Like many on The Roar I have been frustrated by poor forward play by the Wallabies that was on show at the World Cup and has been there since Rod McQueen’s time over 10 years ago.
There has been several forwards coaches and scrum coaches and they have helped but they have not turned the Wallabies into the equal of the best in the world.
As the IRB’s number two ranked nation at the moment, we cannot expect to either hold this position or move to number one without this critical element of rugby union.
I would like to propose that the Wallaby forwards train against local Sydney and Brisbane forward packs in the key areas that we are poor in, scrummaging, ruck and counter ruck. (Apologies to ACT, Melbourne, Perth but if they have a team that is strong enough then use them as well.)
I was reminded of this by a couple of instances, one where a grade prop claimed he had worked over all the Wallaby props except one who he had not played against at a recent get together where talk turned to a Gordon scrum that pasted the Wallabies in the 70’s and it got me thinking.
I assume that there is a lot of opposed scrummaging and rucking within the squad but against a forward pack that have played together, possibly for years, the game is very different.
If the grade players show more tenacity and skill at scrum and the breakdown than the current Wallabies, that would send a strong and direct message to every Wallaby forward. If the Wallabies get over the grade players then it can be a great training session that can only improve rugby in Australia
It would be a matter of a couple of phone calls to find out who were the strong scrum teams in Sydney and Brisbane and who were the best at the breakdown. The Wallabies would then be facing players who were either not good enough to make a super squad or were never picked. It could well show up some Wallaby weaknesses and improve their technique. It may unearth a couple of talented players which would be great. It will also bring different teams against the Wallabies and that in itself is a good thing.
What I am suggesting is a different level of training to apply to the Wallabies where players, who are two levels and a financial light year away from the elite could put them under pressure, which will hurt deeply and might be the very thing to get them off their arses and into the scrums and breakdowns.
The knowledge that there are players who have mostly not come through the academies, being paid peanuts, could take their spot might be just what the Wallabies and grade players need to take the game up a level.