Ben Smith heads for the try line during game one of the Bledisloe Cup.
Ben Smith heads for the try line during game one of the Bledisloe Cup. DEAN LEWINS

Wallabies sit through video nasty after Bledisloe Cup defeat

AN absence of collective trust and basic individual errors. 

Which came first is a chicken-or-egg argument but those are the key reasons for the Wallabies' defensive meltdown in the first half of the opening Bledisloe Cup game, according to defence coach Nathan Grey and winger Henry Speight.

The Wallabies got back into action on the training paddock in Christchurch but not until they'd sat through a painful review of their 54-34 drubbing at ANZ Stadium.

After letting in eight tries and going down 54-6 by 50 minutes, understandably much of the post-mortem was spent figuring out what on earth went wrong in defence, and to fix it.

Grey, who has come under fire for the Wallabies' defensive failures, said there there was no hiding from the fact "we were poor in that area and we've got to get better".

"It's tough (to watch)," Grey said.

"As a defensive coach, it's difficult but that's the great thing about the game. 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.

"That's really been the focus of the meetings so far and a really strong positive focus, and not shying away from that we weren't great."

Asked why it got so ugly for the Wallabies in the opening half, Grey said errors in attack and one-on-one misses "let us down".

"We had a good look at that, took real ownership from that perspective and looking to improve moving forward," Grey said.

"It wasn't great but certainly there's some areas where we were able to put them under pressure, but it was a bit late in the game to do that. It was disappointing."

Speight said the Wallabies were left "chasing their tails" after letting the Kiwis score four tries inside 30 minutes.

"Starting off really well is a big focus for this week and with defence, just sticking to our structures and trusting each other to make our tackles and back each other up," Speight said.

"Two of their early tries were from basic errors, from our turnovers. We started really well, we put the first points on the board. There was just a few lapses in D and we were 40, 50 metres down underneath our posts. That's the main thing we're looking at this week, and our main thing is trusting the person next to us is going to do his job and us doing our jobs individually, hopefully will be better for the collective."

Speight said the broken down trust was due to new combinations coming up against a slick Kiwi team in their first game.

"I think it's just being our first hit out and having not played in a while. Everyone was just a bit hesitant," Speight said. 

"In saying that, all we can do is learn from the weekend and the past 48 hours, there's been a lot of learning going on. The boys are a lot better for it today."

Whether it's enough to shift perceptions Australia aren't a hope in Dunedin or not, Grey said the experience in Sydney would serve the team well.

"The more you play together the more time you spend on the park under the intensity of the event ,the better you're going to be," he said.

"We replicated that a lot at training but the pressure of the game is quite unique. We'll certainly be better for the run but that's certainly not an excuse at all."

Dane Haylett-Petty is expected to be fit and eligible for selection.

News Corp Australia

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