Wallabies scrum can lead them to glory

Dominant scrum has been a hidden expression for the Wallabies for several decades.

However in this World Cup, they have brought a pack with technique, power and passion which is giving them increasing hope they, rather than the tournament favourite All Blacks, can win a third title.

Remember Scott Sio, Stephen Moore and Sekope Kepu because they should be names being painted in bold pictures in Australian rugby instead of their daring-do backline stars.

They are a front-row giving hope to the Wallabies that they can emulate the men from 1991 and ’99 who won World Cups in the UK. They are a trio to finally rival the Ewen McKenzie, Phil Kerans, Tony Daly combination who laid down the markers in 1991.

For some time the Wallabies have been pounded from all angles about this part of their game, taunted about their eight on skates or their pussycat pack.

Not now, not after another impressive effort when their scrum signposted the way to a spirited 15-6 victory against Wales at Twickenham and the prize of a quarterfinal with Scotland.

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - AUGUST 25:  The Wallabies sing the national anthem before The Rugby Championship Bledisloe Cup match between the New Zealand All Blacks and the Australian Wallabies at Eden Park on August 25, 2012 in Auckland, New Zealand.  (Photo by Simon Watts/Getty Images)

Whatever former Pumas hooker-turned Wallaby mentor Mario Ledesma has taught his new troops has been gold. Even when the Wallabies had two men in the bin and were wedged on their line for a succession of scrums, they did not buckle.

Once Welsh tight-head prop Samson Lee was replaced, his replacement Tomas Francis struggled and that was crucial as the Wallabies were down to 13 men in the second half after Will Genia and Dean Mumm were sinbinned.

Wales missed a try to Toby Faletau on a TMO ruling he lost the ball and could not get a proper scrum nudge to prosper from their mounting penalty advantage. They battled on but apart from the opening minutes rarely found any scrum advantage against the new shape of the Wallaby pack.

It is the transformation story of the season and this tournament.

Most sides at the RWC have delivered newer faces into the headlines but the Wallabies scrum has been the most potent upgrade in the crucial set-piece areas of the game.

Scrums may be a tedious part of the game for many but without an effective unit, there are few sides who survive. The French have long said ‘no scrum, no win’ and the Wallabies have felt that pain. They’ve won but wobbled.

Sio, Moore and Kepu have steadied that theory. Moore and Kepu have been around for some time while Sio has pushed through to stabilize the loosehead side of the scrum.

The Wallabies and scrum power have been disconnected but right now they are the next big thing at the Word Cup.

About Michael Faga

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