This is my original piece of writing I took an entire night to come up with it, but this morning I woke up and to my horror my window was smashed and my article gone and in its place a stamp that read : “JJ was here”
What a plagiarist!!!
Anyway I’ll repost it here. . . . . . bloody sport24 writers :
When do uncontested scrums become cheating? I was wondering about this when the Waratahs were forced into this option in their Vodacom Super Rugby match against the Bulls last week.
The Aussies lost Benn Robinson early due to an ankle injury and he was replaced by Paddy Ryan. It wasn’t long before Ryan cried off due to a shoulder injury and uncontested scrums became compulsory, due to safety precautions.
There was no doubt in my mind that Ryan was faking the injury. The fact of the matter was that he seemed very, very uncomfortable packing against Werner Kruger. He conceded two penalties in the first three scrums and soon after left the field, clutching a shoulder.
At the time, the Bulls had raced into a 20-6 lead but after that, and with no scrums to tap the visitors’ energy, they came back strongly and almost stole the match.
This was not the first time it’s happened (uncontested scrums) and as long as the current laws are in place, it will not be the last.
Safety should be the main concern in any scrum and the whole ‘crouch-yawn-touch-yawn-pause-yawn-engage’ sequence has managed to do that.
Unfortunately, this does open the door for some tactical manipulation and you will often find that when a prop picks up an injury early in the game, uncontested scrums seem inevitable, especially if the replacement prop plays in his less favoured position.
Then it becomes a bit of a farce and as happened in the Bulls v Waratahs match, both teams soon substituted their other prop as well and replaced them with more mobile loose forwards.
This is not ideal and in reality if SANZAR want more spectators at matches, they should prevent the mismatches which are caused by uncontested scrums.
The only way to go about solving the problem is by having another prop on the bench. This course of action has been used in the French Top 14 for a couple of seasons already.
It’s good to see Reds coach, Ewen McKenzie, asking for the same thing. As a former Test prop, he knows how valuable scrums are in a rugby match and the fact that he coached in France where player 23 was the norm, made him see the benefits of rewarding a strong scrum.
McKenzie feels SANZAR should follow the example of French rugby.
“I enjoyed coaching in France (Stade Francais) where they have 23-man squads with an extra prop,” he told the Australian Associated Press (AAP).
“They had a lot of uncontested scrum situations happening and then they changed it and it tidied it up very quickly. It’s a model that works well in Europe and it will be interesting if they look at it from a SANZAR point of view.”
Bulls captain, Victor Matfield, also asked for the extra prop to be added.
“I played in France (Toulon) and it worked really well. Nobody wants uncontested scrums as it changes the whole complexity of the game. In our case against the Waratahs, it certainly shifted the momentum back to them.”
McKenzie also sees it as a development tool.
“It was a great tool to be able to expose and develop, particularly young props, as you can have that 23rd player as a young prop and you can introduce them into the game so they get experience, otherwise they go in cold at some point,” he said.
If instituted, we will of course suddenly see an explosion of props on the rugby scene. As things are presently, props, especially tightheads, can demand huge pay cheques because of their standing in the game.
Another one on the bench will not necessarily mean massive expenses for a team, as there are many young props around. A lot of them, incidentally, play in Europe.
I recently met Saracens prop, Petrus du Plessis, who was out here to play for the Premier XV in their match against the SA Kings.
He was of course, one of the ‘exiles’ coming back to play in front of his own people. The three props in that game were Du Plessis, Rayno Gerber and Danie Saayman. We have dozens more plying their trade abroad and if player (prop) 23 is added, many of those will have an option to come home.
It was interesting to hear Du Plessis and Gerber, who plays at Stade Francais, comparing notes and how techniques differ from those in South Africa. Both agreed that scrums in Europe take up more time and therefore require a different technique.
In Super Rugby it is all about the ‘hit’, then a small shove and off you go.
In Europe you have counter shoves and for that, they explained, props, especially tightheads, need to stay up longer. All very interesting to hear and see, but worth nothing in a local sense, because we have an escape clause… called uncontested scrums.
If we sort that out, our scrums will be a better product, rugby matches will stay a contest despite injuries and we will broaden the base of some of the most important players on the field.
Read Sherifff every Sunday in the Pub.
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