Australia’s scrum fell short of its own goals in 2016, and prop Sekope Kepu says rebuilding will begin in Super Rugby.
The Wallabies scrum was inconsistent this season, after getting the better of the Northern Hemisphere teams in the 2015 World Cup and Kepu said they struggled to handle teams targeting their scrum.
“That's always the challenge when you do so well, packs start chasing you and you've got the target on your back and that's the challenge for us is learning to cope with that pressure and just keep building and keep pushing ourselves as a team,” he said.
“We showed that in patches of what we can do against Ireland with a seven-man scrum and whatnot.
“It's striving to get that consistency in our game. It's something that we spoke about a lot towards the back end of our tour and something that we’ll need to take into our Super Rugby teams.”
The 30-year-old said the team would rue a number of missed chances left behind on the tour, but there was hope for improvement.
“It's taking opportunities and being in the game mentally for 80 minutes,” he said.
“We played well in the last game for 40 and we were a little bit off in that second half and you see what the English can do.
“They pounce on the opportunities and they took theirs and we just gave away tries, myself included. In those opportunities, we can't let that happen. - Sekope Kepu
“Other than that we can take a lot from the tour and build towards next year.”
Kepu is feeling the pressure individually after the emergence of Tom Robertson and Allan Alaalatoa in their debut Test seasons, a challenge the veteran has welcomed.
“I'm very excited about the future of our Australian front rowers,” he said.
“It puts a lot of heat on me and I enjoy the challenge and I can only pass on what I've learned and I'm still learning but they've come a long way and I'm excited about watching them in Super Rugby.”
Kepu said ensuring improvement translated to Super Rugby would be the key to avoiding a sluggish start when the Test squad reconvened.
“Last year we let ourselves down at the Australian Super Rugby teams and it's exciting because now everyone knows what they've got to do and where the standard’s got to be.
“Test level's another step up from Super Rugby and you've got to be at your best to compete with the best in the world and New Zealand have set the benchmark,” he said.
“We get to play them week in, week out in Super Rugby and three times a year for the Wallabies, so it's exciting."