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Wallabies Bring In Gregan

All Blacks nemesis George Gregan has been helping the Wallabies in their attempts to win back the Bledisloe Cup in Auckland tomorrow. Gregan, the World Cup-winning No 9 who famously
14 Aug 2015 11:17
Wallabies Bring In Gregan
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika (left), with George Gregan

All Blacks nemesis George Gregan has been helping the Wallabies in their attempts to win back the Bledisloe Cup in Auckland tomorrow.

Gregan, the World Cup-winning No 9 who famously taunted “four more years” following the semifinal defeat of the All Blacks at the 2003 tournament, was brought in to training sessions this week to try and add some spark to struggling No. 9 Nick Phipps.

It’s a smart move by Wallabies coach Michael Cheika, drawing on the knowledge of 42-year-old Gregan, a feisty halfback who played 139 times for the Wallabies from 1994-2007 and never took a backwards step, particularly relishing his battles with the All Blacks.

Phipps was one of the disappointments in the Wallabies’ impressive 27-19 win over the All Blacks in Sydney last Saturday, a result that has given them a rare chance to win back the Bledisloe Cup and make a massive statement ahead of next month’s World Cup in England.

But Gregan was quick to defend Phipps despite his obvious struggles.

“Phipps had a disappointing night, particularly his passing game which, to be fair, is normally his strength so that will be a discussion point for sure.

“I wouldn’t say it’s skill-based. He’s got the skill, he’s thrown a few passes in his time,” Gregan told Fox Sports.

“I just think that a lot of that is a miscommunication issue, for sure. There is also the pressure, there’s a lot of noise, preparing beforehand and having an understanding of where your man is going to be, all those little things that make a really big difference.

“As a halfback, you’re not looking around for your man, you know where your man is going to be and you just hit it.

“They all contribute to that scenario, but ideally, no, you don’t want to be throwing loose passes, no halfback likes to throw a loose pass. That’s the stuff you work on.”

Speaking of pressure, Gregan offered his theory on the Wallabies Eden Park hoodoo.

Not even Gregan and the classy Australian sides led by John Eales could break the All Blacks’ dominance at their spiritual home. Australia last won in Auckland way back in 1986.

“It’s just hard. History shows that not many teams have had success going there. And so when that’s the case, a team likes playing there and lifts there,” Gregan said of Eden Park.

“The Wallabies team likes to play at Suncorp for that very reason, a difficult place for travelling teams to play at.”

Gregan believes the Wallabies can win there tomorrow night.

“I honestly believe that it’s doable. The All Blacks play very, very well at home, they play very well wherever they play, but that’s a part of it. But I remember their successes at Eden Park have been by very narrow margins — sometimes [with the opposition] even leading at the last 15 minutes or leading at halftime.”



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