Ella unimpressed by Aussies

Former Australia star Mark Ella has unleashed a stinging tirade on the Wallabies, attacking the team's backline and accusing coach John Connolly of lacking the ability to improve the side. [more]

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Former Australia star Mark Ella has unleashed a stinging tirade on the Wallabies, attacking the team’s backline and accusing coach John Connolly of lacking the ability to improve the side.

Ella described the Wallabies’ recent 20-18 victory over South Africa as an embarrassment, after they began their Tri-Nations campaign with a 49-0 whitewash of the Springboks last month.

And he believes the narrow win last Saturday undid any improvement the Wallabies had made since the start of the international season.

"That was the worst game of international rugby I’ve ever seen," said Ella at a charity fund-raiser in Sydney. "It was an indictment on Australian rugby."

Ella was scathing in his assessment of the Wallabies’ backs, accusing them of not being able to cope with the pressure during a match.

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"There’s been a lot of pressure on John Connolly to work on the forwards and they’ve done OK," Ella continued.

"But we’ve got this so-called brilliant back line that goes missing as soon as the opposition gets tough."

Connolly was not spared, with the Wallabies coach accused of not showing enough tactical nous.

"We’re talking about tactics," Ella said. "John probably tried to play [the Test against South Africa on Saturday] as they did the first one.

"What we’ve got is no balance. We beat a side by 49 points to nil and three weeks later we want to kick the football – a joke as far as I’m concerned."

Ella cast doubts on whether Connolly was a good coach and foreshadowed a lean period for Australian rugby after the World Cup.

"Is he a good coach? I’m not sure," he said. "Australian rugby is going to struggle for a few years after the World Cup.

"No disrespect to John… he should’ve been the Australian coach 10 years ago. As it was, he was the last man standing and if there were two or three other coaches he would probably have still been the best person for the job.

"But after seven or eight games we are no better. In fact, Eddie Jones coached better over the last couple of years than what we saw last week."

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