A blistering first half attacking performance from the Wallabies set up their win over Wales, but flyhalf Bernard Foley says the credit should go to their defence .
Foley, who finished with 12 points and was named man of the match in the 32-8 victory, said it was the grit that the Wallabies showed in the final stages when Wales was pressing their line that showed their improvement in 2016.
“I think what was really pleasing was it was our defence, it didn’t waver all game,” he said.
“When our attack wasn’t working in the second half we were still able to score two tries off the back of our defence and that’s probably one thing this team wants to pride ourselves on.”
Australia’s defence was a major concern just two months ago after missing a whopping 40 tackles in the opening Bledisloe Cup encounter, but try-saving tackles from Dane Haylett-Petty and Nick Frisby in the closing stages were symbols of the defensive desperation the Wallabies want to be known for.
“It hasn’t been something that we have gone away from or we haven’t practised, it’s definitely something we’ve been working on every week,” Foley said.
“It was good for it to work tonight and that’s the reward from all those tough training sessions, the times where we bash each other.
“There’s a few casualties out of those sessions but tonight was where we take our reward.”
“The Scottish are a side that we’ve had some close encounters with in the past couple of years. You only have to look back at last year’s (RWC 2015) quarter-final" - Bernard Foley.
That defensive effort is one that will be tested even more against Scotland next weekend, with the Scots likely to try and slow down the quick ruck ball the Wallabies were able to get against the Welsh in Cardiff.
Australia has been caught out by Scotland in the past, most recently when the Wallabies scraped through a Rugby World Cup quarter-final thriller last year, and Foley said it would be in the forefront of his mind.
“The Scottish are a side that we’ve had some close encounters with in the past couple of years. You only have to look back at last year’s (RWC 2015) quarter-final,” he said.
“They’re a team that if you’re ill-disciplined and if you knock off at set piece, they’ll really hurt you.
“That’s something we’ll address early this week and go there (Murrayfield) with a plan to nullify that.”
Foley was quick to shut down suggestions that the emphatic win over Wales would automatically entitle them to a Grand Slam, but said the 32-8 win would lay some strong foundations heading into the Scotland Test.
“It’s pleasing, it definitely is and it’s off the back of a lot of hard work,” Foley added.
“Not just this week but throughout the Rugby Championship and into that third Bledisloe, this team has been working tirelessly on our defensive systems, on making the right tackles and decisions, but also on our attack shape.
“I think if you look at the forwards tonight, they were awesome and set the platform, set the physicality and that’s something that we’ll have to continue throughout every game.”
All Wallabies Tests during the Spring Tour will be screened LIVE on BeIN Sports 3 (Foxtel channel 515) from 1.00am AEDT. Fans can also LIVE stream the match on Foxtel GO (for Foxtel subscribers).