Robbie Deans stopped short of declaring Saturday's victory over Argentina a turning point for his Wallabies but believes the performance "galvanised" the group.
Injured fly-half Quade Cooper's claims of a "toxic" environment within the Wallabies squad painted a grim picture of a divided team in a state of disrepair. But just seven days after a disastrous 31-8 thumping by South Africa in Pretoria, Deans' injury-ravaged Wallabies proved they remain a committed team with a brave 25-19 win over the Pumas in Rosario.
Asked if the game was a turning point upon his arrival back in Sydney, Deans said: "Who knows? Those things are resolved down the path but there's no doubt some of the qualities they displayed in that game will be invaluable."
He added: "Blokes who didn't have much background have played some good rugby. Most importantly the team really galvanised and came together and played for each other and that spirit was evident."
Asked to assess his side's inaugural Rugby Championship campaign after finishing second behind runaway winners New Zealand, Deans replied: "It's a good tournament... all the sides were competitive.
"Every side gave every other side moments of anxiety but clearly the All Blacks have set the benchmark.
"They won the tournament, we came second which under the circumstances probably wasn't a bad effort but it's not one that we're happy with."
The depleted Wallabies face the All Blacks in the third Bledisloe Cup Test in Brisbane on Saturday week.
Deans is under no illusions as to the challenge that lies ahead against the world champions.
"Obviously we've got to improve to get that job done but we'll rest up and recover and really hone in on that opportunity," he said.
- Robbie Deans