'Things can turn quickly in seven days': Wounded Wallabies ask fans for another shot

A week's a long time in rugby.

At least that's what the Wallabies are banking on as they look to bounce back from last weekend's horrific showing in Pretoria and earn back the respect of disgruntled fans, starting with Saturday night's Test against Argentina.

Still smarting from their 43-12 hammering at the hands of the Springboks, the Wallabies have retreated to the far more pleasant surroundings in Manly to prepare to face Argentina. But veteran scrum-half Nic White says there were some hard truths rammed home immediately after the crushing defeat, which has raised serious questions about coach Eddie Jones' ability to turn the team around ahead of the Rugby World Cup.

"That's not one we're real proud of, obviously we went over there with a plan, things didn't go to plan, bit of a baptism of fire over there," White told reporters on Tuesday. "But they're a bloody good side and showed why they're world champs, the current Rugby World Cup holders.

"It kind of shows how far off the mark [we are] but I thought there were some positives out there. I know it's hard to hear that right now, but we've been together as a squad of 33 for five sessions before that and there were some things that we were well short of, and we know that now and we'll quickly get there.

"But there were [also] some areas within the group that we saw a little bit of growth."

White suggested the Wallabies' first 20 minutes in Pretoria, when they trailed only 10-5 after scoring the game's first try through Marika Koroibete, was evidence the team wasn't completely lost.

But he did acknowledge that Australia needed to find greater balance in their approach, admitting his team had kicked too much ball away in Pretoria and that in turn had played right into the Springboks' hands.

"It's probably an assessment in the game, but they're a big side with an aggressive line speed and [they] certainly win the gain line," White said. "So there was a tactic out there to turn them round as much as possible, to sap them [of energy].

"As the game turned out, the possession turned out to be pretty low, so probably a better assessment [was needed] there of maybe needing the ball but also not wanting to run it from your own end. So there's a balance there that we need to strike and we didn't get it quite right on the weekend."

While time is fast running out for Jones to implement his style of play on the Wallabies, the players do not, at least, have long to wait for another crack and the opportunity to earn back the respect of supporters who were only last week optimistic about what impact the veteran coach could have on the national team.

Standing in their way at Parramatta's CommBank Stadium will be Michael Cheika's Pumas, the presence of the former Wallabies coach adding yet another intriguing angle to a match that is suddenly incredibly important for both sides.

Another defeat would leave the Wallabies with only back-to-back Bledisloe Cup games, and a final World Cup warm-up game against tournament hosts France, to secure a win under Jones before they face Georgia in Paris on Sept. 9.

And White believes the reality check the Wallabies received in Pretoria was not necessarily the worst thing either.

"Going back to Perth in [2019], we had a good win and we glossed over a lot of things, we certainly can't gloss over anything on the weekend," White reflected on the Wallabies' big win over the All Blacks from four years ago.

"And there were opportunities there [in Pretoria]; obviously we went over there with an opportunity to win the game and create a bit of history, and [we] fell a long way short. But now the opportunity is to see where we fell short, and we fell short quite a way, and to really look at those areas.

"Now we know where we are, there was no sugarcoating, we were straight into it after the game in areas that we weren't up to scratch in, that we need to find answers in. And we've spent the last two days finding those solutions because there are plenty of problems. But we're not about the problems, we're about solutions and finding them quickly because we've got [four] games before we're into it [at the World Cup].

"They're the world champs, they're a bloody good side, but things can turn quickly in rugby and can turn quickly in seven days... we've seen it plenty of times in footy and in sport that a week's a pretty short time, but a long time in sport."