The Wallabies are expecting a typical dog fight at the set-pieces against Wales at the weekend – but not much else.
Loose-head prop specialist Scott Sio has placed down against Wales in the last two games and picked up two wins. On Saturday, he aims to make it an unlucky 13 losses in a row for the home side against the Wallabies at the Principality Stadium.
“Wales are a very set-piece focussed team and they are very strong at it. We know we are in for a battle there this weekend,” said Sio.
“Wales will definitely be up for it. The northern sides pride themselves on their scrum and you can see it is a big part of their game and they get a lot from it.
“They’ve had a very strong system here for a while and the scrum session against England was probably them trying out something new. We would learn a lot out of having a scrum session with the All Blacks, but I don’t think Michael Cheika would allow it.
“We know we are going up another level this week against a very strong Welsh team and we are going to have to be on the ball.”
The Wallabies warmed-up for the game with a nine try romp against Japan in Yokohama last weekend and are currently on a run of vie games without defeat. Included in that sequence is a win over the All Blacks.
“Any time you beat the best team in the world it is definitely going to raise the attitude of the team and keep the spirits going. We took what we could from that game, and what we did well, what we need to improve on, and we brought that into the Japan game,” added Sio.
“We were able to work on our shape in attack and our connections in defence against Japan. At times we got tested, but I liked the way we scrambled back in defence and held our composure in attack.
“There are now three big games ahead us and we have got to be ready for them. It’s hard to say whether or not we are a better team than a year ago.
“We have got different personnel, with a lot of youth this time around, and the best thing about this group is we have learned from each game and continued to build. We didn’t start the Rugby Championship off the way we wanted to, but we improved as each game came along.
“We knuckled down after that opening game against the All Blacks. We wanted to show the character of the team after that game and to continue to grow.
“We worked pretty hard before that test and it didn’t go our way. As the championship went on we began to really build as a team. The rewards are coming for all the hard work we have put in.”
There is only one player in the Wales squad who has tasted success against the Wallabies, skipper Alun Wyn Jones, in Cardiff in 2008. In the same game the 126 cap hooker Stephen Moore, the only Aussie to have lost to Wales in the current squad, has 12 wins and one defeat in his 13 outings against the men in red.
“The last few matches against Wales could have gone either way. In the World Cup in 2015 the outcome might have been different if they had scored,” added Sio.
“The games have been quite close and very competitive, so I don’t see this week being any different.”