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International Rugby: Positives and negatives from the Wallabies 2nd Test defeat

England fought back to beat the Wallabies 25-17 in Brisbane to level the series at 1-1 and now Dave Rennie’s depleted side need to pick themselves up and get ready to go again in Sydney on Saturday.

The Wallabies won the first Test in Perth last week but they would have been expecting an England response in Brisbane.

England finished strongly at Optus Stadium, albeit it against 14 men, and probably would have won that game had it gone on for any longer.

So it was no surprise to see them start off in Brisbane where they left off in Perth by racing into a 19-0 first half-half lead.

However the Wallabies again showed great team spirit when dealing with even more adversity to come fighting back. It was not enough as England hung on to get the job done, but again the Wallabies can take the positives.

So what positives can they take from the defeat and what are the issues heading into the SCG game.

What: Wallabies v England
Where: SCG, Sydney
When: 19:55, Saturday 16th July 2022
How to watch: Channel 9
Odds: Wallabies 4/5, England 1/1

The Wallabies have an injury crisis

Australia’s biggest issue heading into the decider concerns what kind of side Rennie will be able to get on the pitch as injuries continue to rip through his side.

Jordan Petaia left the action early on after taking a whack to the head. He failed the head injury assessment (HIA) and is now set to miss the decider.

Izaia Perese was the next to leave the field with a knee injury. The knee was already heavily strapped and it was game over when he crumbled to the ground in agony.

Wallabies forwards Scott Sio and Cadeyrn Neville also left the action in the second half and will be early doubts for the clash in Sydney.

Just to make matters even worse Andrew Kellaway gave a disappointing update on his hamstring injury to reporters of channel 9 at half-time. He is looking at up to eight weeks on the sidelines with the rehab.

Rennie admits that the strength in depth of his squad will be tested like never before and the Wallabies will face a huge battle in the third Test.

"That's the thing about our collision sport, it's the way it is," Rennie told Channel 9 "Scotty [Sio], we're not sure. He lost all feeling right down his arm, so it's something to do with his neck or shoulder.
"Obviously the other guys you'd know about. Cadeyrn [Neville], MCL we think, got cleaned out from the side. Jordie [Petaia], knocked out."

Tom made of the Wright stuff

Tom Wright put in another fine performance and was Australia’s best back at Suncorp Stadium.

There were big concerns when both Andrew Kellaway and Tom Banks were ruled out through injury but again Wright put in another assured to display to give Rennie one less thing to worry about.

As the injuries kicked in Wright showed what a big asset he is as he switched from the wing to fullback and then back to the wing. And he did it with ease.

Wright was again comfortable under the high ball and his desire to run the ball was also there for all to see. Was involved in a few big plays and was a big positive for the Wallabies.

Trio catch the eye

Front-row duo Taniela Tupou and Angus Bell caught the eye for the Wallabies, while Matt Philip can be happy with his contribution also.

Tupou had a couple of dodgy moments early on but after that the tight-head prop had a great game. He chipped in with a try and was then provided an assist when his strong carry contributed to Samu Kerevi crossing.

Bell produced a number of surging runs and stayed on the park for almost 80 minutes. Looks certain to have a bright future with the Wallabies.

Philip was another to stand-out. The lock impressed in the line-out with two steals, one either side of half-time. The Rebels star put in one of his best performances in a Wallabies jersey.

The Wallabies caught napping

If the Wallabies are to win the deciding Test they need to come out firing. It is something they have failed to do in the opening two matches.

England have started the brighter of the two teams, and although they could not make it count in Perth, they certainly did in Brisbane.

Australia will need to win the collision battle for a start and once again front-row duo Tupou and Bell will be key to the Wallabies coming out on top.

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