AAP Rugby

Wounded Wallabies to pick up the pieces

By AAP Newswire

Michael Cheika will begrudgingly extract the positives from Australia's deflating series loss to Ireland before attempting to mastermind back-to-back Wallabies wins over the All Blacks for the first time in 17 years.

Seething after several contentious calls went against the Wallabies in the deciding 20-16 third-Test loss in Sydney, coach Cheika admits it will take time to digest the defeat before turning his attention to the Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup series.

Australia's' latest stumble left the Wallabies with an unflattering three-from-nine record in June Tests since the 2015 World Cup final loss to the All Blacks.

"I feel like we've been better this June, definitely heaps better. We've shown a lot of commitment," Cheika said.

"But I can't find those positives in the defeat thing ... we wanted to win the trophy, we didn't.

"I don't want to be using a series as a preparation for another series. This is important itself.

"We've got to get that winning mentality. Where we are now, we've got to start feeling that, how to win the games, how to win the trophy.

"Here was a chance. We missed out on it."

While Cheika stews, he will also keep a close eye on his Wallabies hopefuls' Super Rugby performances before reassembling his squad in six weeks for Australia's Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup opener against New Zealand in Sydney on August 18.

The Wallabies ended a seven-Test, 26-month winless run against the world champions with a 23-18 victory in last year's Bledisloe Cup dead rubber in Brisbane.

Not since 2001 - 57 Tests ago - have the Wallabies beaten the All Blacks in consecutive matches.

"We go back to Super Rugby and work hard, work on things, some of the basic things we want to improve on," Cheika said.

"I think we've improved on a lot this year around our work ethic and some of the other things we've set out to do.

"Now we've got a chance to get involved with the players in Super Rugby in this last little block and then outside of that as well before the Bledisloe series.

"So we can up the skills and work a bit more on fitness and get that connection together before we have another big Test here in Sydney."

Despite losing the Lansdowne Cup series 2-1, the Wallabies scored six tries to Ireland's three.

Not that Cheika is taking too much stock from the Wallabies' improved attack either.

"Every time we got a bit of football going, we got penalised, really, for one thing or another," he said in reference to his disillusionment at the performance of French referee Pasal Gauzere.

"When it got going, it was good - and then we got penalised as well."