Wallabies ready for set-piece battle

Wallabies captain Stephen Moore says his side is ready to face a tough set-piece examination from the All Blacks in the Rugby Championship decider.

Coach Michael Cheika’s bold decision to start two openside specialists, Michael Hooper and David Pocock, gives the All Blacks a couple of key areas to attack at scrum and lineout time, but Moore says the Wallabies have prepared well for that.

Other changes to the pack, on top of naming Pocock out of position at No.8, include Dean Mumm taking over from giant lock Will Skelton in a new second-row combination with former captain James Horwill and prop Scott Sio making his starting debut.

That means a lot of adapting in a short time to establish combination in the lineout and scrum.

“The guys have trained together this week in the combination that’s playing and we’ve worked really hard on making sure that area of the game is sound,” Moore said on Friday.

“The scrum is going to be an important part of the game, along with the lineout and we’ve prepared in that fashion.”

Moore backed Pocock to thrive in his new position.

“Poey (Pocock) hasn’t played a lot of number eight, but he’s trained there all week … he’s a smart footballer, so I think he’ll be fine there,” Moore said.

The skipper said the Wallabies’ preparation couldn’t be better as they aim to beat New Zealand for the first time since 2011.

The Sydney Test doubles as the opening match of the two-game Bledisloe Cup series which continues in Auckland on Saturday week, as the Wallabies look to win the coveted trophy for the first time in 13 years.

“We’ve tried to train how we want to play and when you get to this point of the week, you just want to go out there and play,” Moore said.

“Guys have been really committed to what we are trying to do and we’ll see how we go tomorrow.”

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