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Wallabies look for scrum perfection to prevent penalties

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James Mortimer     10 Aug 2012     Getty Images

In times past the Wallabies pack was said to be the most cunning in world rugby, able to patch up any weaknesses with some tricky play or some suggestive words from experienced captains.

Whether or not this is the case is a matter of opinion, but occassional mirth from other rugby nations has been directed at the Wallabies over time, with history showing they can be overpowered up front.

With Ireland, the All Blacks and Scotland all having the upper hand on the Wallabies pack in the last 12 months, former test prop Blades said the time for Australian packs 'ghosting' the opposition was finished.

He told the Sydney Morning Herald that because of past habits, at times officials gave heavy attention to the Wallaby scrum.

"The last few years the 50-50 decisions at scrum time when a scrum collapses will often go against Australia," Blades said.

"So we're focusing on trying to take that out of the game by being the ones who work really hard in keeping the scrum up, keeping it square, to fight through those things."

"It can't be a case of saying, 'The scrum feels as if it is going down, I'll let it go and let the referee make the decision', because we know from a historical point of view we'll come out on the wrong side of the ledger.

However Blades felt that throughout Super Rugby Australian packs had proven they had the ability to compete.

"The players have more of a fighting mentality and believe it is important that you don't give up easily," he said.

"You've started to see that in the Super Rugby, such as the Waratahs having a great result up front against teams like the Crusaders. That gives the guys confidence to compete physically at that level. The guys know they can do it. It's now about having your mental attitude right on the day, and that we don't concede anything."

As it was with the All Blacks and Springboks, Blade said the Wallabies worked hard to get all players on the same page after they had been with their respective franchises.

"In regards to scrum and lineout work, each of the Australian franchises do things very differently," he said.

"So during this period we have been trying to get the simple things right.  From a scrummaging perspective, we concentrated on our ball in the Wales Test series and we were quite effective. We delivered virtually all of our ball, and there were almost no penalties or free kicks."