Australia: Len Ikitau says players must take responsibility for Wallabies’ poor form

Len Ikitau Australia v France ANS 2022 - PA.jpg Credit: Alamy
Len Ikitau Australia v France ANS 2022 - PA.jpg Credit: Alamy

Wallabies centre Len Ikitau is adamant head coach Dave Rennie is not at fault for the side’s poor results on their end-of-year tour and said the players must take responsibility.

Since starting their Autumn Nations Series campaign Australia have been competitive in all of their matches but a 16-15 victory over Scotland in their tour opener was their only positive result so far.

After that, they suffered narrow defeats to France (30-29), Italy (28-27) and Ireland (13-10).

Under pressure

Although they have earned plenty of praise for their performances against Ireland and France, who are currently occupying the top two spots in World Rugby’s official rankings list, Rennie has received criticism after the loss to Italy as it was Australia‘s first ever defeat in the fixture.

The Wallabies have a chance to finish their tour on a positive note against Wales in Cardiff on Saturday, and Ikitau insists Rennie is not to blame for the team’s run of disappointing results.

“It’s more on the players there,” he told reporters.

“Dave’s got an awesome system and the way he wants to play, and for us it’s going out there and executing it.

“I just don’t think we’ve been doing that the last couple of weeks, especially against Italy.

“It would be nice to finish off our last game with a win and go forward from there.”

The clash with Wales should be an intriguing one as there is also huge pressure on Wales head coach Wayne Pivac after his side suffered a shock 13-12 home loss to Georgia last weekend.

The Wallabies are scraping the barrel for players as their defeat to Ireland proved costly after they lost the services of Michael Hooper, Andrew Kellaway, Hunter Paisami, Dave Porecki, Taniela Tupou, Rob Valetini and Nic White to injury.

Ikitau, who is primarily an outside centre, was forced to move to inside centre when Paisami limped off with a knee injury during the early stages of that Test.

“I’ve played (inside centre) maybe three times my whole career, and it’s against the All Blacks, South Africa, and Ireland,” Ikitau said.

Tough battles

“That’s three big teams. It’s pretty tough.

“I’ve enjoyed it. I love playing 13, but 12 is a good learning experience for me.”

READ MORE: Wallabies Michael Hooper the latest casualty ahead of Autumn Nations Test against Wales

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