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Wallabies assistant wants defensive love

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 28/06/2017 Adrian Warren

Nathan Grey wants the Australian rugby public to share his love for defence after signing on as a full-time Wallabies assistant coach.

Grey, who joined the Wallabies coaching staff in 2014, has been both a national and NSW Waratahs assistant coach for the past three seasons, focusing on defence.

The 42-year-old has signed a two-year contract extension with the Australian Rugby Union, taking him through until the end of the 2019 World Cup and will relinquish his Waratahs role at the end of their Super Rugby campaign.

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said Grey was another piece added to the national coaching framework.

Brumbies' head coach Stephen Larkham, who doubles as Australia's attack coach, late last year agreed to become a fulltime Wallabies assistant after his 2017 Super commitments concluded.

The full-time setup under Cheika also includes setpiece coach Mario Ledesma and skills coach Mick Byrne.

Grey won 35 Test caps and was part of Australia's 1999 World Cup-winning squad and has carried his passion for defence as a player into his coaching career.

"I really want people to love it," Grey said on Wednesday.

"From a national perspective, the ability to get round to the different Super Rugby franchises and spread that love right through the juniors, all our pathway programs, is something that I'm really excited about and looking forward to."

It's been a challenging year for him so far with the Waratahs conceding a franchise record amount of points in a Super season, while Australia last weekend gave up their biggest score in 17 Tests against Italy.

"I'm always trying to improve and from a Wallabies perspective I think the work we were doing over the June series was really positive," he said.

"(I'm) looking forward to building that defensive strength, not only with the Wallabies, but also there's two games to go with the Waratahs, so we're very focused on executing really well there as well."

Grey doesnt agree it's a tough assignment to get the public to appreciate defence as much as they do tries and attacking play.

"I beg to differ, I reckon you get the decibel metre out when there's a big hit on a rugby field and there's great defence," he said.

"The crowd know that and they respond accordingly."

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