Kill the maul warns Sharpe
Tue, 26 Aug 2014 14:27
Fundamental mindset of the South Africans
Nathan Sharpe has warned the wounded Australians that they will have to “blow up” the South African rolling mauls if they are to compete with the physical Springboks.
The Wallabies have proved decent defenders of the rolling maul in recent years, by using a big man to reach through and sack the ball carrier or by repelling with a drive as a pack before the rival can set up.
However, Sharpe warns that the Springboks are masters of the maul and it will not be as easy to defend or dislodge the ball once it gets moving.
“They [the Wallabies] have got to expect, with the South Africans, that’s exactly where they’ll come [through the mauls],” former Wallabies captain Nathan Sharpe said.
"They’ll want to try and make headway up front.
“It’s a fundamental mindset of the South Africans.
"They will look to get a physical dominance, and mauls are going to be the same.
"If they start making headway there, you are going to be in for a long day. The guys will know it will be a key component in Perth.”
Sharpe has indicated that the best way for the Wallabies to stand up to the maul will not be to counter it with a full pack drive, but rather to be quick off the mark in disrupting it.
“You have to kill it before it becomes a threat,” Sharpe said.
“You have to blow the whole thing up. The first five seconds of maul defence, particularly when its five metres out from your line, will determine whether or not the opposition will score.”
Field position can be a telling factor, said Sharpe. Competing for the jump or using a giant like Will Skelton to reach through can work 20 metres out, but as Australia learned at the weekend (against the All Blacks), there is no room for error five metres out
“You have to disrupt the set-up. That either comes from disrupting possession in the air and competing for the ball,” Sharpe said.
“Now, if the Australians contest in the air, and Victor [Matfield] jumps just in behind them or ahead of them, it’ll make life very hard for them.
"You can compromise your ability to get through on the ball or set up a good maul defence.
"The Boks will look closely enough to see what New Zealand did, and it’s definitely an area they’ll make plans around.
"Australia has got to be really powerful in that phase of the game early on.”
Sharpe, who skippered the Wallabies through a turbulent 2012, believes the side will be burnt after Auckland but more up for it to beat the Springboks.
“I think the Wallabies will win the next game. They can’t go back and change what’s happened,” he said.
“They can be really annoyed about it, which I know they will be. But they have to learn a lesson from it, and probably need to adjust their expectations to compete consistently at that top level.
“They’ll bounce back, because they’ll be fired up."
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