Kurtley Beale, the Australian playmaker, has appealed to Australian rugby fans to stick with the team and not abandon them after a poor defensive performance in their 54 – 34 defeat against New Zealand over the weekend.

The team had hoped to cast aside some of the gloom hanging over Australian rugby following a poor Super Rugby season both on and off the field. However, they found themselves trailing 40 – 6 at half-time.

Beale, who was playing in his first Test in close to two years, scored a try during Australia’s second half fight back but he was also guilty of poor play as the team leaked eight tries in the first forty-eight minutes of the match.

Speaking after the match Beale said, “We kind of let ourselves down in that first half. We are working hard, we do care and we love playing rugby for Australia. As a group, we’re going to keep playing rugby and try and deliver the brand of rugby that everyone wants to see. We’re just going to keep focusing on that and hopefully everybody can just stick by us.”

Michael Cheika was hugely disappointed by his team’s poor defensive performance on Saturday but he remained confident that the team can turn things around.

“There’s no 1, 2, 3 step process for that type of stuff,” he said. “It comes down to a deep belief between players. This group of players here, they’ve got a very strong connection.”

He said that over the past month he has seen the connection develop between the players and that the weekend’s problems are a “roadblock” in front of the team that may slow them down but ultimately it won’t stop them.