Australian rugby union player Reece Hodge takes part in a training session.
Australian rugby union player Reece Hodge takes part in a training session. PAUL MILLER

Wallabies great helping rookie adjust to elite level

RUGBY UNION: Wallabies rookie Reece Hodge has been seeking the advice of one of Australia's best centres as he gets used to his new role with the team.

Hodge, who had an up-and-down game against the All Blacks last time out, said defence coach Nathan Grey had provided plenty of support as he got used to playing at the highest level.

"Obviously it was not one of my better games,” he said about his game against New Zealand.

"Executing on an individual level within the game plan is definitely what I learnt the most out of the game.

"(Grey has) been really good for me ... He's a defensive coach but he has a lot to offer in attack as well.

"Focusing on your role individually within the system is one thing he's massive on.

"If we can continue to do that individually, it's going to make a difference to the team.”

Grey, meanwhile, says despite a poor season on the international stage, the Wallabies still had the players to frighten any team in the world.

The Wallabies will take on Wales on Sunday (1.30am AEST), and Welsh supporters are hoping that even without injured captain Sam Warburton and veteran lock Alun Wyn Jones, who will miss the game because of the death of his father, they are playing the Australians at the right time.

But Grey said: "People can make their judgments around how strong we are. We don't hide behind the fact we've been beaten three times by New Zealand, and we lost the England series three-zip as well - we're not hiding behind that.

"It's a matter of finding the things we did well in that and growing as a team moving forward.

"We've really focused on our preparation, and we really believe that if we get that preparation right we're going to put ourselves in a position to put Wales under pressure with the ball and without the ball.

"We believe we can trouble any team in the world, it's a matter of being consistent and really having the belief in the players and the squad to do that.

"We've come over here with a real intention of improving every time we play.

"It's a big challenge in front of us, the five-week tour.

"The players and coaching staff are very focused on putting everything into this first performance against Wales.”



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