Scoring 34 points against the All Blacks would usually call for celebrations.
The All Blacks blew the Wallabies off the park during the first 50 minutes of the opening Bledisloe Cup match to lead 54-6 infront of 54,846 rugby fans in Sydney.
It could have been a cricket score if not for the steely resolve shown by the Wallabies with the ball as they poured on 28 unanswered points.
If only their defence mirrored their effort in attack.
Soft one-on-one misses cruelled the Australians as the Kiwis delivered a six-try annihilation to lead 40-6 at the break- the worst first-half score put on a Wallabies side in Test history.
Any hope of ending the Aussies’ 15-year Beldisloe drought was well over at oranges.
Not that Wallabies coach Michael Cheika thought so.
“It’s wasn’t done and dusted at half-time,” Cheika said.
“There are comebacks to be had. Then early in the first half we let in an easy try and it came down to defence, nothing else. We scored plenty of points and the set piece was okay – it comes down to our ‘D’ and we are going to have to improve next week.”
Ironically, the Australians only had to score five more points to set a new record for most points scored against the All Blacks.
If only the Aussies had defended. Scoring points was not an issue.
"We just have to go there and make the tackles, mate. That’s all there is to it,” Cheika said.
“It’s not like there’s no courage being shown out there. I just think that we hesitated on our edge ‘D’ and they took us on the outside which was pretty soft, that part. But, I don’t think it was soft in the physicality at all. That’s going to be our work on for next week and we will do our best to turn that around.”
The Wallabies face New Zealand in Dunedin next Saturday and will have to tackle all week if they are to rectify their abhorrent defensive efforts.
And Cheika knows it.
“There is no problem with the attack and when you score that many points against New Zealand that’s not bad in itself,” Cheika said.
“The key part is the defence and you can’t get away from it, mate. We’ll look to keep improving and we have to improve our defence immensely before next week.”