The Wallabies' loss to Samoa at the weekend was the most embarrassing result in Australian history, commentators said Monday, accusing the national side of taking inexcusable liberties.
The Samoan underdogs claimed their greatest-ever victory with a humiliating 32-23 upset of the Wallabies - ranked No.2 on the IRB standings - in Sydney on Sunday.
Newspapers showed little mercy for the Wallabies ahead of this weekend's Tri-Nations opener against South Africa in Sydney and less than two months out from the World Cup.
"The Wallabies may be second on the International Rugby Board rankings and the Samoans 10th but that does not excuse all the liberties the Australian team took in this match, both before the kick-off and after it," The Australian's Wayne Smith said.
"Having jeered the South Africans for sending over their B team for Saturday's Tri-Nations opener, the Wallabies then passed on the same snub to Samoa by selecting a side top-heavy with players from sides at the bottom of the Super Rugby ladder.
"There was no selection safety net, no settling influence anywhere, with every pressure point left vulnerable and exposed."
Wallaby great David Campese said the Wallabies deserved what they received.
"You just can't give guys Test caps for the sake of giving them Test match experience. It's wrong," Campese told The Sydney Morning Herald.
"I really could not understand what was going on out there. Don't those involved with the Wallabies understand that this is a World Cup year, and you don't fool around with your Test team? You play your best Test team, week in, week out."
Fellow World Cup winner Tim Horan said it was an embarrassing result for the Wallabies.
"I hope this result stings the Wallabies. It would be easy to say Samoa's stunning upset victory was helped by the fact some of Australia's frontline players were not selected, but that would be letting the hosts off lightly. They were embarrassed," Horan said in The Daily Telegraph.
"The Wallabies can't pass this result off. They were outplayed by a team that out-planned them, out-muscled them in defence and out-enthused them at the breakdown.
"If there was complacency in the Australian camp, it is surely gone now."
Sunday's shock eclipsed Australia's ignominious 16-11 loss to Tonga in 1973 in Brisbane, The Australian said.
"It's not just the margin of defeat that makes this the most embarrassing result in Australian rugby history, eclipsing that infamous loss of 38 years ago," it said.
"It's that Rocky Elsom's side never seriously looked like winning. At least the 1973 Wallabies were always in with a chance, even if, like yesterday, they were outscored four tries to two."
The Herald's Greg Growden said the Wallabies had learnt their lesson from the Samoan humiliation and would recall all their big names to play the Springboks in the Tri-Nations on Saturday.
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