Wallabies staring down lineout challenge

The Rugby Championship
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Wallabies aren’t shying away from their lineout issues, lock Dean Mumm says.

After two Tests in which the Australian lineout has managed just a 69.23 per cent success rate on its own throws, the set piece has been under a scorching spotlight.

The statistic puts them last among the Rugby Championship teams, with Argentina enjoying 91.67 per cent success, South Africa 91.3 per cent and New Zealand having a perfect run so far.

Usual caller Rob Simmons has been the most high-profile casualty of the lineout failures, dropped twice this season, in favour of Sam Carter and Adam Coleman, respectively.

Dean Mumm and Rob SImmons have battled for lineout spots. Photo: ARU Media/Stu WalmsleyMumm, who on Tuesday announced a one-year contract extension with the Waratahs, has been one of the more consistent performers in the lineout since the Rugby Championship started, with a perfect record in the set piece.

The 32-year-old said he felt the Wallabies’ lineout woes were not unsolvable.

“If It’s the elephant in the room it’s a pretty big one,” he said.

“We’ve changed the way we’ve been doing lineouts and I think there's an element of you need to congratulate the All Blacks lineout defence.

“It’s something they've improved at and we've got to improve our attacking ability to counteract it.“

Mumm was quick to heap praise on the All Blacks as much as acknowledge his own team’s woes, after the disruption that Brodie Retallick, Sam Whitelock and Kieran Read caused at the lineout.

“It’s certainly we need to get better at it, there’s no way you can shy away from that,” he said.

“A couple of years ago it wasn’t a strength [for New Zealand] and it’s something they’ve worked really hard on.

“I 100 per cent trust that we’re improving and we are improving our skill set.”

Dean Mumm has returned to form in recent weeks. Photo: Getty imagesThe 48-Test forward said the constant recycling of lock combinations would be a good thing for the team  down the track.

“I think the key for us at the moment is try and sort it out as a group and keep it - it’s a pretty competitive environment in the way the combinations have been changing.

“I think that will benefit us in the long-term but in terms of who gets selected, it’s not up to us.”

While he wasn’t afraid to admit the lineout needed work, Mumm said he was far less fussed by the refereeing to and fro that has played out between Australia and New Zealand in the days since the Test.

“I think every team never really feel like you get the rub of the green you want,” he said.

“It is what it is the more you worry about it the more it becomes an issue.

“Some decisions haven’t gone our way and I can only control how I interact with the refs and at the moment I’m not too fussed

“The refs doing a reasonable job and sometimes you get decisions and sometimes you don’t.”

Dean Mumm has added impact late in the Bledisloe Cup matches. Photo: Getty ImagesMumm took the same even stance about the non-citing of Owen Franks, after the tighthead prop looked to have eye gouged Kane Douglas early in the second Bledisloe Cup Test.

‘I have seen it,” he said.

“It was an independent decision and you have to trust in the judgement making that decision and that’s basically it.”

The Wallabies have a week off, before returning to camp this weekend ahead of their Brisbane Test against South Africa.