Versatile props advantage for Wallabies
Wallabies forwards coach Andrew Blades says front row versatility will help the Australian scrum adjust to short turnarounds in next week’s opening Tests against Scotland and Wales.
Blades says changes made to replacement rules since his playing days have nullified the importance of having specialists in the tighthead and loosehead positions, and flexibility can help take the Australian scrum forward.
In last year’s World Cup, Wallabies props Sekope Kepu and Ben Alexander played on the opposite sides of the scrum to where they play at provincial level – and Blades says the concept of switching certain players around up front to best suit the side is likely to continue.
“We’re really lucky we have a number of guys who adapt well to both sides,” Blades said.
“We’ve got Keps (Kepu) who is adept at playing both sides, Benny Alexander (who moves to tight head for the Brumbies clash with Melbourne) adept at playing both sides … and Slips (James Slipper) can also play both sides as well.
“It’s helpful because of the nature of the season. If you get lots of one-sided props in a total squad you find it difficult to adapt.
“We could potentially go into a Test with one specialist and two guys who can play both sides and we get great coverage.”
With just days between the weekend’s Super Rugby matches, the Tuesday Test against Scotland and Saturday week’s match against Wales – Blades says the coaching staff have looked at a variety of methods to best prepare the pack.
The bottom line is they’re keeping things simple.
Experienced players are likely to be relied upon in the Scotland game to help with adjusting to calls at the set-piece, and video tutorials have been used to bring players not participating in training up to speed.© AAP 2013
The Roar needs an editor! Tristan is off to tackle a new role with us over on Techly.com.au, which means we're looking for someone to fill his boots. Love sport, know digital publishing (yes, that does mean being a bit of computer guru) and keen to work with the team in Newcastle? If you're a proven superstar, or someone on the rise with a record to back it up, we want to hear from you. Apply now!
We're also looking for freelance writers who know tech, gadgets, games and trends inside and out to join us on this new adventure. Get in touch if you've got the goods.
The Roar is giving you the chance to win 1 of 19 prize packs to Australian Open 2014! Each lucky winner will receive four evening tickets to Rod Laver Arena, plus access to 3 hours in the Heineken VIP Bar. Enter here.