Their pride may have taken a hit but the Wallabies insist their confidence hasn’t been mortally wounded by their latest Bledisloe Cup embarrassment.
Players and coaches are back at work ahead of Saturday’s second Test against New Zealand at Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium, which Australia must win to keep the series alive.
Barring a form reversal of epic proportions or a sudden All Blacks capitulation, that seems highly unlikely – especially considering the Wallabies haven’t won across the ditch since 2001.
But after picking through the wreckage of last weekend’s demoralising 54-34 belting in Sydney, defence coach Nathan Grey said the team was staying stubbornly optimistic.
“No, they haven’t been wounded,” Grey said.
“It’s a matter of looking where we can improve things.
“The guys are resilient, they’re professional football players. They go through situations where they see things go wrong.
“Us, as coaches, look at where we can improve things and we work together to find those solutions. This week has been no different.”
The Wallabies have set up camp in Christchurch and will shift their training operations to Dunedin on Thursday evening.
There is one statistic they can hang their hat on as they slug through the final days of New Zealand’s bone-chilling winter – although they lost, they were only one point short of the highest score ever posted against their great rivals.
But most of their tries came in ‘garbage time’, with the All Blacks up by as much as 54-6 early in the second half, and Steve Hansen admitted they let themselves be “seduced” by the scoreboard.
That sort of talk spells more danger for the Wallabies, who should be braced for another ferocious opening from a side looking to atone for an uncharacteristically incomplete performance.
“Starting off really well is a big focus for this week and with defence, just sticking to our structures and trusting each other to make our tackles and back each other up,” winger Henry Speight said.
“That’s one of the main focuses we’ve looked into. You can’t let in that much points and try and chase them down.”