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International Rugby: Wallabies look to Spring Tour

Following a Rugby Championship to forget for the Wallabies, all eyes will now turn to the Spring Tour as they attempt to finish the 2022 campaign on a high.

There have been highs this year with one-off victories over England, South Africa and Argentina, but there have also been plenty of lows.

The latest setback for Dave Rennie’s side was a disastrous 40-14 loss against New Zealand at Eden Park on Saturday.

That loss came on the back of the controversial 39-37 loss against the All Blacks the week before and means they have now lost their last three games.

Australia will now take a short break from playing before embarking on the Spring Tour to Europe and it will give them time to regroup and get ready to go again.

There is plenty for Rennie to ponder with the Rugby World Cup in France fast approaching in 2023 but it is hoped one or two players will return to boost the squad.

So with the Spring Tour next on the agenda let’s take a look ahead to the trip overseas.


Spring Tour fixtures

The Wallabies have five games to play during the Spring Tour and with the games coming thick and fast it will be a big test for Rennie’s squad.

The action gets underway with a clash against Scotland at Murrayfield on Sunday 30th October before they cross over the English channel to take on France at the Stade de France on Sunday 6th November.

Then on Saturday 12th November the Wallabies will play Italy at the Stadio Artemio Franchi. A clash with Ireland at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday 20th November is next on the agenda before they wrap up the tour at the Principality Stadium on 26th November against Wales.

It is a tough looking schedule against quality opposition but is exactly what they need.  If they have aspirations of winning the World Cup then they need to be beating quality opponents on a consistent basis.

That has not been happening so far in 2022. The Wallabies have shown they can beat anyone on their day but they have then failed to back it up by winning the next game.

Win one, lose one will not get you very far in world rugby and it is something they need to address between now and the end of the year.


Michael Hooper return boost

The Wallabies cause this year has not been helped by a crippling injury list that has robbed them of key players, including Quade Cooper.

While some are long-term, Rennie should be boosted by the return of some key players. The coach is expected to name his side in mid-October so he has time to make up his mind on one or two.

Australia A are about to embark on a three-match trip to Japan and Rennie will be keeping a close eye on them to see how they go.

There is a very good chance that one or two could play their way into contention for the trip to Europe.

One player that looks set to return is captain Michael Hooper. Hooper took a break from playing in the Rugby Championship as the heavy schedule was starting to take its toll.

However the great news for the Wallabies is Hooper is now ready to return and it could be just the boost they need.

Rennie will play it safe and there is no suggestion he will be rushed straight back in from the start. It is more likely he will be eased back in and that will mean cameo appearances off the bench at first.

It has also been reported he will not take the captaincy back straight away. He does not need that pressure right now and James Slipper will continue to skipper the side.

However the presence of Hooper in the squad should give the whole camp a lift.


Wallabies discipline needs to improve

Poor discipline has also cost the Wallabies this year and that is another thing that needs to improve if they are to go places.

They gave away countless penalties against the All Blacks and also had two yellow cards in the first half. Rennie accepts it is not good enough and the players need to raise their game on the Spring Tour.

"Massive disappointment. Gave away too many penalties, lost the collisions and gave the All Blacks field position and they put us in the corner and hurt us," Rennie said after the All Blacks loss.

"The yellow cards hurt. The first one we got away with but it sucked a lot of energy out of us. We defended and scrambled. When you lose your hooker it's hard to get our structure down where we're throwing the ball where we can just win it and get our hands on the ball.

"It hurts in other ways. We've got to turn pressure into points. We didn't do that enough. And we coughed up too much soft ball and penalties which gave them field position."

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