Only when they do that regularly can they push for the number one ranking
The Wallabies are starting to believe in themselves after their last-gasp win over Wales at the weekend clinched the Test series, Australian pundits and newspapers said Monday in mixed reactions.
Mike Harris kicked a penalty under huge pressure after the full-time siren to give the Wallabies a 25-23 win in Melbourne Saturday to deny shattered Wales their first win in Australia for 43 years, and secure the three-match series.
Just weeks after lambasting the Wallabies following their inept 9-6 loss to Six Nations wooden-spooners Scotland, the Aussie press hailed the national team for "slowly but surely winning the tight ones".
"As coach Robbie Deans realises, it is only when they do that regularly can they properly push for the number one international rugby ranking," The Sydney Morning Herald's Greg Growden wrote.
"In recent times, the Wallabies were guilty of falling away late in Tests, but the past two internationals against Wales have shown they have the will to play to the last second and finish on top - even if by the tiniest of margins.
"When they consistently do that, the belief that they are impenetrable just grows. From an All Blacks background, Deans knows that intimately."
Australia head to Sydney aiming to sweep the series after winning the opening Test 27-19 in Brisbane.
The Herald said that Deans has virtually assured that he will be the Australian coach until at least the end of next season after the British and Irish Lions tour.
"Now Deans can talk about how his team just got ahead of South Africa 11-9 in last year's World Cup quarter-final, a few months earlier succeeding 14-9 in Durban, beating the All Blacks 26-24 in Hong Kong in 2010 and also the Springboks 41-39 in Bloemfontein that year," said Growden.
The Australian newspaper's Wayne Smith said the Wallabies had "dodged a bullet" at the weekend.
"There was a huge sense of relief that the Wallabies had dodged a bullet, coupled with a fair dollop of admiration for the way they held their nerve when all seemed lost, to manoeuvre themselves into a position to benefit from any critical last-gasp rulings by referee Chris Pollock," he said.
"Yes, they're winning, and heaven knows that's the most important thing as far as most Australians are concerned. But winning is not enough.
"For the good of Australian rugby, the Wallabies must do more than execute. They must excite. The men in gold cannot become men in grey."