Wallabies need to end shambolic first-half performances
WORLD CUP SPOTLIGHT: Vice-captain Samu Kerevi is demanding an end to Australia’s shambolic starts if they’re to reach their potential at the World Cup.
Both Wallabies pool games in Japan have mirror images in terms of Australia’s uncertain, error-riddled early output followed by storming second-half fightbacks.
They over-ran Fiji 31-19 in Sapporo after trailing by nine points soon after half-time.
However, the men in green and gold couldn’t quite haul the 18-point margin they ceded to Wales in Tokyo, eventually going down 25-29.
Kerevi’s said his team were guilty of poor early execution and admitted he was a prime culprit against Wales with some uncharacteristic turnovers of an admittedly slippery ball in humid conditions.
He wouldn’t criticise Australia’s expansive early tactics in both games, even though they backfired against the more conservative Welsh in particular, who feasted on mistakes.
“You saw in the first half we created a lot of opportunities but just didn’t finish them off,” Kerevi said.
“I was guilty of losing the ball at crucial times. It’s something I’ve got to work on and be better at.
“As a team, it’s just little setbacks as we were making real inroads, whether that’s a penalty or a dropped ball or whatever it is, we’re hurting ourselves.”
Kerevi, who leads the tournament with 16 defenders beaten, said it was important Australia’s players don’t go into their shell attack-wise.
The remaining pool games against lower-ranked Uruguay and Georgia will provide a chance to fine-tune their starts ahead of a likely trip to the quarterfinals.
“It’s making sure we have those concentration levels from the get-go,” Kerevi said.
“The boys’ efforts are there, no one is intentionally doing that [mistakes] so we’re just making sure that we finish off opportunities we do get.”