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The Wallabies are pledging to perform versus Ireland as they look to help extend the contract of their “phenomenal coach” Dave Rennie past next year’s Rugby World Cup.
Ahead of their clash with the world No.1 side in Dublin on Saturday (Sunday 7am AEDT) veteran halfback Nic White stated the Wallabies were letting Rennie down.
Suffering a shock 29-28 loss to Italy, the Kiwi mentor sadly entered the history books as the first Wallabies coach in 39 years to fall to the Azzurri.
It frustratingly came after they delivered one of their best performances of the year versus France, despite it also ending in a one-point defeat.
If the Australians lose to Ireland and Wales in the remaining spring tour games Rennie’s win rate will drop to just 28 per cent – their worst since 1958.
While his tenure through to the World Cup has been assured, it effectively crushes Rennie’s hopes of a contract extension before next year’s global showpiece in France.
Speaking from their base in Dublin, White said the team had spoken about playing for their coach.
“We need to step it up as a group and this week’s a chance for us to show how much we care for Dave and the coaching staff,” he told reporters.
“We’re speaking about putting out a performance for him.
“We do absolutely love being coached by Dave, he’s a phenomenal coach … the coaching staff here is world class and we as a playing group aren’t there yet.
“A lot of the pressure that’s come on him and the coaching staff is to do with what we’ve put out on the field and a whole lot of moments that we could have controlled as players.”
Rennie paid the price for resting the majority of his starting XV, including stalwarts White, Michael Hooper and captain James Slipper, to give those with minimal game time an opportunity to perform against Italy.
Barring injury, including fullback Tom Bank who has left the tour with an ankle issue, the team is set to be back at full strength.
White said they needed to channel their disappointment into the remaining matches.
“We need to lean on it for sure – it’s about channelling it – we spoke about that,” the 32-year-old said.
“Boys were proper gutted after the game .. we don’t want that to hamper our performance, we need to channel it the right away.
“It’s about immersing yourself in the role for each position, getting the role clarity right.
“We’re coming up against very good side and we’re going to have to put out a good performance because anything short of that isn’t going to be good enough.”
Poor discipline has been telling statistic through the year – hitting a new low of 16 penalties against the Italians.
White said it continued to be a talking point within the team and felt it came down to trust.
“Sometimes it’s easy to be really disciplined when there’s not a whole lot of pressure on the side – you don’t feel desperate to make a difference and look for a quick fix,” the 66-Test veteran said.
“We’re seeing a lot of these penalties come from good intentions; guys trying to get off the line really quickly and are offside, trying to make a difference in breakdowns but maybe going a bit too far.
“We just spoke about trusting the system a little bit more and knowing if we stay in the fight long enough it will get there.”