The Wallabies’ worrying trend of losing attacking steam in the second half is becoming a cause for concern in the build-up to next year’s World Cup.
Australia carried all the momentum into halftime against Ireland in Dublin but couldn’t go on with it, scoring just three second-half points in the 26-23 loss on Saturday (Sunday AEDT).
Previous Tests against France and Wales followed a similar pattern, with only one of Australia’s eight tries scored under Michael Cheika coming after halftime.
The Wallabies have scored most of their points in the first half of the past six Tests and centre Matt Toomua admits it’s a puzzling problem.
“The second half has been a bit of an issue for us throughout the whole year,” said Toomua, who made an impressive return at inside centre against Ireland.
“I don’t have any answers as to why. If I did, you would probably have seen it out there.
“But you can see the game actually tighten up towards the end there, so whether that’s teams being aware of the situation, I’m not sure.”
The Wallabies have been worked hard in training under Cheika but players insist fatigue is not playing a part.
Australia will be able to leave everything on the pitch against England at Twickenham on Saturday in their last Test of the season.
England inflicted the Wallabies’ only loss of last year’s tour and Toomua – who looks certain to retain his starting spot – admitted memories of the 20-13 loss 12 months ago would serve as motivation.
“It was probably the loss that hurt us most last year,” Toomua said.
“We won’t be short of motivation but you never are at international level.”
Australia need to avoid defeat to prevent their worst European campaign since 2005.
“Three losses in a row to finish the year wouldn’t be great but we’re doing a lot of hard work and a lot of right things so we know we’re moving forward and we’ll start getting the results,” Toomua said.
“Hopefully, that starts this week but you definitely want to finish the year with a win.”