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Crouching Wallabies in touch with changes set for scrum

Date

Georgina Robinson

"Apparently after four seconds of sitting in a crouch position you do lose that explosiveness, and so I think that's ...

"Apparently after four seconds of sitting in a crouch position you do lose that explosiveness, and so I think that's maybe why they've narrowed it down" ... prop Sekope Kepu, left. Photo: Getty Images

PARIS: Crouch, touch, set. Crouch, touch, set. Crouch, touch … you get the picture. And so, hopefully, do the Wallabies, who will play under the new, simplified scrum command for the first time this weekend.

The forwards have spent countless minutes digesting the three-step call - one step shorter than ''crouch, touch, pause, engage'' - and making their response as instinctive as possible.

''As soon as we completed the All Blacks game we had to switch things over quite quickly and pretty much got stuck into it the first training back we had,'' prop Sekope Kepu said.

''Apparently after four seconds of sitting in a crouch position you do lose that explosiveness, and so I think that's maybe why they've narrowed it down, but I like to think that our front-rowers are pretty dynamic to some sort of extent and I guess it will maybe work in our favour. But the challenge will be there for us to step into that three-call rule and make the most of it.''

The modified scrum call is one of a host of changes the Australians will face for the first time, along with a five-second ''use it or lose it'' rule at the back of the ruck, an allowance for teams to name two props on their benches, an expansion of the quick-throw-in and the option of taking a lineout from a knock-on that has gone into touch.

Wallabies halfback Nick Phipps was quick to play down the impact of the new ruck rule.

''Honestly, with our sort of game plan, we like a quick ruck speed, we like to keep it up-tempo and try and get the ball out as quickly as possible,'' Phipps said.

''I don't think it's really as deliberate as everyone [makes] it out to be, because the ref calls to use it and it's five seconds from then, so there's still quite a bit of time to do what you want … we have a little bail-out plan if we really run down to the wire but besides that we've just been going on as usual.''

Phipps said the quick throw-in law, which allows a player to throw the ball in anywhere between the line of touch and the player's goal line, and the lineout, would have more of an impact on the Wallabies' game.

The big test is Saturday. The French have been playing under the new rules already, with no great consequence. Phipps said he was confident the Wallabies would adapt well.

''We've been studying them a fair bit … they're more things for [captain Nathan Sharpe] and the leaders to know about, rather than us grunts,'' he joked.

''Robbie [Deans] has been quizzing us a bit, a few people have been avoiding him in the corridor.''

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Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 4 4 0 0 106 17
Wales 4 3 1 0 49 13
England 4 2 2 0 58 11
Fiji 4 1 3 0 -17 5
Uruguay 4 0 4 0 -196 0
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Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
South Africa 4 3 1 0 120 16
Scotland 4 3 1 0 43 14
Japan 4 3 1 0 -2 12
Samoa 4 1 3 0 -55 6
USA 4 0 4 0 -106 0
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Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
New Zealand 4 4 0 0 125 19
Argentina 4 3 1 0 109 15
Georgia 4 2 2 0 -70 8
Tonga 4 1 3 0 -60 6
Namibia 4 0 4 0 -104 1
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Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Ireland 4 4 0 0 99 18
France 4 3 1 0 57 14
Italy 4 2 2 0 -14 10
Romania 4 1 3 0 -69 4
Canada 4 0 4 0 -73 2
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