Wallabies couldn't care less about Hansen jibes

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Wallabies assistant Nathan Grey “couldn’t give a rat’s” about All Blacks coach Steve Hansen’s criticism of Michael Cheika.

Hansen, speaking after his own side’s win over Wales, said Cheika had erred in not returning fire to Eddie Jones’s barbs during the series.

“Cheika's not come back, he's letting Eddie have a free rein – to the point where it actually seems like he's letting Eddie bully him in the media," Hansen told reporters post-match.

"I don't know if that's because they know each other that well, or if there's a pecking order from the old days.

"That's gone on to the park, hasn't it?"

Grey said he hadn’t heard the comments but was focusing on using football to do the talking, not concerned by the purported media battle.

“I couldn't give a rat's,” he said.

“I'm so focused on what we need to do to prepare the players.

“In terms of manipulating the media, I don't think you guys are that stupid to be manipulated.

“It's a matter of going about, having a message and going about getting that message out here whatever that is, that's up to Eddie to do that.

Grey said his focus was trying to make a statement on the field, something he pointed to New Zealand as an example of.

“We're very focused on just preparing the team to play and because that's what we can control, we can't control what's written or what's printed, all we can control is our performance and  then you've got to let that do the talking,” he said.

“With all due respect to the All Blacks, I think they do a pretty good  job in terms of just delivering on the field and they do that consistently.

“I think Steve Hansen is a very good coach and I think he'll be focused more on preparing the players than worrying about trying to throw barbs our way if that's the way he wants to roll.”

Steve Hansen suggested Eddie Jones has won the war of words against the Wallabies. Photo: Getty ImagesIn terms of the on-field battle, Grey said the pain of a series loss would be instructive for the side’s newest faces.

“Since Michael's taken over the team at the start of 2014 Spring Tour, the team's been through a lot in terms of both success and not achieving what we want to achieve through the spring tour 2014 into 2015,” he said.

“You learn from all those experiences so exposing more guys to that level and then gelling as a group and having a stronger base line and a stronger group of players coming through is something that Australian rugby needs.”

Grey said he was heartened by the support from fans, with the Wallabies attracting almost 900,000 viewers in the second Test across Foxtel and free-to-air TV.

“The more people that are getting behind the Wallabies and supporting them the better,” he said.

“I think that comes from a combination of the way we want to play the game but also our results and how we deliver ourselves both on and off the field and that's a good reflection so it's good to hear.”

Wallabies prop James Slipper echoed those comments, with a 0-2 start to a new World Cup cycle by no means the end of the world.

“You're always going to have hiccups but for us as Australian rugby, we're just looking forward to getting back out there and playing again.

“You do learn more from a loss than a win and that's the mentality we've got to have.”