No Eddie factor for Grey

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

There’ll be no intimidation factor for Nathan Grey as the Wallabies defence coach comes up against his former mentor in Eddie Jones.

Grey played under Jones in the latter end of his Wallabies career and said he hadn’t been caught up in any of the media games being played out.

“I’ve known Eddie for a long time and known him in Japan and coached against him in Japan and caught up with him over there when he was with Suntory,” he said.

“I’ve got a good relationship with Eddie.

“He’s a very good coach and his record speaks for itself.”

The Wallabies have been leaving much of the trash talking to Jones, with head coach Michael Cheika also playing it cool in the lead up to the opening Test.

Grey said they simply weren’t paying attention to any of the external conversations, concentrating on themselves.

Nathan Grey was coached by Eddie Jones. Photo: Getty ImagesOne of the grenades Jones has thrown is suggesting that the Wallabies defence has some fatal flaws but Grey wasn’t buying into that.

“I think all defensive systems have flaws in them but it’s just a matter of being able to expose them,” he said.

“We’re very confident in terms of the way we defend as a team and individually.

“That’s probably the most important thing, you have to make sure that individual one-on-one technique is up to scratch.

“It doesn’t matter how good your system is, if your one on one defence isn’t up to scratch, then you're going to be leaking metres and points.”

That one-on-one defence is likely to be tested across the park, no more obviously than at 13, bringing up an obvious question

Cheika has already espoused the defensive strengths of incumbent outside centre Tevita Kuridrani and Grey played a solid block when asked whether Israel Folau, who he has been mentoring through a position switch at the Waratahs, would be able to step up defensively in the midfield.

“He is comfortable in that front line, he is also comfortable out the back and he’s good in the air,” he said.

“There's certainly a couple of options there for the team and it’ll be matter of mixing and matching what’s going to be the best for us.”