Michael Hooper was left feeling helpless from the sidelines as his Wallabies endured a rollercoaster of emotions in their loss to the Pumas.
Back-to-back tries put Australia ahead with just five minutes to go in the contest. However, Argentina had the final say with a touch-and-go try at the death.
It seemed for all the hullabaloo about Dave Rennie’s exit and Eddie Jones’ arrival, the same story held true – the Wallabies were just too ill-disciplined.
Watch every match of the 2023 Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup on the home of rugby, Stan Sport. All matches streaming ad free, live and on demand
In their first Rugby Championship match they conceded 13 penalties against South Africa and went one better in their Argentina clash and let in one yellow card.
All told, Argentina prevailed 34-31 at Western Sydney Stadium.
“Last night was so tough,” said Hooper on Nine’s Sports Sunday.
“It’s not what you want as a player. You don’t want to be sitting on the sidelines, and particularly when it comes down to the wire.
“The best influence you can have is on the field but I wasn’t there, so that was tough.
AS IT HAPPENED: Pumas stun Wallabies in thriller, All Blacks outclass Springboks
READ MORE: Origin feud erupts between Fittler, ex-Blues teammate
READ MORE: ‘Frustrated’ Roosters coach’s grim Walker admission
“We weren’t pleased with our shift in momentum. Our let-offs, our discipline again was an issue,” he added.
Argentina breaks thousands of Australian hearts at the death
“Then, in terms of just little mistakes, it’s not any one thing that’s really killing us at the moment and allowing the other teams to stay in, it’s a multitude of different things and different players across the field. No one person is to blame but we’ve got to tighten it up.”
The Wallabies were level with the Pumas at 10 points apiece at the half-time break before the flurry of tries.
Hooper said head coach Eddie Jones was encouraged at the break, but ultimately believes the difference was discipline.
Argentina only let in 10 penalties, by comparison.
“We liked our set piece. We absorbed a lot of pressure defensively. We just needed to get down Argentina’s end,” he said.
“Unfortunately, you give away that many penalties. Penalties are so important in this game. They kick straight into your half and they’re pressuring you. We weren’t able to get the pressure off our backs last night.
“We’re not far off. We’re close. Even though sometimes the margins look big. In sport it can be so little sometimes.
“We’ve just got to tighten up our discipline, be better in the skill areas in the game,. And then all of a sudden we’re applying a lot more pressure on the opposition.”
Hooper was sidelined for the second Rugby Championship contest due to a calf strain, which he said should be gone for the first clash with the All Blacks.
Hooper opens up on retirement plans
In any case, the clock is ticking on Hooper’s time at the Wallabies with the co-captain confirming this year will be his last with the team.
“That will be my last,” he said when asked if this year’s Rugby World Cup was his swansong.
“In terms of my career, I’m loving where I’m at at the moment. I don’t have a decided future and I’m enjoying being in that.
“It’s a new part of my career I haven’t experienced before. You get locked into a contract for so long, it’s nice to be on the other side of that and also daunting at the same time.
“I’m enjoying where I’m at and just really enjoying the moment.”
For a daily dose of the best of the breaking news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here!
Eddie Jones’ remarkable career in pictures: Wallabies coach’s prescient Bazball warning for England