Australia’s defensive clinic to hold Wales out in their final World Cup pool match has been described as heroic, outstanding, gritty and tournament-defining.
But surprisingly, it’s earned a new tag from the Wallabies’ defence coach Nathan Grey – insufficient.
Despite defending their line with 13 men for seven minutes, and restricting Wales to just two penalty goals in the 15-6 win, Grey is desperate to ram home the message that they can do better – starting with their quarter-final against Scotland at Twickenham on Sunday (Monday 0200 AEDT).
“There is a real clear understanding that we will need a better defensive effort going into the knockout stage of the tournament that we’re in,” Grey explained, revealing his perfectionist nature.
“We still leaked some points (against Wales). Six is too many as far as I am concerned.
“We’re always searching for things that we can continually improve.
“The penalties we gave away are things we can control and we should’ve been able to do not that.
“The guys are under no illusion that we’ve got to continue to improve on both sides of the ball, when we’re using it and when we’re defending it.
“We’ll take confidence out of performances we’ve had, and that will set us up for what will be the biggest game for us of the whole year.”
The dogged defensive display against Wales is expected to be the hallmark of the Wallabies’ finals run, with rugged back-rower Scott Fardy predicting games will tighten as the level of competition lifts.
Fardy said Australia’s energy-sapping contests against England and Wales in consecutive weeks has steeled them for everything the World Cup is about to offer.
“I think that is the World Cup – they’re all going to be like that,” Fardy said.
“I’m not that experienced at World Cups, I’ve only played four games, but every one feels real tight.
“So (Scotland) is going to be a real grinding game again and we’re prepared for that.
“The Scots are a big physical side. Physicality will grow throughout the tournament as teams have less and less games to go, guys are going to throw themselves into it, so we’re expecting a really physical contest from Scotland.”