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Sport

Rugby: 'A long way to go', Australia coach Rennie frustrated by another draw

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia coach Dave Rennie was once again left a frustrated man after his young side displayed familiar shortcomings and recorded their third draw in six tests this season.

Two weeks ago against Argentina, it was the failure of Australia to turn pressure into points and kill off the game that allowed the Pumas to rescue a 15-15 draw.

On Saturday against the same opposition, the Wallabies again dominated possession and field position but trailed by seven points going into the final quarter before fighting back to 16-16.

Another failing has been in discipline and after captain Michael Hooper was shown a yellow card, lock Lukhan Salakaia-Loto saw red for a high hit to leave his team mates short-handed as they chased the game in the last 20 minutes.

“Challenging conditions tonight, they defend very well and discipline let us down at key times,” said Rennie.

“We showed a lot of character tonight, seven points down and reduced to 14 men and I thought we controlled it pretty well, played in the right places and got our rewards.

“(But) we’ve got to turn pressure into points. We had opportunities, didn’t we? And they were able to grab theirs.”

Reece Hodge will be in the spotlight after failing to convert late, potentially match-winning, penalties in one draw against New Zealand and two against Argentina this year.

“I feel a bit sorry for him,” said Rennie. “He’s kicked well... and there weren’t many lining up to make that shot. It would have been nice if he’d kicked that, but it is what it is.”

Rennie took over at the start of the season and will be looking to build a side for the 2023 World Cup after a disappointing quarter-final exit in Japan last year.

“We’ve got a long way to go, we’re going to get a lot better,” he added.

“There’s no lack of heart, no lack of effort but we’ve got to be way more clinical. Frustrating, but I’m certainly proud of the effort in the last 20 with 14 men.”

Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Ken Ferris

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