Wallabies defence coach Nathan Grey says the team’s dire performance in his area can be easily fixed ahead of Saturday’s return clash with the All Blacks in Wellington.
Australia conceded six tries and missed a whopping 38 tackles in Saturday’s 42-8 defeat in the Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup opener in Sydney.
Grey said it wasn’t just a case of missed one-on-one tackles and the execution of their defensive system had been poor against a side that attacked with width and repeated offloads.
“It was very disappointing and a little bit uncharacteristic, a combination of guys not getting their technique right and also New Zealand carrying very strongly,” Grey said at the team’s Sydney hotel on Monday.
“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 to ensure that we can stop their go forward and hence their offloads.”
He was adamant Australia could fix the defensive problems in the space of a week.
“Quite easily,” Grey said.
” A lot of defence is mental application and that real will and desire to want to get in there and be effective.
“In terms of training we’re going to be really focusing on that.”
Although Australia had been working on some new defensive wrinkles prior to Saturday’s game, Grey didn’t feel that was a major issue on the night.
“The changes that we wanted to have were slight little adjustments, were progressions from what we were doing already,” Grey said.
“We’re very confident that those things when done well and executed on the field how we train are going to be very effective and they weren’t on Saturday night, that was pretty clear.”
Grey made it clear the Wallabies had been stung by the decisive defeat, but were determined rather than daunted by the challenge of trying to beat New Zealand in Wellington.
“It’s certainly going to fuel the fire for the week,” Grey said.
“We’re disappointed, certainly our pride has been damaged.
“But the great thing about sport is, (coach) Michael (Cheika) said it in the changing room, 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.”
Grey said the All Blacks’ off-loading style was difficult to defend against but that they could be contained.
“Certainly if you get your defensive system right and shut down the ability for them to do that you can be very effective against them,” Grey said
“Giving them turnover ball and forcing yourself to scramble, it’s always going to be difficult but certainly something that we can handle.”
As the defence coach, Grey admitted he took conceding so many points on Saturday personally.”
“It’s certainly something I pride myself on, in terms of the team and certainly feel disappointed from an individual perspective,” he said.