Oval Talk

Defeat but not despair

Oval Talk

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Australia beat Wales in the dying moments

Another weekend of international action and another dose of pensive chin stroking to follow for the coaching set-ups of each home nation.

Scotland were the only team of the four who took a victory out of the weekend's happenings, thus maintaining their unbeaten run in their tour, and with an encouraging try-scoring debut performance from Dutch-born Edinburgh wing Tim Visser Scotland coach Andy Robinson could well be one of the more satisfied head coaches right now.

Despite his gripes with his team's lack of concentration in the second half of their 25-37 win over Fiji, the fact that he blooded a new young talent to positive effect combined with an impressive display of endurance from his players in sweltering conditions will have left him pleased deep down.

England's defeat to South Africa will have posed more questions to Stuart Lancaster, who gave Jonathan Joseph his first full start and witnessed his team take a substantial battering from the hosts.

A battling defeat in which England's forwards were overpowered, a poor start and a late surge will have given Lancaster more than enough food for thought. An improved second half showing will have been a positive for the coach, but a lack of organisation and resoluteness in defence will make Lancaster long even more for the conclusion of the tour when he can complete the full range of appointments he wishes to make in his coaching staff.

While England will be unable to deny the fairness of their defeat, both Wales and Ireland will have had wounds to lick and disbelief to deal with at the manner of theirs.

For Rob Howley's team a last-minute penalty was the sucker punch which did for them as they lost 25-23 to Australia, a game in which the former scrum half was pleased with his team's performance with the ball in hand but frustrated by their lack of discipline when without it.

Of course it would have been of far greater concern for Howley if that situation was the inverse, but the way things stand he can correct that issue far easier than if his team were not as adept when in creative mode.

Ireland were similarly winded by New Zealand as they went down 22-19 to a last-minute Dan Carter drop goal.

Declan Kidney will have taken great heart from the turnaround witnessed since the first test, when Ireland were comprehensively beaten just a week earlier, and the fact Ireland were in the ascendancy going into the final ten minutes will be of even greater encouragement.

Still plenty to do for each team, but the learning and development objective of each respective tour is slowly being achieved.

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