Emerging Wallabies scrum threat Scott Sio has credited captain Stephen Moore and David Pocock for helping build his mental toughness, as he strives to become the second generation of his family to be selected for a Rugby World Cup.
Prop Sio started for the first time in his seven-Test career last weekend when he contributed to a strong Wallabies scrummaging display against the All Blacks.
It was the most minutes the 23-year-old Brumbies front rower had played in a Test and a timely performance with the World Cup just over a month away.
Australia have won the last five Tests in which Sio has played.
The often maligned Australian scrum attracted some plaudits, but Sio stressed they were still striving for consistency.
“We had some good scrums on the weekend but we had some scrums where we really need to improve as well,” Sio said.
He came off the bench for Australia’s two previous Tests this season and has established himself in the squad after an ankle injury last year limited him to one international appearance.
The enforced layoff prompted him to look at ways he could lift his game and he benefited from the guidance and wisdom of Wallabies captains and fellow Brumbies forwards Moore and Pocock.
“I took a bit of time to focus on the mental approach to rugby,” Sio said.
“It’s something I haven’t explored a lot and to see how I can build up that mental toughness while you’re on the field.
“I was very lucky to have David Pocock and Stephen Moore there helping me along the way as well, just to see if I can find that edge.”
Another big influence on his career is his father Tavita, who was also an accomplished prop.
Tavita played two Tests for Samoa and was part of their 1991 World Cup squad, though he didn’t play a game in the tournament.
“It’s always good to talk to him after the game, just to get another bit of feedback,” Sio said.
“He’s always telling me there’s always things I can improve on.”