New Wallabies scrum coach Petrus du Plessis intends turning Australia’s pack into a collective “weapon” capable of dominating world rugby.
Having been coaching via zoom video conferences since his September appointment due to COVID-19 travel and quarantine restrictions, South African du Plessis has finally been able to take a hands-on approach with the Wallabies this week ahead Saturday night’s Bledisloe Cup Test against New Zealand at Suncorp Stadium.
With the Bledisloe Cup having already been secured by New Zealand for an 18th successive year following their record-breaking 43-5 thrashing of Australia last weekend, the Wallabies are seeking redemption.
“Like any team, we’ve had honest discussions this week,” du Plessis said.
“We’re going to fault-correct most of it. We’ll grown and learn from our mistakes.”
The Wallabies growth also includes improving their scrum.
Du Plessis, a three-time English premiership winning prop with Saracens who only retired from playing in January while at the Glasgow Warriors, said Australia’s scrum had always been “there or thereabouts” but needed to take the next step.
🇦🇺 🦘 Welcome to family, Tatey! Wallaby no.936. #Wallabies #BledisloeCup #AUSvNZL pic.twitter.com/niZPNKQNXM
“They didn’t have a bad (2019) World Cup campaign, but some people might say the scrum is just a restart of a set piece,” he said.
“We want to make the scrum a weapon so that we can decide whether we attack or not and we can manipulate the opposition so that we can attack much better.
“The talent that we’ve got at the minute is good enough to possibly have one of the best scrums in the world.
“We’ve made good strides. The guys are working hard for each other.
“We’ve got an impressive athletic bunch of young guys coming through in Australia.”
They include Queensland Reds prop Taniela Tupou, who is hoping to be recalled to Australia’s starting side on Saturday night.
“He’s a phenomenal athlete, probably one of the strongest props I’ve ever come across” du Plessis said of Tupou.
“His future’s extremely bright, he’s learning really well … to have (him) be less vulnerable to the ref’s interpretation, and he showed really good courage to change that.”
Du Plessis, 39, said his recent playing experience and his physiotherapy background made him an idea scrum coach
“I’m an expert in neck strengthening, that helps massively in the scrum, core strengthening … so if you put all that together with the fact I’ve only recently played, I know the new scrum rules inside out I’ve stuck my head in those dark places,” he said.
“That’s where the conversation led with (Wallabies coach) Dave (Rennie).
“He liked the way I presented and get the message across.”
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