28 Jul 2011

Mr Fix-It Kepu ready to 'thank' NZ gurus

7:34 am on 28 July 2011

New Zealand's forwards coaches can blame only themselves if the Wallabies scrum finally holds firm to break a 25-year Bledisloe Cup and Tri Nations rugby drought at Eden Park on Saturday week.

They let the powerhouse 120-kilogramme prop Sekope Kepu slip through their fingers after converting him from a number eight just six years ago when he dreamt of being an All Black.

Kepu's now Australia's biggest Mr Fix-It after loose-head prop Benn Robinson ruptured a knee ligament.

New Zealand's scrum guru Mike Cron, All Blacks forwards coach Steve Hansen and Samoa's current coach Aussie McLean advised Kepu to switch to loose-head prop when he was in the New Zealand Under-19 team in South Africa in 2005.

The Sydney-born Auckland-raised Tongan is likely to go head-to-head with Owen Franks, a former New Zealand Under-21 teammate he rates as one of the world's top tight-heads.