Grey looking for positives in Bledisloe washup

The Rugby Championship
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Wallabies defence coach Nathan Grey was scrambling to find some optimism in his team’s 54-34 loss to the All Blacks on Monday morning.

Australia conceded eight tries against New Zealand for the first time since 1936 and conceded their biggest score ever against their trans-Tasman rivals, missing 30 tackles along the way.

Grey said their ability to hold out the All Blacks at points gave them some optimism heading into the second Dunedin Test., though admitted there was lots of work to do.

“You’re always looking at combinations and looking at the opposition’s threats and certainly provided a few for us on the weekend and fully taking ownership from that perspective as a coaching group and myself,” he said.

“That’s something we’ve got to work on and continue to improve and there’s certainly some areas in the game there where we were able defensively to put them under some pressure ad force a couple of turnovers and get a few tries.

“There’s certainly some positives from that perspective.”

Players said post-match that there was some adjusting still to be done in a new defensive strategy and Grey stuck by their approach on Monday.

“You're always tweaking and looking to improve things and we're not the only team that does that,” he said.

“We had a good look at them and really believe that the way we were trying to do things and the way that we're trying to do things is going to be really positive for us and when we get that right and everyone executes that we can get the results that we're looking for."

The quartet from 11-14 in gold missed 17 of the Wallabies' 30 missed tackles, according to Opta, with a poor defensive read from fullback Israel Folau also letting in the first try.

Winger Henry Speight said a breakdown in trust, in part due to the Sydney match being the first competitive hitout in a month for the majority of the players, had cause the errors.

“I think it's just being our first hitout and having not played in a while,” he said.

“Everyone was just a bit hesitant.

“In saying that, all we can do is learn from the weekend and the past 48 hours, there's been a lot of learning going on.

“The boys are a lot better for it today.

“That's the main thing we're looking at this week, and our main thing is trusting the person next to us is going to do his job and us doing our jobs individually, hopefully will be better for the collective.”

Wallabies expect to have winger Dane Haylett-petty back in the selection conversation this week, after a biceps injury ruled him out of the opening Test.

“I think he's going to be available,” Grey said.

“He's just going through in terms of ticking all the boxes around his injury and coming back.

“I think he was pretty close last week so he'll be in the mix.”

Grey also paid tribute to recently passed New Zealand legend Colin Meads, though he said that wouldn’t necessarily be a motivating factor for the All Blacks.

“I don't think they need galvanising,” he said.

“It's a real sad loss of Colin.

“He's a world great, he's not just a New Zealand rugby great.

“He's been respected across the world for the things that he's done, the way he played the game, I loved it personally and it's a real sad loss.

“I think New Zealand will deal with it the way they want to deal with it but in terms of galvanising it, I don't think they really need it.”

Australia takes on New Zealand in Dunedin on Saturday night, kicking off at 5:35pm AEST LIVE on FOX SPORTS.