Wallabies learning how to absorb pressure
Forwards coach Andrew Blades is educating the Wallabies how to deal with pressure situations as they prepare for the ultimate rugby challenge – confronting the formidable New Zealand pack.
A starting prop in Australia’s 1999 World Cup-winning side, Blades is hammering home the importance of reacting the right way to opposing packs, especially at scrum time.
“Where we know the pressure is going to come on, that the guys know exactly what their job is and they can just focus,” Blades said.
“That is the important thing, our guys understanding. I think we saw it at times in in the Welsh series.
“At those important times, that they used that situation in the right way and they know how to switch on to it.
“You can let fear get in the way … or you can use that pressure and focus in and I think that’s what the guys are getting their heads around now.”
Blades praised his predecessor Patricio Noriega for introducing a fighting mentality into Australia’s forwards.
He is also working on ways to turn around negative refereeing perceptions of the Wallabies’ scrum that he believes previously resulted in their being incorrectly penalised.
“We’re doing whatever we can to keep scrums up,” Blades said.
“I think if we have that mentality. It will make it more blatant if teams are trying to milk stuff because it will look like we’re fighting.”
Blades said locks other than veteran Nathan Sharpe were now taking the responsibility for making lineout calls at training.
He said while New Zealand were a strong side with a lot of great individual players, they had issues in their June Tests against Ireland similar to those Australia faced against Wales.
“Probably for exactly the same reason, some combination issues, new guys coming in, new locks,” Blades said.
“You have those little things there and I’m sure they will have worked really hard on those.
“Our guys understand the physical and mental challenge that is going to come up in the next few weeks and I think they are really looking forward to it.”© AAP 2013