(Reuters) – Australia coach Dave Rennie was left deflated by his side’s late loss against France on Saturday as the Wallabies missed out on a morale-boosting win over the 2023 Rugby World Cup hosts at their Stade de France stronghold on the outskirts of Paris.
Damian Penaud’s try five minutes from time earned Les Blues a 30-29 win over their visitors, who went into the game off the back of a similarly narrow victory over Scotland last week.
“It’s pretty quiet in the changing room,” said Rennie. “The guys are gutted because they emptied out the tanks tonight and we were just one error or one more controlled exit away from winning it.
“We’re all pretty disappointed, but I’m really rapt with the character and the attitude. No one gave us a chance to come here to Paris and take on a French side that’s been very impressive the last 15 months.
“We talked about playing without fear and competing hard and throwing everything at them and we did that for a big chunk of the game. Disappointing outcome, but proud of the effort.
“It’s a game of inches isn’t it? We got away with a tight one last week and we finished second tonight.”
The match was the second of five for the Wallabies on their current European tour, with Rennie’s side due to face Italy on Saturday before clashes with Ireland and Wales to round out the trip.
The New Zealander revealed he will make changes to his team for the Italy game with Lalakai Foketi, who capped a 95-metre try for the Wallabies, set to miss the meeting in Rome after suffering a shin injury in the first half.
“Lalakai’s injury looks pretty significant,” said Rennie. “He’ll have a scan tomorrow but it doesn’t look positive so we’ll make a call around whether we replace him and with who.
“We’ll definitely make changes next week. I talked about sharing the load.
“Playing five tests against Six Nations’ sides is pretty demanding, so we want to utilise the squad and give guys opportunities to impress, but we’re not going to do anything that doesn’t respect Italy either.”
(Reporting by Michael Church in Hong Kong, Editing by Michael Perry)