SCOTLAND rugby coach Andy Robinson has hailed the Wallabies’ improvement in scrummaging, declaring it is no longer a weakness.
The Scots play Australia in a one-off Test in Newcastle next Tuesday, searching for their first win in eight Tests and eight and a half months.
They finished bottom of the 2011-12 Six Nations after losing all five fixtures and have slumped to 12th in the IRB World Rankings behind the likes of Tonga, Samoa and Italy.
Scotland squeezed out a memorable 9-8 win over Australia at Murrayfield when the two nations last met in 2009.
Former England flanker and coach Robinson has no illusions about the task facing his nation whose only win in 10 Tests against the Wallabies in Australia was 30 years ago.
“There’s some real quality that Australia are developing, particularly up front in the forward pack,” Robinson told reporters in Sydney on Sunday.
“That used to be an area where you could maybe target the scrum as an area of weakness and give you a foothold and England did it a couple of years ago,
“That’s no longer there, that weakness, the scrum has really realty improved. The work that the front-rowers are doing now is absolute quality.”
Robinson and his captain Ross Ford are adamant their squad, which includes five uncapped players, can push Australia.
“Playing Australia at home is a massive challenge, but we believe that parts of the performances that we had in the Six Nations, we’ve got the game there that can test them,” forward Ford said.
“It’s about being more consistent, for the 80 minutes.”
Former Wallabies’ assistant coach and ex-Wales and United States head coach, Scott Johnson, has just joined the Scotland panel as the coach responsible for attack.
Queensland defence coach Matt Taylor will join Scotland after the Super Rugby tournament.
While Scotland will have more preparation time than Australia, some of whose players will be involved in Super Rugby next weekend, Robinson doubted that would advantage his team.
“They’ve got things to prove as well I think I guess after our victory last time and what happened with Samoa last year,” Robinson said.
“The players are not going to go in dropping any concentration, they are going to be fully concentrating for this game.”
Robinson had no qualms about playing a midweek Test against Australia at a regional venue and was delighted to play the Wallabies before tackling Fiji and Samoa later in June. – AAP