September 11, 2013 / 5:02 AM / 4 years ago

Rugby-Argentina to put Wallabies scrum under microscope

MELBOURNE, Sept 11 (Reuters) - Argentina will aim to inflict further pyschological damage on Australia's forwards by dominating the scrum in their Rugby Championship clash in Perth on Saturday.

Argentina's pack were competitive in last Saturday's 28-13 loss to world champions New Zealand and will look to bully a Wallabies side sapped of morale after a 38-12 thrashing by South Africa.

Pumas prop Marcos Ayerza forecast a "great contest" in the scrum, despite their opponents' struggles in the set piece against the All Blacks and Springboks.

"I think the scrum is such a unique formation and a unique part of the game," Ayerza told reporters in Perth. "It's amazing how it influences the psychological domination.

"I think one of our big strengths that gives us confidence is playing the physical game - the tight forward game ... We pride ourselves in that area."

Argentina, who are still chasing their first win in the southern hemisphere tournament, made four backline changes to the starting team that played New Zealand but left their pack largely intact, with hooker Agustin Creevy replacing Eusebio Guinazo.

Ayerza, who plays for English club Leicester Tigers, put the onus on his forwards team mates to put points on the board, rather than leave the scoring to the backs.

"I feel the modern game hasn't given the scrum the importance it needs," the 30-year-old loosehead said.

"You've seen over the last five or 10 years how many teams have put the ball in and out (of the scrum) and just played it as a platform and not as a psychological dominance.

"It's a way of getting penalties.

"A pushover scrum is five points, same as 20 phases of fancy game," he added. "I prefer having the adrenaline and satisfaction of a pushover scrum.

"A good scrum dominance is second to none."

Writing by Ian Ransom; Editing by Greg Stutchbury

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