Test debutant Mike Harris has defended Australia's dubious tactics in their surprise 9-6 loss to Scotland, insisting a more expansive game-plan "wasn't an option" in the wet and windy conditions.
The Wallabies banged their heads against the Scots' brick-wall defence for almost the entire second half in Newcastle without success. After the match, Scotland coach Andy Robinson expressed surprise at the home side's reluctance to string more than two passes together, admitting Australia's conservative approach played into Scottish hands.
But New Zealand-born Harris, who declared the conditions at Hunter Stadium the worst of his career, is adamant the Wallabies' game-plan was not to blame for the defeat. He said: "I think if any team tried to use it any more then you'd be turning it over after one or two passes."
He added: "As you saw out there the widest it got was into that 10 channel off set-pieces because two or three transfers takes a lot of time in those sort of conditions.
"You've got to make sure you catch the ball and take it in to the body and then throwing it as well it can just slip out at any time... I thought we had the right tactics.
"It wasn't an option (to throw the ball around). The only times we went wide were off kicks out to the wing."
Coach Robbie Deans said a lack of execution ultimately cost his side victory.
"It was obviously challenging and blokes make those decisions on the ground at the time," Deans said when asked if the Wallabies backs should have tried to go around the Scots.
"It was just the elements of cohesion. To use the ball effectively you've got to have a greater understanding of direction and shape and we lacked that."