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Keep five Aussie Super Rugby teams: Grey

AAP logoAAP 6/12/2016 Adrian Warren

Wallabies assistant coach Nathan Grey insists reducing the amount of local Super Rugby teams won't help the game in Australia.

Australia struggled to make an impact in the 2016 Super Rugby tournament, with only the local conference winning Brumbies making the playoffs and New Zealand teams snaffling all three Australasian wildcard spots.

A mediocre 2016 Wallabies campaign which gleaned just six wins from 15 Tests has generated more debate about the state of the game in Australia.

The Force and Reds won just two and three games respectively while the West Australian franchise has been taken over by the ARU and face an uncertain future.

The Waratahs and Rebels finished ten and 19 points respectively behind the lowest Australasian wild card side.

Despite rumblings in some sections of the rugby community that Australia doesn't have sufficient player depth to support five Super franchises, Grey is adamant the present number should be maintained.

"Super Rugby with the five franchises that Australia has exposes a lot more players to that next level," Grey said at Sydney Airport on Tuesday after returning from the Wallabies spring tour.

"The more you can expose those players to those step-ups in intensity and performance it's only going to hold Australian rugby in good stead.

"You look at the makeup of a Wallaby squad - there's a good spread of players across all those franchises.

"If you only had the three (teams) there's going to be a number of guys who are not going to be exposed to that level - and it's not going to help the game."

Grey dismissed the suggestion that head coach Michael Cheika, who won't return from Europe until later in the week, got caught up in mind games with his England counterpart and former clubmate and ex-Wallabies coach Eddie Jones.

"The reality of the matter is when you cross the line there 's 23 players in your squad who go out and do the job, the coaches are a little bit insignificant from that perspective," Grey said.

He lamented Australia's inability to string together complete performances.

"We showed throughout the year that for long periods of time we can play some exceptional football," Grey said.

"But it's got to be a complete 80-minute performance, and we weren't able to string too many of those together this year which was really disappointing."

Grey said it was very difficult to attribute the form fluctuations within a game to a single issue.

"The intensity of the cauldron, sometimes guys in terms of execution you pay for really small errors," he said.

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