Rugby Championship

Oz scrum might surprise at RWC - Mumm

2015-08-10 11:07
Dean Mumm (Getty Images)

Sydney - Australia's scrum still has a great deal of room for improvement but might not prove the Achilles heel at the World Cup that pool opponents England and Wales expect it to be, lock Dean Mumm said on Monday.

A competitive performance at the set piece on Saturday at Sydney's Olympic Stadium was one of the rocks on which Australia built a first victory over New Zealand in 11 attempts to clinch the Rugby Championship.

Mumm, who was making his first Test start since 2010, has just returned from three years in English rugby at Exeter and is well aware of how Australia's scrummaging is perceived by their fellow players in the Northern Hemisphere.

"The Poms are not so keen on us scrummaging, they certainly feel it's an area that can be pressured and one they feel they have dominance in," the 31-year-old told reporters on Monday after a therapeutic dip in the Pacific Ocean.

"From my point of view, I think that's a great opportunity for us. We went okay in the scrum at the weekend and I think we're certainly improving as an entity there, but we still have a long way to go.

"England and Wales pride themselves massively on their scrummaging ability and their ability to put pressure on sides through that.

"If you want to be the genuine article, you have to have the ability to do that. I don't think we're 100 percent there but we're improving."

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika is well aware of Australia's frailties up front, perceived or otherwise, and brought in former Argentina hooker Mario Ledesma, who also played in French club rugby, to work on the set piece earlier this year.

"Mario's been good," said Mumm. "He's got that balance of the Argentine and the European perspective on it from his time playing over there.

"So he understands the mentality associated with it and where scrummaging is concerned that's as big an element as any."

Mumm admits he returned to Australia "on a wing and a prayer" as far as his international future was concerned a couple of months ago and was "honoured and delighted" to get the start against New Zealand.

The grandson of an All Black and born in Auckland before moving to Australia as an infant, Mumm knows very well how deeply Saturday's defeat will be felt on the other side of the Tasman Sea.

He is equally aware of what that means for Saturday's Bledisloe Cup encounter at Eden Park, where New Zealand last lost in 1994 and Australia last beat the All Blacks in 1986.

"New Zealand are the best team in the world because they're consistent, aren't they?" he said.

"They won't have a performance they weren't happy with and repeat it a week later. We're expecting a pretty full on kiwi response at ground they love to play on.

"It's a very tough task, many teams have struggled there, but it's a task we're very much looking forward to."

Read more on:    wallabies  |  rugby championship  |  rwc 2015  |  rugby


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