Hunt's form catches Scottish attention

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Karmichael Hunt’s defensive work impressed Wallabies coach Michael Cheika against Fiji, but he’s not the only one who’s taken notice of the debutant’s efforts.

Scotland defence coach Matt Taylor, a former Reds defence coach, keeps a close eye on his former charges and Hunt’s aggression caught his eye in Super Rugby and on the weekend.

“I've been really impressed with his competition over the ball,” he said.

“For someone to be that committed around the breakdown, we're going to have to be very good at cleaning them out and getting our support for the ball.

“I've been impressed with that and his confrontation in terms of his tackling.

“I think it strengthens their midfield in terms of their defence. It's  a bit of a change from where he's playing but certainly those aspects I've mentioned, we're going to have to be very good.”

Scotland arrives in Australia ranked fifth in the world, its highest since rankings were introduced in 2003 and Taylor said their journey was in many ways running parallel to the Wallabies.

“I think Scottish rugby is in a really good place and it's in a really positive place,” he said.

“I think personally over the last couple of years, I think we've built and built and we've had some good results.

“Like even in the Six Nations, we had a really bad result against England which was disappointing but you'd say in every other game, to beat Wales the first time in 10 years, to beat Ireland who were a very good team and to beat Italy and keep them tryless in the last game, there was lots of positives.

“I'm hoping the next couple of years we can really press on and not only do well in the World Cup but also press for Six Nations honours.”

Taylor wants to be a part of that journey, though his contract is up in 2018, and all but ruled out the possibility of returning to Australia anytime soon.

Should he come back, though, he said the intel that some overseas coaches bring about the Australian game would be a handy weapon.

“I'd never say never about Australia because you've just got to go where the job is but at this point I love Scotland, my family's really settled there and Scotland rugby union's been really good to me and my family,” he said.

“The great thing I find for me personally is you've got the likes of Dave Rennie and he's going to be with Glasgow.

“I think it's really good to talk to a lot of Kiwi coaches because you get a bit of insight of what they think about Australians and Australian teams which you wouldn’t get if they're in competition.”.

“Hopefully, years down the track that could hold you in good stead.”

The Wallabies take on Scotland on Saturday, kicking off at 3pm AEST LIVE on FOX SPORTS and via RADIO.