MELBOURNE — They might have scored a record number of points against the All Blacks — but that wasn’t the key statistic from a dreamy Saturday night in Perth for Bledisloe I.
No, the number the Wallabies should be sticking to the walls at their hotel in Melbourne and training base as Scotch College should be four.
That number is the fewest penalties the Wallabies have conceded since they smashed the United States 67-5 at the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand.
The four penalties conceded was half the number the All Blacks gave up and just the second time in the past 16 Tests that the Wallabies have won the penalty count.
No wonder All Blacks coach Steve Hansen was livid.
“It’s dumb. It’s dumb footy. We’ve got to be smarter than that,” Hansen said, referring chiefly to Ardie Savea’s crack at Wallabies captain Michael Hooper.
“It hurts everyone. Our change room there is very disappointed because of how we performed, and that’s how it should be.
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“Our discipline was poor.
“We double piggy backed into the (Scott Barrett) red card, and there were numerous occasions when we got offside when we didn’t need to.”
The flashpoint of the Wallabies’ 47-26 win came when French referee Jerome Garces showed Barrett a red card for a shoulder charge on Hooper.
In the wake of the game changing red, England coach Eddie added fuel to the fire when he hit out at World Rugby’s inconsistency when it came to handing out cards.
“We need to get some consistency into that area of the game. In the World Cup if you lose a player through a red card as New Zealand did yesterday, it makes the game very difficult,” said Jones, following his side’s 33-19 victory over Wales.
Speaking to reporters on Monday, Wallabies lock Rory Arnold said keeping on the right side of the referee was something the group was conscious of.
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“It’s different for tall fellas,” Arnold said.
“But obviously trying to keep as low as you can and get that body height down.
“Obviously the ref had to make a decision there. But it’s there to protect the players, their wellbeing and it’s unfortunate what happened. It’s part of the game.
“I’ve always copped a few penalties here and there for high tackles and I’ve got to watch out and got to drop my hips and stay a bit lower there, but I’m always thinking about it.”
For years the Wallabies have spoken about their desire to improve their discipline.
But rarely has their talk matched their deeds on the field.
Taniela Tupou said the issue had become a major work-on for him and the Wallabies.
“It’s something that we’ve been working on at training with Greysey (defence coach Nathan Grey) and Cheik’s been hard on us at training and being offside,” said Tupou, fresh from penning a new four-year deal which will keep him in Australian rugby until 2023.
“Obviously, for me, I’ve been really bad for being offside.
“We’ve been working really hard on that training and, I guess, it worked for us at the game and hopefully we can continue to work on that.”
Tupou’s consciousness about his own discipline comes less than a month after he was shown a yellow card for a late cleanout during the Wallabies’ 37-17 loss to the Springboks at Ellis Park.
The ‘Tongan Thor’ said that he had been actively showing restraint over the past two Tests to not put the Wallabies in another vulnerable position.
“When playing against Argentina this one time I went to hit the ruck and same thing as happened in Africa, so I stopped and thought, ‘no, I’m not going to do that, because I don’t want any card’.
“I learnt my lesson, so I’ve got to be careful.”