Wallabies not all bad defensively: Grey

Nathan Grey maintains there are some positives the Wallabies can draw from their horrendous defensive performance in Saturday’s Bledisloe Cup opener.

Defence coach Grey is under huge pressure after the record-breaking 54-34 defeat, which has put New Zealand on track for a 15th straight year of trans-Tasman domination.

Australia missed an incredible 48 tackles and conceded more points than they ever have against the All Blacks, and were 54-6 at one stage early in the second half.

Now a full-time assistant to Michael Cheika after stepping down from his defensive role with the NSW Waratahs, Grey admitted Monday’s video review session was a sobering reminder of just how much they need to improve.

But he insisted it wasn’t all bad, saying tackles started sticking when the Wallabies fired back in the second half.

“As a defensive coach, it’s difficult but that’s the great thing about the game,” Grey told reporters on Monday in Christchurch, where the team will train before moving to Dunedin on Thursday.

“You get to look at the things that you did wrong and how you can improve and you lick your wounds, you pull yourself back together and you get stuck in again.

“(But) there’s certainly some areas in the game there where we were able defensively to put them under some pressure and force a couple of turnovers and get a few tries.

“It was a bit late to do that… (But) there’s certainly some positives from that perspective.”

Grey said the coaching group was taking full ownership of the defeat, which has further angered Australian rugby fans at a time when the game is at its lowest ebb domestically.

Winger Henry Speight said players trusted in Grey’s defensive system but admitted they were too “hesitant” early, perhaps a product of not having played Test rugby for a while.

“All we can do is learn from the weekend and in the past 48 hours, there’s been a lot of learning going on,” Speight said.

Grey also confirmed Dane Haylett-Petty, who missed last week’s match due to a bicep injury, will be available for selection for Saturday’s clash at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

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