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Australia ready for 'big challenge' - assistant coach Nathan Grey

Nathan Grey says it is "understandable" if people perceive Australia as vulnerable after a season that has seen the Wallabies beaten three times each by England and New Zealand.

The Wallabies kick off their northern hemisphere tour against Wales in Cardiff on Saturday.

They have toppled Wales in 11 successive Tests - their last defeat against them came eight years ago - and will probably start as marginal favourites at the Principality Stadium.

But it has been a demanding few months for Australia, with England claiming a 3-0 Test series triumph Down Under in June, while New Zealand also claimed a trio of victories, scoring 108 points in the process.

"It is understandable if people think we are vulnerable after this year," Wallabies assistant coach Grey said, following the squad's arrival in Cardiff on Wednesday.

"People can make judgements on how strong we are, and we do not hide behind the fact we have been beaten three times by New Zealand and England.

"It is a matter of identifying what we did well and growing as a team. We believe if we get our preparation right, we will be in a position to put Wales under pressure with the ball and without it.

"We intend to improve the fundamentals of our game and our consistency. When we get it right, we believe we can trouble any team in the world. It is about having the belief in the squad to do that."

Despite Australia's current dominance in the Wales fixture, Grey expects a major test this weekend.

"Wales' series against New Zealand in the summer is a key indicator of how they play against world-class sides," he added.

"We learnt a lot from that and saw how dangerous they can be with ball in hand and on the counter-attack.

"Wales are missing some players, but their coaching staff is very experienced and they have a big squad. They are very clear in the way they play the game, and any players who come in will slot into the system.

"We have come here with the purpose of improving every time we play. A five-week tour is a big challenge, and the players and the coaching staff are focused on the first performance against Wales.

"We are not looking too far down the road. Saturday is a chance to start our tour playing a style of rugby that we can be proud of."


From Belfast Telegraph