Wallabies sign off season of lowlights in diabolical fashion

There have been many miserable losses during Michael Cheika's three-year reign as Wallabies coach, but none as diabolical as what occurred at Murrayfield. As Wallabies captain Michael Hooper succinctly put it after Scotland's record 29-point win: "It's a real low point."

So much for beating the All Blacks not that long ago. It doesn't really mean much now when in just over a week England and now Scotland have exposed the Wallabies many inadequacies- most particularly that it is an outfit lacking heart, soul and can easily be distracted.

Eddie Jones and Gregor Townsend have also shown up Cheika as a coach, and questions have to be asked about this team's wayward direction.

Not that long ago, it was expected that the Wallabies would beat England and Scotland. However since Cheika has taken over, England have enjoyed five straight wins over Australia, while Scotland are now boasting two in a row, while a befuddling refereeing decision cruelled them in the 2015 World Cup quarterfinal.

In the England-Australia Test at Twickenham the previous week, Jones outsmarted Cheika. His game tactics, in particular the use of the short grubber kick and wherever possible exposing the lack of pace of the Wallaby outer backs by turning them around- was crucial in England enjoying an easy 30-6 win. Ignore all the complaints about the referee, Australia were completely out-played and out-thought by England.

For the Scotland Test, Cheika's selection skills must again be queried. Too often there has been a desperate touch to his selection process- plucking players- quite a few of them clearly not up to the required standard- from here, there and everywhere. The smallest club in the world is those in the Australian Super Rugby ranks who haven't been picked in a Wallabies squad. You can count them on your fingers.

Some close to the team also complain that Cheika has his favourites. All coaches do. But what a coach should never do is select someone for sentimental reasons. The choice of Stephen Moore ahead of Tatafu Polota-Nau as starting hooker for the Scotland Test, form wise, did not add up. Moore's long career has for some time been on a slow burn, while Polota-Nau has in recent Tests been one of the Wallabies most dynamic forwards. Polota-Nau is without doubt Australia's best hooker.

However, the announcement during the week that this was going to be Moore's last game of rugby coincided with him being promoted to the starting XV. If Cheika had decided to give Moore preferential treatment, then that was wrong. Bad, bad coaching.

And Moore hardly repaid Cheika, as his farewell performance was forgettable and mistake ridden. There was definitely no curtain call. Thankfully after 60 minutes, Polota-Nau was beckoned onto the field, but by that time the Test was long gone. As problematic is that under Cheika's reign, the Wallabies have constantly found themselves in trouble through lack of on-field discipline. Wallabies are repeatedly being sent to the sinbin.

This time around there was a red card. And it was justified. Sekope Kepu's action in bounding into the ruck and deliberately shoulder-charging flanker Hamish Watson was pathetic. French referee Pascal Gauzere had no option but to send the silly prop off.

As ridiculous was Kurtley Beale complaining to the referee after he was sent to the sinbin for deliberately tapping the ball over the sideline in the final minutes. For Beale to try to convince Gauzere that he was attempting to scoop the ball up was laughable. He must have thought the referee was Mr Magoo. No wonder Gauzere completely ignored Beale's babble and shooed him away.

At least the Wallabies did not use as an excuse that due to Kepu's kamikaze efforts they had little chance when down 14 men for half the game. They knew exactly why they fell apart.

Their skill level is not good enough, and at the end of an excessive season, they had nothing left. They were slow. That was shown when midway during the second half, Wallabies lock Rob Simmons tried to chase after Scotland fullback Sean Maitland. It was like watching the legendary Victorian potato farmer Cliffy Young shuffle his way along the highway during the 1983 Sydney-Melbourne Ultramarathon. Cliffy won. Simmons didn't come anywhere near Maitland.

But don't start me about Simmons. Just another confounding selection.

So at last the long and often excruciating Wallabies season ends with a mere seven wins and two draws from 14 Tests. Not many highlights. Many lowlights. And the pressure keeps building on the coach.