NSW Waratahs defence guru Nathan Grey admits his side will have their work cut out trying to limit the impact of Hurricanes and All Blacks playmaker Beauden Barrett in Saturday’s Super Rugby showdown.
The Hurricanes have five points more than the `Tahs, who are currently second behind the Brumbies in the Australian conference and out of an Australasian group wildcard spot, one of which is currently held by Saturday’s opponents.
Five-eighth Barrett is the Hurricanes creative hub and can hurt sides in several ways.
Asked what the Tahs can do in Sydney on Saturday to negate Barrett’s impact Grey said “It’s quite difficult.
“In terms of turnovers, he likes to get his hands on the ball and use his kicking game effectively.
“(He) identifies space really well and obviously with his ball in hand whether it’s his first touch or his second or his third, he’s able to pick off defenders and use his strengths, which are his footwork and his speed.
“He’s the quickest bloke in New Zealand rugby and he he uses It effectively, so he’s got a few weapons in his quiver.”
Grey emphasised the Hurricanes were adept at capitalising on turnover ball and punishing opposing teams.
“They score a lot of tries off setpiece and also from turnover balls, so we’ve got to be prepared from a scrambled defensive perspective,” Grey said.
“But also from our setpiece to make sure that everyone is rock solid.”
Grey said Israel Folau was continuing to learn the defensive aspects of playing outside centre after spending most of his rugby union carer at fullback.
“The nuances of defending in that frontline are a little bit subtle and he’s learning that,” Grey said.
“The Sunwolves on the weekend targeted that channel and got some good pay, so it’s all part of that learning process.
“You’re always trying to improve as a player and he’s continually evolving into that full rounded player.
Sydney has been buffeted by rain in the days leading up to the game and Grey said the Tahs were preparing for a wet weather game, but would still strive to stick to their attacking style.