Cheika pleased with Wallabies improvements
RUGBY UNION: There will be much to ponder until the Wallabies' next Test against Fiji next June.
But coach Michael Cheika is keeping his chin up and remaining positive after a year which has seen his side lose nine of its 15 games.
And that now includes 0-4 against England after Eddie Jones' men inflicted another crushing defeat on the Wallabies in Twickenham.
"We have had two disappointing finishes to 2015 (when they lost the World Cup final to New Zealand) and 2016 but we have definitely improved a lot as a team,” said Cheika.
"There are many young lads now that have Test experience, and we've got some other young lads that we are looking at bringing in next year as well.
"I'm seeing the improvements we are making, there are tries that we have scored here on this tour that we wouldn't have scored last year.
"We are making the investments we should have been making in 2008-2009, getting a clear idea around how everyone needs to play with a certain skill set if we want to play this running style of play.
"We will continue to grow our group in 2017 so by the time we get to 2018 we will have a good selection to choose from and can narrow that down.”
After making the early running against an England side aiming for its 14th straight victory, and leading 10-0 at one stage, the Wallabies conceded 24 points in the second half.
Cheika said they needed to be "40 minutes better”.
"First half all told, all they got was the drop ball and toe through for the try,” he said.
"They were always going to get some momentum, and the times we needed to break that momentum, we made errors.”
One was glaring - when England scrumhalf Ben Youngs grabbed a tap from a penalty, dummied opposite number Nick Phipps and easily crossed the line, extending the hosts' lead to 12 points.
"We turned out backs. That was unforgivable,” Cheika said.
The coach's frustration grew as two tries to Sekope Kepu and Tevita Kuridrani were disallowed while a 72nd minute yellow card to Dane Haylett-Petty for a hit on England fullback Mike Brown ended the winger's night.
"I don't know what I can say. Obviously (it was) a bit disappointing, we were still chasing the game,” Cheika said, adding the send was a "bit rough” and a penalty may have been more warranted.
"If you watch anything in slow motion enough it's going to look late.
"Did it hurt us? It's always hard playing with 14 so it is what it is.”