McKenzie hails stylish Wallabies

Date published: December 1 2013

Australia coach Ewen McKenzie said their victory over Wales proved it was possible to win by playing their traditional attacking game.

Australia coach Ewen McKenzie said their latest win over Wales proved it was possible to win Tests by playing their traditional attacking game.

The Wallabies rounded off a busy 2013, that saw them lose eight out of fifteen Tests, with a flourish as they beat Wales 30-26 in an excellent clash.

Quade Cooper was man-of-the-match in his 50th Test, as Australia scored tries through Christian Leali'ifano, Israel Folau and Joe Tomane,

And McKenzie, appointed after Robbie Deans was axed following the Lions series, hoped the win would foster a mood of optimism throughout Australia.

“The Wallabies don't play for another seven months now so hopefully the fans will look forward to what's happening next year rather than spending too much time looking at the past,” said McKenzie, a member of Australia's 1991 World Cup-winning team.

“We pushed a few too many passes at times but it's always a balance – you don't want to be telling people not to do things but they've got to be judicious in their decision-making. It's risk-reward.”

He added: “We probably pushed the risk a little bit at times but there's some enthusiasm and I don't want to dull that down.

“A lot of people say you can't play all the rugby, it's easier to play field position and keep it simple.

“We are trying to make sure that's in our back pocket if we have to (use it) but it's the variety between the two that's important.”

Australia suffered five defeats in all this year at the hands of New Zealand and South Africa, clearly the second-best Test side on form, and questions persist as to whether Australia's preferred running game can succeed against the All Blacks and Boks come the World Cup.

But after an end-of-year tour where Australia won four Tests in a row – something they last managed at the start of the Deans era in 2008 – with only a defeat by England in the opener scuppering a Grand Slam, McKenzie was in a bullish frame of mind.

“We scored a bunch of tries against good teams. People are always going to say 'wait until you play the All Blacks, wait until you play the Springboks' and for sure we've got to do better on that side of things,” he said.

“But the last time we played the All Blacks we did all right. We didn't win but we were close (a 43-31 loss in Dunedin in October).

“We just have to keep at it. We don't want to be the finished article right now. We've improved and we're getting more consistent.”