Waratahs turn their attention to the scrum


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The Waratahs are determined not to have another season like the one they (we) suffered last year. The back line looks to have been rejuvenated by the likes of Lachlan Turner, Timana Tahu, Kurtley Beale and even Lote Tuqiri looks hungry for tries again.

Now to complete the picture the Tah’s have been turning their attention to the scrum. Yesterday they shoved the scrum machine around the Victoria Barracks army base like it was a tank.

“Now we have a bunch of hardened Test guys who get beaten and bashed around in the Test arena and they come back with a bit of fire in the belly for us,” Waratahs assistant coach Steve Tuynman told the Daily Telegraph.

“I think your best attacking options under the new laws are definitely scrum and lineout,” Test prop Matt Dunning said.

“At scrum time and lineout time you want to give quality ball because you have the massive gap between the backs.”

One of the new Super 14 ELV’s is that the backlines must stand 5m back from the base of the scrum.

The Wallaby and Waratah front row man is predicting that under the new laws a lot of teams with solid scrums would opt to pack a scrum every time they get a free kick.

“If you can get your side some quality ball you almost have a no-brainer to get over the advantage line every time,” he said.

Dunning added that he feels that the scrum was now a double-edged sword – not only can it be used as a weapon in attack, it can also destroy the opposition ball and ruin their chances of getting over the advantage line.

“On the weekend the Hurricanes’ attack from scrum and lineout was not as good as ours so that definitely helped us,” Dunning said.

“Coach Ewen McKenzie has put a lot of emphasis on our scrum and (assistant Wallabies coach) Michael Foley has come in and helped us out.

“Every side wants to be the best pack in the Super 14 and we are working hard at that – that is a goal of ours.”

The Waratahs face the Chiefs on Saturday, a team they have not beaten since 2002 and have lost back to back matches in the Super 14 so the Waratahs are looking to dominate the Chiefs in the scrum.

“We are not taking them lightly at all, their scrummaging in previous years has been very solid and very strong,” Dunning said.

“They definitely have a point to prove after the way they scrummaged against Auckland.”

The Waratahs started their 2008 Super 14 with a convincing win over the Hurricanes but they are not getting carried away with where they are.

“We were happy with our performance without being over the top about it,” Dunning said.

“I think there are plenty of areas we can work on.”

Dunning has started spending time at tighthead prop in an effort to become a better all round prop and to increase his Test selection chances.

“This is the first time I have jumped into tighthead and enjoyed it. In previous times it has always been a bit of a daunting task,” he said.

Tuynman said that was something most props had to do these days. “Definitely selection wise it is an advantage,” he said.

Judging by the recent Wallaby woes in the front row a versatile prop can only be a good thing.




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