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Wallabies boss absolves Folau after Rugby championship loss

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika admits Israel Folau squandered an easy chance to seal victory over Argentina in their Rugby Championship clash but he feels his decision not to pass to an unmarked Bernard Foley was “irrelevant” in the grander scheme of things on Saturday night.
Folau had the ball in hand and was at a proverbial fork in the road seconds after the final siren sounded at Cbus Super Stadium on the Gold Coast, with Australia trailing 23-19.
He could have passed to his right, where Foley was completely open and looked certain to score in the corner or, he could have kept the ball and sought the glory of the matchwinner for himself.
Folau chose the second option but butchered it completely, spilling the ball to ensure Los Pumas won their first match on Australian soil in 35 years.
Cheika however, deployed the 29-year-old in a hybrid role, rotating him through the middle, out wide and occasionally at the back to keep Los Pumas guessing. Folau finished with more runs (13) and more meters gained (127) than any other Australian player.
Speaking on the Folau’s decision to keep the ball, Cheika said: “Yeah, but it’s irrelevant. It doesn’t come down to one instance. Yes, you win the game by the score, but the performance was still the same. If the last pass goes, that doesn’t change anything for the other 79 minutes and 59 seconds of what went on.”
Instead, Cheika believes the reason for the loss boils down to a lack of enthusiasm and ‘energy in the key moments’.
“There just wasn’t enough enthusiasm is what it all boils down to and you need to be accountable for that,” he said. “There just wasn’t enough energy in the key moments.”

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