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Wallabies coach plots huge turnaround to become world's best at past weakness

By AAP
(Photo by Getty Images)

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Settling into his role as full-time Wallabies forwards coach, ex-Brumbies boss Dan McKellar wants Australia to develop the best maul in international rugby.

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The Wallabies will get a litmus test of their forward strength against England in their opening Test in Perth on Saturday night.

But it won’t be the end game on McKellar’s watch as he looks to make the Wallabies’ maul – a major weapon for the Brumbies in Super Rugby – a world beater.

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Reviewing the Super Rugby Pacific final
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Reviewing the Super Rugby Pacific final

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

“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.”

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Despite a dry track predicted at Optus Stadium, the forward battle is expected to be key in deciding the three-Test series with England priding themselves on their work up front.

McKellar said they knew what was coming.

“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.

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“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.”

With the team to be named Thursday the Australians could be without world-class prop Taniela Tupou, who has been battling a calf injury, with McKellar cagey on whether the Reds bruiser will play.

“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.”

We’ve got our hands on tickets to the upcoming eToro Series as the Wallabies take on England in their own backyard! Click here for your chance to win.

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