Consistency key in Wallabies scrum

by staff

Consistency has become the Wallabies’ mantra in the scrum, loosehead prop Scott Sio says.

What was once seen as an Australian chink, the scrum proved to be a major part of the side’s arsenal on their way to six scrum penalties against the tournament hosts.

Sio said their improvement was the manifestation of the side’s changing mentality towards the set piece over the last year.

“I think bringing a level of consistency and knowing that it’s a whole week focus, whole eight focus,” he said.

“Every day we’re just looking to improve the scrum and that’s been our main focus this year, something that we’ve tried to really turn around.”

The scrum was a much-talked about aspect of the week heading into the England game, from an external perspective, but Sio said it was by no means the only one.

“I think we knew we had to bring a level of consistency across all our game and obviously the scrum was highlighted during the week but we knew it wasn’t going to be the be all and end all,” he said.

“We knew as a forward pack, the set piece needed to build momentum.

“We knew how important it was going to be for our backs to really flow as a unit as well.

“I think you can get bogged down putting too much focus in one area of the game.

The addition of Mario Ledesma as Wallabies scrum coach had instilled a new philosophy into the forward pack.

“The biggest thing is everyone buying into that philosophy that he’s brought that he’s used through his career,” Sio said.

“That’s been the biggest thing is everyone realising the importance of set piece and how much it can affect the game.

“We’ve got to go up another level again this week against Wales and keep improving if we want to continue in this competition."

Staying strong in the scrum will be a priority again for the Wallabies, with the risk of being hurt by penalties compounded against a side with accurate kicker Dan Biggar in its ranks.

Defence coach Nathan Grey said the Wallabies were acutely aware of the threat the Welsh flyhalf posed.

“We’ve done a lot of work on Wales, having a look at their set piece and what they offer on multi-phase (play),” he said

“You can’t give away any penalties, with Dan being such a successful goal kicker.

“They really crucify you if you give them opportunity.

“The key there is to try and put them under pressure and then backing away and (playing) the style you want to play the game.”

Wales will go into the game with a 10-day rest, a welcome gap for Australia’s opponents after a horror injury run.

The Wallabies made it through their England victory almost unscathed, with the exception of winger Rob Horne (shoulder).

Horne’s shoulder will be closely monitored this week after he was taken off in the 11th minute of the match against England.

Grey said initial scans were more positive than expected and the side was going to “sit and wait” on his improvement this week before making any definite call on the Waratah.