SYDNEY, August 31 – The Wallabies are in crisis with confidence at rock bottom as they face the nightmare of ending this year's Tri-Nations campaign with six consecutive defeats, the Australian press said Monday.The gloomy assessment follows Australia’s abject performance in their 32-25 defeat to the world champion Springboks in Perth on Saturday, in which they were flattered by two late consolation tries.
While South Africa are eyeing sealing Tri-Nations glory this coming Saturday, the Wallabies are wallowing at the bottom of the table on just three points, all gleaned as losing bonus points.
The Australian press were scathing in their criticism of the latest Wallaby loss and coach Robbie Deans’s ninth defeat in 21 Tests since he took charge last year.
"Teammates have lost confidence in each other. Combinations have fallen apart. Self-belief has nose-dived," The Sydney Morning Herald said.
"The game plan has become muddled. And a New Zealand super coach (Deans) is struggling to comprehend the Australian psyche, which has led to the disintegration of a flawed campaign."
The Herald said eight Tri-Nation Test losses in a row is "certainly in the offing."
"They weren’t a seven-point inferior team to the Springboks. They were lucky to get within 20 to 25 points, because for more than 70 minutes of this Test they were a rabble."
Australia’s rugby writers have been calling for major changes to the team for next weekend’s clash against the Springboks in Brisbane.
The Daily Telegraph said scrumhalf Luke Burgess and number eight Richard Brown were certain to pay for the Wallabies’ failed campaign.
"For all his energy, Burgess too often passes erratically, as if his shoelaces are tied together and his service to money-man Matt Giteau is compromised and that can no longer be tolerated," it said.
The Australian waded in, bemoaning dark days for Australian rugby.
"They’ve now lost six Tri-Nations Tests in succession, they’ve dragged Deans’s winning percentage below 60 percent for the first time and their support base is eroding alarmingly," the newspaper said.
"These are grim days for Australian rugby. Self-belief has to be the starting point. If the Springboks can reinvent themselves, why not the Wallabies?"