Not everything went the Wallabies’ way in 2022, but it hasn’t stopped Australian rugby fans from daring to dream almost nine months out from the World Cup.
The Wallabies showed plenty of promise and character throughout a tough 2022 season, which saw them lose a number of thrilling Tests by agonizing margins.
Australia began their international campaign with a thrilling two-point win over England in Perth, before losing their next two Tests against their traditional rivals in Brisbane and Sydney.
Those two losses were the beginning of an unwanted streak for the men in gold, who lost six of their next eight Test matches before heading to Europe.
While the Wallabies were out of form, they certainly weren’t out of the fight, having shown glimpses of their potential in a win over South Africa and a controversial loss to the All Blacks in Melbourne.
But pressure was beginning to mount on coach Dave Rennie and the playing group a year out from the World Cup in France.
After beating Scotland by one-point at Murrayfield, the Wallabies lost their next three Test by three points or less – including a first ever loss to Italy.
While they silenced some of their critics with a stunning comeback win over Wales in Cardiff last weekend, Australia still finished their end-of-season tour with two wins from five matches.
But let’s not forget that this was a team who had to overcome some tough odds after many key players were struck down with injuries.
While the Wallabies would’ve wanted to win more Test matches this year, they will still able to convince some of their fans that they’re capable of going far at next year’s World Cup.
Reflecting on the @wallabies season. We had the opportunity to beat every team we played which makes me think: If we have good luck with injuries, keep @LordLaurie58 involved, and get on a roll at the right time, we can genuinely win the @rugbyworldcup.
— Ben Alexander (@benny_alexander) November 27, 2022
Agreed. I think there was some huge overreacting following the Italy loss. They were in absolutely every game they played on the spring tour. Very competitive side. Agree with you mate.
— Brent Ford (@BrentFord26) November 27, 2022
Prep needs to start now within the SR sides. Going into camp in June needing to get up to international standard in not a good starting place.
But agree the team is better than results indicate, and a return of players like Kerevi, Koriabete and Cooper will only add to it
— Conor Tierney (@ConorTee) November 27, 2022
This RWC is really going to be interesting, as a south African, I’m truly excited to see what the aussies are gonna do, great team they are building
— chadley (@ChadleyWilliam2) November 28, 2022
Some very bad losses as well eg NZ, SA and argentina. Hot and cold still a problem. Some very poor discipline and inability to cover key injuries eg quade and kerevi.
Full strength squad with key overseas players plus iron discipline will take us far in RWC. If not, we bomb out.
— big mac (@bigmac_ak) November 27, 2022
I agree. And given their draw and run to the final, there is a genuine chance.
— observantfox (@observantfox1) November 27, 2022
Never a truer word said Benny A. This was a ripper tour, the notebook is full. Our Aus A team beat Wales in Wales. The dress rehearsal complete!! Time to fire up and bank some more work! We are def a late finals chance at Le RWC
— 💉💉Dave Oliver (@daveoliver81) November 27, 2022
Wallabies never give up attitude is huge.
— HB (@HBeelie) November 27, 2022
💯 our pool will get the cobwebs out… hopefully the injury curse ends
— Ash Carolan (@AshCarolan1) November 27, 2022
The Wallabies really seemed to turn a corner in their Test of the season, having come back from 21 points down to beat Wales in a dramatic clash at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium.
Rising star Mark Nawaqanitawase scored two tries in 10 minutes to give the visitors a glimmer of hope, before replacement hooker Lachlan Lonergan crossed for the match winner with less than two minutes to play.
Speaking to the media after the Test, and as reported earlier this week, coach Dave Rennie said the team “could have been going home with five victories or no victories” after a tough tour.
“It’s good for our group. We lost three on the bounce by close scores and all games we could have won,” Rennie said.
“Our supporters have been put through the ringer with us, so it’s nice to get a result.”