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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 20 November 2018

Rugby Championship: Will Genia says Wallabies must toughen up mentally

Australia scrum-half says teammates guilty of switching off in opening losses to All Blacks
Will Genia says lapses in concentration by Australia have cost them dear in their opening two Rugby Championship fixtures, both defeats to New Zealand. Reuters

Australia scrum-half Will Genia says his teammates must toughen up mentally after admitting lapses of concentration cost them dearly against New Zealand in the Bledisloe Cup Tests.

Australia have lost six of their past seven games, and ceded the Bledisloe Cup to New Zealand for the 16th consecutive year after a 40-12 hammering in Auckland at the weekend and a 38-13 thrashing in Sydney the week before.

They are working to regroup ahead of a Rugby Championship clash with South Africa in Brisbane on Saturday, with the Springboks also on the back foot after being beaten 32-19 by Argentina in Mendoza.

In both games against the All Blacks, the Wallabies held their own in the first half but were blown away in the second period as they lost focus.

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"We defended well off turnover ball in both first halves but then they just took us to pieces in the second half of both games," Genia told reporters.

"It's just moments of lapses ... in concentration that lets us down."

The influential 30-year-old No 9 said it was a key area they have been working on.

"In the heat of the battle, not listening to that voice in your head which tells you to give up or not chase - it's just things like that," Genia said

"If we were just half a step earlier, we'd go a long way to solving a lot of those problems in the turnover."

Asked why professional athletes, many of them vastly experienced, were having mid-game lapses, the 88-Test veteran said it was something they were still trying to work out.

"The biggest thing for us is that we just have guys who are - in moments during games - just not doing their jobs," he said.

"If we can get guys who are doing their jobs every single time and not covering for other blokes, it makes things a lot easier with and without the ball."