Rowntree expects clever Wallaby scrum

Date published: November 25 2014

England are expecting a few surprises from Australia at the set-piece according to forwards coach Graham Rowntree.

England are expecting a few surprises from Australia at the set-piece according to forwards coach Graham Rowntree.

The Wallaby scrum is often singled out as a weakness in their game, with England most famously enjoying success against them in the mid-2000s.

But while the Australians have not been dominant in the set-piece during the November Tests, it has not been the reason they’ve lost their last two games to France and Ireland either.

England meanwhile have started props Joe Marler and David Wilson in all three Tests so far, with the likes of Dan Cole and Alex Corbisiero out injured.

And while Rowntree has been impressed by the duo, he expects Australia to provide another stiff challenge.

“I don’t trust Australia, they’re a canny team. Always have been,” Rowntree said.

“They’re one of the most difficult teams to analyse in any week, but particularly in the last game of this series because they’ve lost their last two matches.

“I have so much respect for Michael Cheika. He’s a wise, smart, coach and I’m sure there will be a few tricks up their sleeves, as there always are against Australia.

“I don’t trust the notion that they’ll potentially struggle in the set-piece. Any time that has been said about them, they’ve proved us wrong. They’re clever tactically. They set you up for things and then do something completely different.

“You have to have all of your bases covered with Australia because they’re a very clever team. Around set-piece and line-out time, I’m sure they’ll have a few sneaks ready.

“Our props have done well, they’ve grown in stature with experience and are very dependable now. They are class props. They’re durable as well because it’s a tough job doing what they are doing in the Test arena. They’ve both grown into their roles.

“In the past few years David has played a bit-part role for us off the bench, but he’s been the mainstay for us over the last ten months.

“I’ve been really pleased with his progress and he knows there’s more to come from his game. Joe’s the same.

“Last weekend his game involvement was better than ever. They both know there’s more to come and it’s my job to drive that. They’re a delight to work with most of the time.

“They’re good guys who have a good energy, especially when it’s wet and cold and they’re scrummaging.”