Australia: Dan McKellar wants Wallabies to have best maul in the world

Dylan Coetzee

Wallabies forwards coach Dan McKellar is aiming to develop the best maul in the world as he looks to make an impact in his new full-time role.

The former Brumbies coach sees the driving lineout as a possible point of difference in Test rugby, which is renowned for presenting fewer opportunities than other levels of the game.

Pushing to be the best

McKellar believes it will take time for their structures to develop to that standard but says the mentality of trying to be the best in the world in that facet of the game is crucial.

“We’re trying to develop a mindset here of having the best maul in the world,” McKellar told reporters.

“That takes time, there’s five groups of players that come from different franchises and they all do it differently.

“The reality is in Test match games are often tight …opportunities are less, but when we do take them we’ve got to be better.

“Mauling’s one part of it, there’s a whole lot to being a good forward pack, but it’s an area that we’ve identified that can certainly make some shifts.”

The coach is expecting England to rely on physicality and set-piece as the Wallabies gear up for a three-match Test series against their old rivals.

“It’s been part of English rugby DNA for forever and a day that set-piece and physicality and brutality is important and it’s certainly going to be important for our pack,” he said.

“We know that for us to win this game we’ve got to win the collisions and we’ve got to look to dominate at set-piece – it’s as simple as that.

“They’re world class and it’s a real challenge for us and if we do that you allow the backline to really shine and dominate.

“They’ll be strong at set-piece; (Maro) Itoje and (Courtney) Lawes, Jamie George; they’re world class so it’s an enormous challenge for us.”

Taniela Tupou blow

Australia is preparing to name their line-up without influential front-row Taniela Tupou, who is suffering from a calf issue, and McKellar admits it will be a big loss.

“There’s no doubt he would be a loss… he’s a point of difference player and has got a pretty unique skill set Taniela,” McKellar said.

“He’s incredibly powerful at scrum time and he also brings a point of difference in open play.

“There’s other areas of his game where he’s starting to value and wanting to improve but we’re fortunate that if he’s not available, guys like Allan Alaalatoa and others can step up and certainly do a job for us.”

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