Sekope Kepu carries the ball forward to score a try in front of Argentina's Nicolas Sanchez during their Test match in Canberra.
Sekope Kepu carries the ball forward to score a try in front of Argentina's Nicolas Sanchez during their Test match in Canberra. Rick Rycroft

Top of the props: Kepu getting the chocolates

SEKOPE Kepu has revealed the powerful motivation behind his five-pointer in Canberra that saw the veteran enter the record books for most tries by a Wallaby prop: a Snickers bar.

It may not be the most acknowledged skill but props everywhere take enormous pride in their try-scoring tallies - however modest - and it's no different at Test level.

Kepu drew level with Ben Alexander on four career tries for the Wallabies by diving over from a metre out against the Pumas in Canberra.

The 84-Test prop said he'd felt the pressure of scoring in the 48th minute after fellow engine roomers Scott Sio and Tatafu Polota had done the groundwork with by driving on Sean McMahon's back and pushing him to near the line.

Kepu said he'd escalated the urgency with a unique, prop-only motivation technique.

"The last one on the weekend was purely down to the work from our fellow front rowers," Kepu said.

"They cleaned past the ball and I actually saw it there and accelerated like it was a bar of chocolate.

"I saw no-one there so I knew I had to get the try or I was in trouble because I was by myself."

 

Sekope Kepu passes the ball during the Rugby Championship match between the Wallabies and the Springboks at NIB Stadium in Perth
Sekope Kepu passes the ball during the Rugby Championship match between the Wallabies and the Springboks at NIB Stadium in Perth RICHARD WAINWRIGHT

There is some way for Kepu to go to reach the world record of 11 tries, held by Italian Martin Castrogiovanni.

For now he'll stay focussing on his primary role, however: scrummaging.

Kepu has been strong this year after winning back his no.3 jersey from young rival Allan Alaalatoa, and in combination with Sio and Polota-Nau, the Wallabies front row has been solid.

Against the fabled Argentinian scrum in Canberra, the Wallabies dominated and they even had a Pumas prop yellow carded late in the game with a sustained scrum period on the visitors' line.

But Kepu has been around long enough to know as soon as you start patting yourself on the back as a scrum, a rival will turn up and monster you.

"​There is still improvement to be made there, by no means are we happy with that," Kepu said.

"We have to keep b​uilding that consistency as I have always talked about. South Africans have a great scrum and have used it as a weapon for the last few games so it is something that is a strength of theirs. We will have to front up on the weekend.

Every scrum is different and every pack works technically in their own ways. It is different. So the challenge is always something new, something different, each week."

Kepu said the Wallabies scrum had done well in the first half against the Boks but then lost its way in the second, in part due to some questionable refereeing calls.

"We took the foot off the throat a little bit. In the first half we did well to put some pressure on them and then I think we were a bit unlucky with some of those decisions," Kepu said.

"They actually did well against the All Blacks. There were some massive battles there."

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