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Wallabies Test loss inevitable when half the team goes missing

The Wallabies can whinge all they like about refereeing decisions. But they cannot avoid the fact that a record Test loss is inevitable when more than half their team go missing.

The aftermath of England's comprehensive victory has revolved around the outbursts of an infuriated Wallabies coach Michael Cheika during and after a Test where his team were constantly side-swiped by the New Zealand referee Ben O'Keeffe, suffering disallowed tries and two sin-binnings.

The Wallabies often believe they are persecuted by referees. But this time around there was justification in all of O'Keefe's decisions going against Australia.

The kerfuffle over whether Cheika said naughty words in the coach's box should not camouflage the fact that on the most important day of their northern hemisphere tour his team fell apart.

After such an encouraging build-up, including comprehensive victories over New Zealand and Wales, they let it all slip at Twickenham, offering England the easy All Blackesque option of just waiting for them to make diabolical mistakes and then seizing the moment with excellent counter-attack.

England, who had only 43 percent possession, really didn't have to do too much to win this Test. It required patience, and waiting for the next Wallaby bungle. They came at regular intervals.

The embarrassing defeat reinforced the fact that without their fullback Israel Folau and lock Adam Coleman, the Wallabies are a bits and pieces team who are carrying far too many passengers.

Only four Wallabies; winger Marika Koroibete, centre Samu Kerevi, prop Sekope Kepu and No 8 Sean McMahon, played to the required standard. The rest were either confused, slow or out of their depth.

There is really no hope for a team when three of their starting forwards made absolutely no impact. Newcomer Blake Enever has an excuse. It was his first Test. But usually those on Test debut are sighted. Instead the second rower looked lost. Enever's second row partner Rob Simmons did little more than just go through the motions. But that's nothing new, as Simmons has been underwhelming in a fair proportion of his 81 Test appearances. When you are without your most combative lock in Coleman, it requires Wallaby veterans like Simmons to get their act together, stand up and fill the void. He didn't.

Long time Wallaby sufferers were not surprised in the 36th minute when an encouraging Australian attack was thwarted by Simmons running far too high into the ruck, and dropping the ball cold. The play was soon at the other end of the field, and shortly after England scored their first try.

Blindside flanker Ned Hanigan has many critics... and for good reason. He has had the luxury of 12 Test appearances to lock down the No 6 Test spot, and has wasted them. Hanigan has had only one reasonable performance- against Wales the previous weekend. Hanigan looks mean, tough, and is boisterous during the national anthem. But he seriously lacks game prowess. With Jack Dempsey cruelly injured just before the tour, the Wallabies are still desperately seeking a creditable No 6. Surely by now, the Wallabies team management must realise Hanigan is not that man.

With the Australian pack lacking venom, it is no surprise that elsewhere everything went a bit wonky. The half combination of Will Genia and Bernard Foley was under constant pressure, and they faltered. Their timing was off.

In the end, it required tenacious individual Australian performances to keep England on edge until the final minutes.

Koroibete has been easily the Wallabies' best new find of 2017. He has quickly adapted from the rugby league ranks, and gives the Wallabies a genuine threat out wide because he is a dynamic runner, who only knows one direction- straight ahead.

His defence is also of the highest quality, producing the best tackle of the Twickenham Test when he flattened Owen Farrell during the second half.

Kerevi has been more erratic this year, being exposed sometimes in his defence near the ruck, but his attacking play was once again penetrative, making several productive breaks.

As for Kepu and McMahon, they know only one way, and that is to put his head down and relentlessly charge at the advantage line.

Before the Test, McMahon admitted that he loves nothing better than a pre-game hot shower.

After witnessing many of his teammates failing to match his high work-rate, he could have easily recommended that their Twickenham punishment was suffering one long post-match cold shower.