Keo.co.za brings you the latest news from Australia’s year-end tour.
Aussie scrum a work in progress
Hooker Stephan Moore admits the Wallabies forwards are still hurting after conceding a penalty try against France last weekend.
Australia’s pack produced a brilliant display against England at Twickenham, but their frailty at scrum time was back in the spotlight in Paris last Saturday when France profited from a collapsed scrum on their own tryline.
“It’s certainly disappointing because as a front rower that’s what we pride ourselves on all tour and we said before we left [Australia] we wanted to be consistent in that area,” said Moore.
“I think we have for the major part. But it was very disappointing to have a scrum like that in that Test.
“But we’ve got to put that behind us now and move on. If we want to be a good scrum, we’ve got to scrummage well against the best. That’s something we’ve still got to work on.”
Wallabies set to nullify Williams threat
Australia will look try to stop the IRB player of the year Shane Williams this weekend by simply getting “in his face”.
Winger Peter Hynes is set to go head to head will the Welsh wizard and fullback Drew Mitchell, who opposed Williams during Australia’s 24-22 defeat to Wales in 2005, admitted Hynes will have his hands full.
“He stood me up pretty clean,” recalled Mitchell. “It’s just his footwork. It’s not just his stepping. It’s his acceleration out of the step.
“So where some guys might beat you with the step initially and then don’t quite accelerate out of it, then you can recover a little bit, there’s just no time for recovery when you’re opposing Shane and you don’t quite read his footwork too well.
“That’s one thing. But the other thing is that he’s quite hard to tackle because he’s such a small guy and he’s actually quite strong as well. So unless you get a good shot on him, he’s quite hard to bring down.”
The Wallabies are hoping the new defensive approach coach Robbie Deans has introduced this year will help contain the try machine.
“As a backline, defensively our policies have probably changed somewhat this season,” said Mitchell.
“We’re aligning from set piece and also from phase so that we’ve got that opportunity to try to close [the opposition attack] down.
“And I guess that’s the key against a guy like Shane Williams, to not give him too much space and get in his face as soon as you can so that he doesn’t get that opportunity to step too much.
“You’re almost hitting him as he gets the ball.”
More to follow …