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McKenzie: We'll get it right

Australia coach Ewen McKenzie has backed his players to deliver his favoured free-flowing attacking style of rugby, despite his third successive defeat since taking charge.

The 38-12 hammering at the hands of a rampant South Africa on Saturday in Brisbane was the biggest ever against the Boks on home soil.

South Africa, winning for the first time ever at Suncorp Stadium, scored four tries while the lacklustre Wallabies' only points came from the boot of inside centre Christian Leali'ifano.

Yet former Queensland Reds coach McKenzie is determined to stick to his principles while utilising the undoubted talents in his backline, including code-hopping full-back sensation Israel Folau, winger James O'Connor, controversial fly-half Quade Cooper and stand-in skipper Will Genia.

"I've come in and want us to invest in playing skilful rugby and using the ball," McKenzie said.

"I think the ideas are right and the ambitions right - it's a question of how quickly you get there."

Following back-to-back defeats to arch-rivals New Zealand the pressure is mounting on the new regime to turn around the flagging Wallabies fortunes, coming off the back of a 2-1 Lions series loss under former coach Robbie Deans.

"After three games against really good opposition we have to see what's working for us in the game and what's not working and it's quite clear when you look at the numbers that our turnovers are just too high," said McKenzie.

Despite winning the possession count in each of their three defeats under McKenzie, the Wallabies, missing influential skipper James Horwill through injury, handed the ball back to the Springboks an astonishing 18 times.

And, while the reason for continued defeat is not lost on the coach, McKenzie is determined to take some positives into their next match in the Rugby Championships against Argentina in Perth this weekend.

"We've been consistent in one thing the last three Tests," he continued.

"We've made more line breaks, we've made more broken tackles, we've run more metres, we've had more positive advantage line, speed of ball - we win all those categories every week.

"We kick less than our opponents but our turnover rate is too high, simple as that. That's something we need to have a look at."

With growing concern over the aesthetically pleasing yet risky tactics, McKenzie feels his side have the ability to turn things around, if not yet the application.

"We're trying to develop a game that we can play consistently going forward," he said.

"You then have to look at each turnover and see what type of turnover is it? Is it a question of skill or judgment? If it's judgment then it's something you can fix, if its skill then you have to look at how you're playing the game."

"I think they're more errors of judgment rather than error in skill, that's the frustrating part for me."


From Belfast Telegraph