Wallabies their own worst enemies in humbling defeat to Scotland


wallabyTHE Wallabies could sink to sixth in the world rankings by Monday and coach Michael Cheika will be dropping players for next week’s clash against Italy after substandard efforts allowed Scotland to beat them 24-19 in Sydney on Saturday.

Ranked third heading into this weekend’s match, Australia is set to be overtaken by Ireland, Scotland and South Africa, their lowest ranking since early 2015, after which they produced a memorable World Cup campaign to reach the final.

Cheika is hoping for a similar turnaround in 2017 and will start by axing underperforming players.

He’d planned a block of five games — the three June Tests and the opening two Bledisloe Cup clashes against the All Blacks in August — but said keeping new combinations together was not his priority now.

Instead, we’ll discover just who Cheika thought was “half a yard off the game” when he announces his team next Thursday to play Italy in Brisbane.

“The first thing, when it comes to game time, is getting your mindset right so you’re upfront and you’re at the contest first, and that’s more important than combinations, it’s more important than anything,” Cheika said.

“Just to want to get out, set the tone of the speed of the game.”

Cheika forecast changes to his side for Italy.

“I’d say so, I’d say there’d be a few,” Cheika said.

“It’s about being more urgent to the game, willing the game more, you’ve got to make it happen — it’s not just going to happen for you.

“You’ve got to have guys with that attitude.

The Wallabies blew numerous late chances as Scotland side earned revenge and put another black mark on Australian rugby in 2017.

After successive one-point defeats to Australia, Scotland withstood a barrage of late attacking raids by the Wallabies to claim a memorable victory — their second in as many visits to Australia.

The loss has compounded Australia’s woes, with disappointing Super Rugby results and the drawn out SANZAAR saga to cull three teams already creating a negative vibe around the game.

That didn’t stop 30,721 fans turning up to Allianz Stadium but most left bitterly disappointed.

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