Pierre-Henry Broncan: The mystery Wallabies assistant looking to weaponise ‘dark’ maul arts. | Latest Rugby News

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It’s an area that isn’t usually talked about within Australian Rugby glowingly but maul consultant Pierre-Henry Broncan is looking to embrace the ‘dark’ maul at the World Cup.

Broncan has slowly built up his reputation as one of the best coaches in France, starting in the second division of South-West France with Blagnac, earning them promotion.

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The 49-year-old did a similar thing with Colomiers before working as a defence coach for Stade Toulouse.

A stint in Bath was followed by a return to French Rugby with Castres, taking them to the Top 14 Final in 2022 where they went down to Montpellier.

The rolling maul has become a targeted focus for the side ever since the introduction of Dan McKellar as forwards coach.

McKellar came to the national set-up with a reputation thanks to a brutal Brumbies pack that enjoyed considerable success.

This hasn’t continued into 2023 as the Wallabies search for their best forwards combination.

Speaking to media, Broncan believes it’s mental, rather than tactical, that has been letting them down.

“We need to reinforce our maul for sure. We need to improve every day. We need to change the mindset of the Aussies because it’s a very important thing, a very important part of the game,” he said. 

“If you watched the game between South Africa and All Blacks there were 10 mauls during the game but just one try in the game to South Africa. 

“We had some problems around the connection. During the pitch, we need a focus to stay connected and fight in front of the maul.

“… We have to score tries from the maul. Against France we scored the first try from the maul, there was a penalty advantage and it’s a gift for the game to play. Sometimes we need to surprise the opposition. I’m confident about this World Cup.”

Australian Rugby has often geared its focus towards the running aspect of the game, which Broncan is eager to shift to learn to love the grind.

“Today the focus of some players is to carry the ball, to pass, to run, but the most important thing is the dark thing in the maul, it’s the most important thing,” he believes. 

“It’s important to fight without the ball. That’s a big change. The mindset of the boys during the week is very good, but we need to change the mindset during the game. 

“It’s not just about carrying the ball. If you want a good maul you need to fight without the ball, that’s the most important thing.

“The quality of the player is not a problem, the physicality of the player is not the problem, but to be a very good maul you need eight, nine, ten players to stay connected and drive in the same way.”

The players recognise this, with lock Nick Frost opening up after some ‘tough reviews’ regarding the area.

“We’ve had a few tough reviews, especially after last weekend’s performance. We want to use it as a weapon (and) we do believe it can be a weapon,” he said.

“We poked a few people in the chest. From here it’s about our intent and loving the maul…It’s an intent piece, it’s a chance to dominate as a pack. Scrum, lineout, maul, anything we get an opportunity to take it to the other pack we’ve got to be there for it. 

“From reviews, we haven’t been good enough in that area. There is always technical things you can be better at but there is definitely a love for mauling and intent and a want to do it.”





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