Grey defends Australian Super Rugby teams

Australia’s struggles will not be fixed by reducing the number of teams they have in Super Rugby, says assistant coach Nathan Grey.

The Wallabies managed to win only six Tests in 2016, while the Brumbies were the only Aussie team to reach the Super Rugby play-offs.

A debate about the structure and number of teams in Super Rugby have been going on for a while, but Grey believes the current number of five teams should be maintained.

"Super Rugby with the five franchises that Australia has exposes a lot more players to that next level," Grey told AAP at Sydney Airport on Tuesday after returning from the Wallabies November 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 got caught up in mind games with England 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. 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."