The Wallabies have turned to the famous Bajada scrummaging technique in a bid to beat Argentina at their own game and book a spot in next week’s World Cup final.
For decades Argentina’s famed scrum had put fear into opponents with its ability to dismantled and humiliate rivals.
The Puma scrum, better known as the Bajada, is typified by a concerted eight-man push where the force is concentrated through the hooker.
It’s a concept which former Argentina and Wallabies prop Enrique “Topo” Rodriguez explained in his book The Art Of Scrummaging.
“Each man pushes to get the maximum power applied to the blunt point of the wedge … the shoulders of the hookers,” he said.
For Australia, that goes through the hardened 112kg frame of captain Stephen Moore.
Wallabies scrum guru Mario Ledesma, a powerful hooker who was capped 84 times for Argentina, has introduced the technique into Australia and has seen immediate results, with England’s much-vaunted scrum reduced to rubble in their pool clash.
Loosehead prop James Slipper, a near-certainty to start against the world No.4 at Twickenham due to the elbow injury suffered by Scott Sio, noted the similarities in styles of the two packs set to clash on Sunday.
“They’re an honest pack. They’re just a pack … we’re quite similar in the way we want to scrum,” he said.
“It’s going to be a good battle.”
Australia’s scrum enjoyed less success against Scotland – a point coach Michael Cheika put down to a general lack of focus for the clash, which he took the blame for.
Cheika explained the scrum, which had been singularly focused on their one goal of pushing straight through the pool stages, lost focus and began to try and combat Scotland’s scrummaging techniques.
It’s a trap which Slipper says they won’t fall into against Argentina.
“We played into the Scottish hands… We have a philosophy on how we want to scrum and we went away from that,” he said.
“It’s about not being reactive to things. It’s about doing your thing.
“We just weren’t being consistent with what we were doing.
“It’s hard to put it down to whether it was mentality or physical but at the end of the day we didn’t scrum the way we wanted to and it was a kick up the arse for us.”