LONDON – Australia’s new-found scrummaging prowess is all about attitude, according to prop Sekope Kepu, who is ready to put it to the test again in Sunday’s Rugby World Cup quarterfinal.
Opponent Scotland struggled at the set piece on occasions during the pool stage and Kepu considers it an area where the Wallabies can get on top at Twickenham.
“We are going out there to just do what we have done in the last few weeks, no different, and just prepare in the same way and look for that consistency,” Kepu told reporters.
The 29-year-old tighthead says that the tone of the whole forwards battle is set from the opening scrum engagements.
“If you get done in one scrum, that can undo all your good work,” he said. “We must go in with the mentality that we are no better than any other team.”
Scotland is likely to be without hooker Ross Ford, pending an appeal against his three-week suspension, which Kepu said will have an effect on the team.
“They will loose a lot of leadership,” Kepu said. “He’s got a lot of experience, he’s a massive part of their team and the heart of their scrum.
” I’m sure the guy coming in will be motivated because it’s do-or-die rugby from here on in.”
As for the turnaround in Australia’s scrummaging fortunes, Kepu believes it is all mental and adds that the whole squad has taken an interest in the set piece.
“The attitude, and the unity, and learning to embrace it and love it has made a difference,” he said. “Not only from the tight five, but everybody. Last year in France we had the backs come along and watch some of our scrum sessions.
“In the Southern Hemisphere it is all about expansive and running rugby, but we knew for this campaign to go well, we needed our set-pieces, and our scrum in particular, to operate at the highest level.”
Fellow Wallabies prop Scott Sio, who turned 24 on Friday, was named after the Scotland side that defeated Western Samoa in the 1991 World Cup quarterfinals and Kepu is eager there is no repeat.
“Hopefully we can name somebody else’s kid Wallaby rather than Scotland,” he joked.
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.