Australia might have fixed their scrum issues against Argentina but veteran prop Sekope Kepu says they can’t afford to rest on their laurels as they brace for another brutal set-piece battle with South Africa.
Tighthead Kepu led a vastly improved Wallabies scrum as they prevailed 45-20 over Los Pumas in Canberra in their last start.
But a week earlier they were troubled by the Springboks, who rolled off the back of a number of scrum penalties to surge from 20-10 down and secure a draw in Perth.
“We took the foot off the throat a little bit,” Kepu said ahead of Sunday morning’s (AEST) clash in Bloemfontein.
“I felt in that first half we did well to put some pressure on them and I think we were a bit unlucky with some of those decisions.
“It’s the challenge of finishing teams and nullifying those little issues before it actually happens.
“We spoke about all those things and worked on it against Argentina… (but) there’s still improvement there and by no means are we happy with that.
“Now again, it’s back to the Boks.
“We’ve got to fix what we didn’t do in the second half.”
Set piece is traditionally South Africa’s biggest strength but surprisingly, they have the Rugby Championship’s least effective scrum after four rounds.
Kepu said those statistics were deceiving, insisting it held up well against the All Blacks despite copping a 57-0 belting in Albany.
“This season in particular, they’ve put a lot of teams to the sword,” he said.
Kepu scored a try in Australia’s late onslaught against Argentina, the fourth time he has crossed the white stripe in his Test career.
It pulled him level with Ben Alexander as the Wallabies’ top try-scoring prop in history.
“The last one on the weekend was purely the work from our fellow front-rowers,” Kepu said.
“They clean passed the ball and I actually saw it there and accelerated like it was a bar of chocolate.
“Noone (was) there so I knew I had to get the try or else I was in trouble because I was by myself.”