First Bledisloe, now Ashes - Australia's horror sporting weekend

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The Independent Online

The Australian media are reflecting on a disappointing weekend of sport after their national rugby and cricket teams both failed in their hunt for silverware.

The Wallabies will spend a seventh straight year without the Bledisloe Cup following Saturday night's one-point loss to the All Blacks, while the Australian cricket team surrendered their beloved Ashes urn this morning (NZT) after getting towelled up by England in the fifth and final test.

"Australia die a slow Ashes death as Poms celebrate" cried Sydney's Daily Telegraph in response to Australia's 197-run defeat at The Oval.

"Ricky Ponting's Ashes career has ended in heartache as he became the first Australian skipper in over a century to lose two series in England," wrote Ben Dorries.

"The Ashes are gone. So is Australia's No 1 Test ranking and its 14-year hold on world dominance."

In the Sydney Morning Herald, Jamie Pandaram struggled to believe Australia lost to the same English side they humiliated in the fourth test in Leeds.

"The shadows will now creep over Australia's selectors, coaches and players," he said.

"Ricky Ponting's side has now lost three of its past four series, but this one will hurt most.

"How England were allowed to come back into the series following their innings and 80-run loss at Headingley is difficult to fathom."

And while the Wallabies' defeat received less coverage than their cricketing cousins, they were not spared their share of criticism.

"The All Blacks must laugh at how dumb the Wallabies are at times," wrote Greg Growden in the Sydney Morning Herald, who called for mass changes following Australia's fifth consecutive loss to the All Blacks.

"Watch the last 10 minutes of Saturday night's patchy test match and you will soon be shaking your head.

"Yet again, the Wallabies were their own worst enemies by being brain dead when clear thinking was imperative."

And the Telegraph's lead rugby story summed up the Wallabies' woes with a simple equation: "No killer instinct = No silverware".

"There were clear signs of improvement for the Wallabies in their one-point defeat but so confoundingly slow is the side's overall progress, Deans even described his team as 'creeping moss'," wrote Iain Payten.

"Deans often talks about effecting lasting change for the Wallabies but it seems even he has joined the frustrated fans who can't see if it is a week away, a month away or a year away."

Sourced from: The New Zealand Herald