England loss had its roots set back in June

England beat the Wallabies on Sunday morning (AEDT) not just because they were the better team, but because they could play according to their game plan for longer. Image: ABC Grandstand

The Roar: Ah, the Wallabies. They giveth, and they taketh away. Often in the same match.

So it was again, for the fourth time this year, that a chronic lack of plan B proved their great undoing in the final match of the season. A little over a week ago, a 2016 record of eight wins-seven losses looked very possible, and there’s no doubting Wallabies fans would’ve been thrilled after the way the year started.

The sporadic signs of improvement over the back-half of the year would’ve genuinely pointed in the right direction with an 8 and 7 record, and though the Cook and Bledisloe Cups were long gone, the season would’ve finished in much better health than it started. Heck, even seven wins-either losses probably would’ve have been swallowed in time, for much the same reason.

But 6 and 9 doesn’t quite wash, does it?

 

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England loss confirms the Wallabies’ roller-coaster 2016

The of the Wallabies of 2016: excellent on attack when making the gain line and serving up quick ball, but utterly bereft of idea once on the back foot chasing the game. Image: ABC Grandstand

Rugby365.com: For the Wallabies, season 2016 has finished exactly the same way it started: an agonising loss to England in a game in which they’ll rue missed opportunities to convert into points.

The Wallabies, therefore, finish 2016 with six wins and nine losses, and finished the Spring Tour with good lead-up wins against Wales, Scotland, and France, but let the Grand Slam slip away with a loss to Ireland that they could very easily have won if the ball bounced differently here and there.

This latest England loss confirms everything we already knew about the Wallabies this year..

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Maddinson and Renshaw must play Shield cricket

It’s fair to suggest Nic Maddinson’s Test Debut didn’t go the way he dreamed it would. Image: ABC Grandstand

The Roar: This seems like one of those cases where you’d think common sense surely must prevail. Young batsmen trying to find their feet in the Test side should be getting as much in the middle as is humanly and logistically possible.

With the ODI squad named just prior to the pink-ball Test in Adelaide last week, Test players Matt Renshaw, Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb, Nic Maddinson, Jackson Bird, Nathan Lyon, and 12th man Chadd Sayers are all – in theory – free to play the round of Sheffield Shield games starting next Monday.

With the exception of Khawaja – who might have played his best Test innings – all of them will benefit from more First Class cricket, and none more so than Maddinson and Renshaw.

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The Grand Slam: don’t dream, it’s over

Though it could only ever be completed against England next weekend, I had always thought that the Ireland game would be where the Grand Slam would be truly won. Image: ABC Grandstand

There is freedom within, there is freedom without
Try to catch the deluge in a paper cup…

The Roar: Coming on the same weekend that legendary Australian band Crowded House reunited for a series of sold out concerts on the steps of the Sydney Opera House – 20 years on from their original break-up concert at the same venue – it was ‘only natural’ that the lyrics to Don’t Dream it’s Over would arrive front of mind as the Wallabies dropped their first game of the Spring Tour.

The 27-24 loss to Ireland also means I can now use the words, ‘Grand Slam’ in a sentence this month; something I’ve very deliberately avoided up until this point…

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