The NSW Waratahs are determined to stop the Brumbies’ lethal attacking maul before it gets rolling in Friday’s Super Rugby Australian conference showdown in Canberra.
The conference-leading Brumbies used the tactic to devastating effect against the Highlanders last weekend, with openside flanker David Pocock scoring three first-half tries off unstoppable rolling mauls after lineouts.
Waratahs and former Brumbies forward Mitchell Chapman concedes the Brumbies’ key weapon is extremely difficult to counter.
“I think once the maul is set up really well, it’s hard to stop,” Chapman said on Monday.
“Either defending it in the air or stopping it before it gets going is pretty crucial.
“They’ve got a technically good maul. Once they get set up we could be in a bit of trouble so we have to look at getting stuck in early on.”
The Waratahs also scored a try from a rolling maul against the Rebels last weekend, with their openside flanker Michael Hooper, dotting the ball down.
Chapman isn’t fussed the much-anticipated showdown between rival No.7s Hooper and Pocock is dominating the pre-match buildup as they battle for the Wallabies spot.
“It doesn’t irk me, I enjoy watching both the guys play,” Chapman said.
“That can take a bit of attention off the rest of the game, but as a team we’re not focusing on one guy.
“We’ll be focusing on the team across the board.”
On Friday, Chapman could come up against his good mate, former Brumbies and Reds teammate Stephen Moore, captain and hooker of the Canberra-based franchise.
“We still speak pretty regularly and obviously he’s a pretty key figure for them,” Chapman said of Moore.
“If we get the opportunity to have a bit of a go at each other, it’s always good fun.”
Chapman relished getting a rare startinfg role against the Rebels last weekend.
“It was pretty physical early on, a lot of set piece work, but I definitely enjoyed it.”