Wallabies stalwart Sekope Kepu is excited by the emergence of some young front rowers, but says the Australian pack has to cope with the pressure of having a target on their backs.
The Australian scrum attracted a mixture of plaudits and brickbats on the recently concluded spring tour.
They had problems in some games and dominated in others and consistency remains an elusive commodity.
“That’s always a challenge when you do so well. Packs start chasing you and you’ve got the target on your back,” Kepu said upon his return from the spring tour on Tuesday.
“The challenge for us is learning to cope with that pressure and keep building and keep pushing ourselves as a team.
“We showed that in patches with what we can do against Ireland with a seven man scrum, it’s striving to get that consistency.
“It’s something we spoke about a lot towards the back end of that tour and something we need to take in to our Super Rugby teams.”
Kepu, who cut short a stint in French club rugby to return to Australia mid-year, was effusive about the young Wallabies front rowers thrown in to the Test arena this year.
Props Allan Alaalatoa and Tom Robertson were both blooded in 2016.
Kepu welcomed their emergence and the internal competition they provided within the squad.
“I’m very very excited about the future of Australia’s front rowers,” Kepu said.
“They are still young, 22, it puts a lot of heat on me and I enjoy the challenge.”
“I can only pass on what I’ve learnt and I’m still learning.”
He said the biggest improvement in the Wallabies forward play this year had been in the lineout, where young locks Adam Coleman and Rory Arnold made a positive impression.