VIDEO: Wallabies boss Rennie hits back at All Blacks legend
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Australia coach Dave Rennie has offered an unimpressed retort to Andrew Mehrtens after the former All Blacks star offered a grim picture of the fate that could await the Wallabies against England.
Rennie, who himself conceded that his side had been far from their best in their 13-15 defeat by Scotland at Murrayfield on Sunday, did not sound overly happy to hear how pundit Mehrtens had stuck the boot into the disjointed Australian performance.
“I worry a little bit for the Wallabies, because if they keep muddling through like they have in these last two games [against Japan and now Scotland], if they play like that again they’ll get a heap put on them,” Mehrtens, the 70-times capped All Black noted.
When told of this verdict in Edinburgh, New Zealander Rennie responded: “Look, he’s a smart man, Mehrts but, no, I don’t agree with that assessment.
“Scotland is a strong team, it sounds like he’s disrespecting their ability.
“They were very competitive in the Six Nations. They lost with a late penalty against Ireland, lost by a point to Wales and would have won the Six Nations if they’d won those games. They’re a really good side.”
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And Rennie, despite frustration at witnessing the end of a five-match win streak, pointed out some reasons to be cheerful, suggesting: “We didn’t play anywhere near as well as we’d like to, so we know that, but I thought we defended really well, created multiple turnovers when Scotland had a lot of possession.
“It was a tough game because we just struggled to get things going. We got penalised a bit in possession when we thought we had them under pressure.
“We struggled to get our game going in the last 20 too, they did a pretty good job defending the maul and there were a handful of decisions that we made, and that the ref [Romain Poite] made that shaped the last 20 minutes.
“We’ve got to take it on the chin – we’ve got more in us – and we certainly need to be a lot better against England.”
Eddie Jones’ side hammered Tonga 69-3 in their warm-up match for next Saturday’s Test, impressing Mehrtens who reckoned “England are a side that can pull out an amazing performance, they’re always full of confidence.”
#⃣ICYMI After @Scotlandteam‘s great win over the @wallabies, we rated all the players – including the #SouthAfricans🇿🇦 in the #Scottish🏴 team …#Rugby🏉#SCOvAUS 🏴V🇦🇺#RugbyUnion🌐
— rugby365.com (@rugby365com) November 8, 2021