Wallabies can regain defensive backbone

Mon, 22 Aug 2016 08:52

IN THE SPOTKIGHT: The Wallabies' poor defence can be fixed, assistant coach Nathan Grey said Monday.

Australia will look to salvage the Bledisloe Cup in this week's pivotal second Rugby Championship Test against the All Blacks.

Australia conceded six tries in their 42-8 hammering by the world champions in the opening game of the three-match series in Sydney this past Saturday.

New Zealand, who have held the trans-Tasman Bledisloe Cup since 2003, can retain the silverware with victory in Wellington on Saturday - ahead of the final game of the series in Auckland on October 22.

Coach Michael Cheika was bristling over the team's 38 missed tackles, telling reporters at the post-match press conference: "We defended very poorly, defence is attitude. When players run you've got to tackle."

Defence coach Grey said the execution of the Wallabies' defensive structure had been poor against the rampant All Blacks.

"It was very disappointing and a little bit uncharacteristic, a combination of guys not getting their technique right and also New Zealand carrying the ball very strongly," Grey told reporters.

"The Kiwis stretched us out in terms of down our edges and their offload game really hurt us.

"I think just being more efficient at our tackle is something that we're really going to have to focus on a lot."

Grey said Australia could resolve their defensive problems in time for the Wellington Test.

"A lot of defence is mental application and that real will and desire to want to get in there and be effective," he added.

"In terms of training, we're going to be really focusing on that."

Grey said the Wallabies were hurting after their humiliating heavy loss to New Zealand.

"It's certainly going to fuel the fire for the week," he said.

"We're disappointed, certainly, our pride has been damaged.

"But the great thing about sport is we've got six days to turn things around and Saturday night can't come quickly enough.

"We really want to make sure that we can put in a performance that we're proud of."

Agence France-Presse

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