The days of Australian scrummaging impotency are over.

"As a front runner, you cant dread going to the gym ." Images: Wayne Fogde

Forget the nightmare of Twickenham ’05 when Baxter was red-carded and Dunning was carried off on a stretcher and the Wallabies were forced into the indignity of uncontested scrums. And forget the shame of Stade Velodrome ’07, where the Wallabies’ pack again crumbled and the Poms sent us packing in the World Cup quarters. If there was one positive to emerge from last year’s Spring Tour it was this: the Wallabies’ scrum is back. They dominated the English, bashed the Irish and fractured the Welsh. At Millennium Stadium a 56th-minute scrum that saw the Welsh pack crumble like stale cake brought back memories of ’84 and that pushover try …At the centre of this renaissance is the Waratahs’ loose-head prop Benn Robinson. At 113kg he’s a relative fly-weight and with just 31 Test caps he’s a relative greenhorn, but Robinson’s scrummaging prowess is world-class. Here’s how he builds a body that can tame the seismic force of 16 men pushing head-to-head

Love the iron

“As a frontrower you can’t dread going to the gym because it’s a big part of what you do on the field. At the moment we’re probably doing four upper body and four leg sessions a week. If I have a week or two out of the gym, my body’s craving some weights work; I’m really looking forward to lifting again, getting those endorphins pumping, getting that buzz. It’s the same with scrummaging – you pack a good scrum, then you’re pumped up, excited about packing the next one. There’s a very close relationship there.”

Tree trunks

“We do a huge number of squats. We start with the basic squat and from there move into a lot of variational squats. There’s the bench or box squat: this involves sitting back onto a box where your hips are lower than your knees, then driving back up. This squat is very specific for forwards because it unloads the weight at a lower height, so when you push out of the squat, your legs are in a prime pushing position. This is the position you want your legs in when you’re scrummaging. You get power at different angles through your legs, and that power down low is the power you want in the scrum. “Then there’s the sumo squat, which is like a deadlift, but with an alternate grip – one hand facing out, the other facing in. This mainly hits your gluts and ensures you maintain a good pushing posture throughout the movement. “Then there’s the quarter squat, where you only drop a quarter of the way down. This is good because you can really load up the bar – 250kg plus – and work your top-end strength. “The reps and sets vary all the time. In the pre-season you want to get through as many reps as possible – eight-to-ten per set. In-season you want to look after your legs and back as much as possible, while also maintaining the strength and size you built in the pre-season. This means keeping the weight high while dropping the reps to four-to-six per set.”