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In their final media conference at Roger Podras Stadium on Thursday, Australian players Lalkai Phuketi (centre) and Tom Hooper (winger) found themselves facing the press back home. They proved the humiliation in front of Wales partly absorbed (6-40) and found their sense of humour, if not a sense of humour, of the moment. They compare themselves to the penguins in “Madagascar” (the animated film), but it is true that we noticed against the Welsh that they were clumsy and dropped a lot of balls. The first to speak, Tom Hooper, first apologized for conceding a stupid first-half penalty against Wales and said: “It was important that the team rose to the occasion. And not to dwell on the results and consequences off the field. This is an error that will not comfort the thousands of Wallabies supporters who “I think the hardest thing to swallow is the way we lost control of the game,” Tom Hooper continued, “When you play a world-class team, you have to admit that teams from the northern hemisphere have top scorers.” Very good, you can see that on the scoreboard. “So we had to be careful not to make any mistakes.”

Scrum-half, Isak Fins Liliwasa (here up front), should find his place on the bench at the expense of Nick White who will not be on the scoresheet on Sunday against Portugal. Photo by Philip Vacher

Penguin Wallabies encounter hungry wolves

The exact opposite of what happened among coach Eddie Jones’ students. Tom Hooper added: “Against Wales, we lacked discipline in several areas. It’s hard to comprehend how quickly the game has gotten away from us and the reality that hits us about the possibility of returning home. We have one more game and we are very optimistic about it and we move forward. It took us a few days to grieve, and now we are like penguins in Madagascar. We come out and smile and wave, guys. We do our job and make sure we get two good days of training. It is true that over the past month, the Wallabies have consistently stated that they have trained hard. But in relation to what and for what purpose? With the exception of against Georgia (35-15), the work done during the training sessions was not really visible during the matches against “Flying Fiji” (15-22) and against the Red Dragons (6-40). Instead, we saw players lost on the field, not knowing how to restart the device. Good words and intentions will not replace actions. An entire nation is waiting for an active reaction to Los Lobos (Portuguese rugby players) whose appetite is starting to grow more and more.

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