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Wallabies pack silence scrum critics

  
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18/11/2013


Captain Ben Mowen says the Qantas Wallabies have sent a message to their scrum critics after Australia’s pack dominated Ireland in Dublin on Sunday morning (AEDT).

"I don't think if you asked many blokes up here (in the northern hemisphere) they would rate our scrum," he said.

"But that's why we want to leave this tour knowing that with the performance we leave on the park we can plant a seed of doubt there."

The Wallabies certainly planted a ‘seed of doubt’, and more, as they out-scrummed the highly rated Ireland eight in Australia’s convincing 32-15 victory.

Australia won scrum penalties at crucial moments, helping the Wallabies launch an attack or breaking Ireland’s momentum. The prime example was the scrum penalty won close to Ireland’s line to lay the platform for fly half Quade Cooper’s second half try.

The Wallabies also played with seven men in the pack for periods in the match, including when they lost Michael Hooper to the sin bin in the 32nd minute, but still the scrum held firm.

"We haven't been happy about a lot of the criticism that gets slung our way because we've got a very good scrum," said Mowen.

"To do the job that we did, particularly with seven blokes was outstanding.

"It's a huge challenge to come over here and play tough scrums week in, week out, but I think it's becoming a really big platform for us to attack off."

It was not only the scrum were the Wallabies forwards were dominant. After one weak maul in the first half, where they were driven back 20 metres, the Wallabies turned it around to drive a lineout maul over Ireland’s line in the 69th minute to score Hooper’s second try.

"We've got guys that can really go well in that area and it's something we're passionate about doing”, he said.

"We want to be a big scrumming side. [With] performances like that it's important we keep chasing that up with consistency."

Another promising sign for Mowen was the “desperation” in defence that was beginning to match the Wallabies established attacking flair.

"It's little things like when you see a ball spill on the ground and three Wallabies jerseys diving at it, so I know that the desperation is there," he said.

"That's how the guys trained all week, we prepared that way, we didn't just rock up and hope it would happen.

"You can do that when you know how tough the opposition is and this tour is just back to back tough games.

"That spirit was right through that performance and that was the most pleasing thing for the guys."

Head Coach Ewen McKenzie was also pleased with the Wallabies performance, describing it as the best victory over Ireland since the 1999 Rugby World Cup when Australia beat the home team 23-3 in Dublin on their way to lifting the Webb Ellis Cup.

"It was pretty good, we didn't come in here with a lot of fanfare, a lot of people expected a different outcome, but four tries to nil is pretty emphatic," he said.

"I think it's our best win [against Ireland] since 1999."

But McKenzie, a well known tough taskmaster, says there is still room for improvement.

"We felt confident through the game that we could score tries.”

"In the end discipline was letting us down late in the first half ... we worked our way through that and got on with it in the second half.”

"We were scrumming there with seven guys in the last period of the game and we were still getting great outcomes and forcing penalties.

"We had a really good strong finish, which we set the team up to do."

The one black spot in the match was the sending off of young Brumbies centre Tevita Kuridrani in the 72nd minute for a lifting tackle on Peter O'Mahony.

McKenzie said the Wallabies would review footage of the incident.

"We'll obviously have a closer look at it but we'll follow whatever course of action you normally do," he said.

"Someone obviously thought it was warranted so we'll roll with that at this stage."

The Qantas Wallabies next match on their Spring Tour is against Scotland in Edinburgh at 5.00am AEDT this Sunday morning November 24th.

All Qantas Wallabies 2013 Spring Tour matches are broadcast live on Fox Sports and Channel Ten.

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