Former Australia centre Rod Kafer has slammed the Wallabies’ management for adopting a forwards-based approach during their 13-9 defeat to New Zealand in the Tri-Nations tournament.
The Australians were held tryless for the first time in a Test match since November 2002, with their star-studded backline receiving little ball throughout Saturday’s clash.
Kafer, who was a member of the Wallabies’ squad in the 1999 World Cup and also played for the ACT Brumbies and Leicester in a glittering career, felt coach John Connolly relied too much on his forwards in Brisbane.
"I don’t think that suits Australia’s way of playing," Kafer told the Daily Telegraph.
"We talk about this wonderful backline but how many times did we hear Matt Giteau’s name, or Lote Tuqiri or Mark Gerrard? Hardly ever.
"I wonder if looking at the game, the coaching staff will maybe rethink what they’re doing."
Connolly was happy with the tactics he adopted against a tough All Blacks outfit.
"It’s very easy to sit back and pontificate on what could happen," said Connolly.
"This has got nothing to do with being conservative – in our previous Test, we scored six tries against South Africa for the first time.
"It’s about how you play New Zealand. If you get caught wide and isolated against them, they will nail you to the wall. You go wide when there is space.
"But to get that you’ve got to play close for a while. We did create opportunities. We just didn’t take them."
Forwards coach Michael Foley supported Connolly and felt it was narrow-minded to suggest Australia could only win matches through its backs.
"You can get obsessed with style and forget to look at the glaringly obvious that if an opposition team has a particular weakness, then that’s where you’re going to try and exploit them," he said.
"I think Australia has been a team that hasn’t had the strings to their bow to do that in recent years. We’re trying to develop that.
"If a couple of passes go to hand late in the game, we win a Bledisloe Cup. So I don’t think style cost us the game."