Australia coach Dave Rennie has offered an unimpressed retort to Andrew Mehrtens after the former All Blacks star offered a grim picture of the fate that could await the Wallabies against England.
Rennie, who himself conceded that his side had been far from their best in their 15-13 defeat by Scotland at Murrayfield on Monday morning (AEDT), did not sound overly happy to hear how Stan Sport pundit Mehrtens had stuck the boot into the disjointed Australian performance.
“I worry a little bit for the Wallabies, because if they keep muddling through like they have in these last two games (against Japan and now Scotland), if they play like that again they’ll get a heap put on them,” Mehrtens, the 70-times capped All Black noted.
When told of this verdict in Edinburgh, New Zealander Rennie responded: “Look, he’s a smart man, Mehrts but, no, I don’t agree with that assessment.
“Scotland is a strong team, it sounds like he’s disrespecting their ability.
“They were very competitive in the Six Nations. They lost with a late penalty against Ireland, lost by a point to Wales and would have won the Six Nations if they’d won those games. They’re a really good side.”
And Rennie, despite frustration at witnessing the end of a five-match win streak, pointed out some reasons to be cheerful, suggesting: “We didn’t play anywhere near as well as we’d like to, so we know that, but I thought we defended really well, created multiple turnovers when Scotland had a lot of possession.
“It was a tough game because we just struggled to get things going. We got penalised a bit in possession when we thought we had them under pressure.
“We struggled to get our game going in the last 20 too, they did a pretty good job defending the maul and there were a handful of decisions that we made, and that the ref (Romain Poite) made that shaped the last 20 minutes.
“We’ve got to take it on the chin – we’ve got more in us – and we certainly need to be a lot better against England.”
Eddie Jones’ side hammered Tonga 69-3 in their warm-up match for next Saturday’s Test, impressing Mehrtens who reckoned “England are a side that can pull out an amazing performance…they’re always full of confidence.”