By Rhys Thomas
June 26 2012
After so much hope in the beginning, Wales have ended the Australian tour with only a midweek win, and a whitewash in the tests - losing 20-19 in the final match.
The gap had been reduced yet again, this time to a meagre one point, but it is still a loss. Wales have also moved down two places in the iRB World Rankings to sixth, which is even worse when you consider that the World Cup seeds will be selected in December. So, this tour has been a failure, and this last loss was to be expected. Nothing had changed, it was the same team with the same mentality. Australia picked up the James Bevan Trophy, and rightly so. They knew how to win, and also had an element of luck.
Wales butchered chances. For example, Kurtley Beale had a shocker, and at one point put his foot in touch deep inside his own half - I can’t see that happening too often in the future. This happened on other occasions throughout the series as well, and Wales failed to take their chances. After Beale’s mistake, and the ensuing lineout, the Welsh forwards weren’t quick enough to react to Australia’s tactic at that maul and were penalised for having players blocking the ball-carrier from the defence. What happened next is something that should only be seen on a soccer field. Luke Charteris shouted at the referee like a petulant child. Whatever he thought of the decision of the referee (I’m not Craig Joubert’s biggest fan) he should’ve kept quiet and got on with the game – that’s the Rugby way. As it happened, Australia kicked a penalty further up the pitch, which would not have been possible with that ten metre advantage.
It’s back to Wales and the drawing board now for the boys in red. Argentina, Samoa, New Zealand and Australia are the visitors in the autumn. Anything less than three wins would be a failure, and Wales should realistically be aiming to win all four. If they show the mental frailty and poor decision-making that they have this June, then we’ll be staring down the abyss.