MELBOURNE: The Wallabies, under fire after a surprise home defeat to Scotland, can become the best attacking team in the world once combinations are bedded down, according to flyhalf Bernard Foley.
Australia lost 24-19 to Scotland in Sydney on Saturday to slip to fourth in world rankings and trigger a firestorm of criticism from fans and local media.
New South Wales Waratah Foley has worn much of the flak, for missing a penalty and a conversion attempt at the weekend and getting sin-binned for a shoulder charge in the first half, with the Wallabies conceding a try while he was off the field.
"I can honestly say that this Australian team can be the best attack in the world and we're going to keep pursuing that and tirelessly working on it to make sure it gets there," Foley told local media in Brisbane on Tuesday.
"It's just making sure we're all on the same page when we run out there.
"When we go out and execute exactly what we want to do, I don't think there's a defence that can stop the attacking abilities of the players in our team.
"That's what we're striving for and it's not going to gel in one week.
"We have to build it together, keep spending time as a combination and keep growing those connections and that's what we're aiming to do."
A review of the fumbled passes and turnovers during the Scotland game might give supporters less conviction that the Wallabies have the skills to challenge the defence of the world champion All Blacks, who destroyed Samoa 78-0 on Saturday.
The Wallabies also had plenty of possession deep in Scottish territory to find a late try and change the result but were unable to find a way through despite the urgings of home fans.
Australia play Italy at Lang Park on Saturday, their last test before taking on the All Blacks in the Rugby Championship opener in August and will hope the combinations can gel for a rousing victory to ease the pressure.
Coach Michael Cheika felt moved to phone one disgruntled Wallabies fan who slammed the team in an 800-word post on Facebook over the weekend, and urged him to keep the faith.
Foley said fans were unable to see the work he and his team mates did away from the game.
"The way that fans see it is only the 80 minutes and how you perform," he said.
"When you don't perform, you open yourself up to criticism."
(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by John O'Brien)