed to fix the Wallabies' problems soon or "things could get ugly".

"The honeymoon ended some time ago for McKenzie, whose 'approval rating' will be forever amplified or decimated by the unbridled optimism his appointment triggered," the Herald said.

"If Australian rugby's self-titled 'fixer' can't fix this one, soon, things could get ugly. In less than a week the Wallabies must dust themselves off and put a horror tour behind them."

The Wallabies face the All Blacks in Brisbane on October 18.

The Australian newspaper said the Wallabies looked "mixed-up and misfiring".

"Having brilliantly worked their way into the game at the outset, they then bone-headedly worked their way out of it at the end," it said.

"Argentina's scrum monstered the Wallabies' set piece. It was the worst beating the Australian forwards have received this year."

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