The Waratahs need to be firing cannons in their scrums in 2018, prop Tom Robertson says.
Contact coach Simon Cron had the forwards training almost half an hour after their Tuesday training was scheduled to end, constantly packing and re-packing scrums.
“He loves a scrum, Cronny,” Robertson said.
“He's been a very good coach so far, been enjoying what he's doing with the group. He's got a lot of drills that I have never done before and it's exciting to have some new fresh faces and some fresh ideas about scrummaging because that's a core part of my game, so Cronny's been great and loving every day of it.
Cron, who joined NSW at the end of 2017, has instilled a new philosophy into the Waratahs’ forwards, Robertson said, based on the old school artillery.
“(His focus is on) working more as a forward pack, as an eight, instead of firing a couple of bullets at a time, not really firing together,” he said.
“Firing that cannon is the description he uses and that applies to footy.
“So, it's using your whole eight at one single time rather than just one guy pushing hard at one stage and another guy using that cohesiveness in order to be a better scrum.”
Some of Robertson’s newer teammates had a head start in that area, with the Wallabies players only returning to training last week, and the 23-year-old said he was taken aback with the standard when he arrived in 2018.
“I’m normally at the front of the forwards during fitness and stuff like that and then I come back and I'm in the bottom half, which is unbelievable,” he said.
“Rather than just saying it and not letting it go by, they've actually put some actions behind those words and just from the fitness testing and the strength testing alone, the Wallabies have definitely got to step up because we're going to get left behind if they keep going the way they are.
“It's been great to watch all the younger guys and the Waratahs guys that weren't involved in the Wallabies taking that lead and really pushing us for selection.”
With just two and a half weeks left until Super Rugby trials begin, Australia’s four franchises are taking shape for 2018 and Robertson said they’ll only be stronger with the additions from the Force.
The Waratahs have just two new faces from WA, in Shambeckler Vui and Curtis Rona, but Robertson is expecting big things from the duo.
“The 30-40 players that were over at the Force, now the majority of them are at other clubs, so it's definitely strengthened them,” he said.
“I know just from our team we've got Shambeckler Vui and Curtis Rona that are both fantastic players.
“I definitely think they're going to be strong additions to our team.
“It's just the other teams, whether they can do the same because I know Sham and Curtis will be, I daresay they'll get a fair bit of game time this year.”
The Waratahs play their first trial on Friday February 2, against the HIghlanders in Queenstown, before a February 15 preseason game against the Rebels at Brookvale Oval.
The Waratahs open their Super Rugby season on Saturday February 24, against the Stormers, kicking off at 7:45pm AEDT. Buy tickets here.