Blake could bolster Aussie scrum

NZRU     25 Jul 2006     NZRU

The tighthead prop impressed in his debut Test match against England in Sydney on June 11 but injured his ankle in second Cook Cup Test a week later in Melbourne spending over a month on the sidelines.

But he ran freely in Australia A's 80-9 demolition of Fiji at Melbourne's Olympic Park on Saturday night prompting Wallabies coach John Connolly to speculate bringing the 23-year-old back into the Test fray for the vital Bledisloe Cup clash this weekend.

"He (Blake) got through it pretty well… we'll definitely consider him," Connolly said.

In Blake's absence, Brumbies tighthead prop Guy Sheperdson has been selected in the Wallabies front row and has been performing well so it may come down to a matter of match fitness as to who will take on the much vaunted All Blacks scrum.

Blake admitted he still had some work to do on the fitness front before his first tussle with an All Blacks front row - widely regarded as the world's best.

"Everyone would say they're ready and I'm ready, but I do need more training and to work on my fitness during the week," Blake said.

"But it was good to get some game time to try to and get my fitness level back."

One of the All Blacks, prop Greg Somerville rated Blake as 'an extremely promising player.'

"Obviously Australia will be hoping that he stays for a long time I would say.

"He's a big boy, strong, and scrummages well but more than that he offers a lot around the field.

"There's definitely a presence when he's out there so I'm sure they'll be getting him back in there pretty soon," he said.