Stormers coach Rassie Erasmus has turned the tables on Sharks boss John Plumtree in the war of words ahead of Saturday’s Super14 clash at Newlands.
Stephen Nell writes in Die Burger that Plumtree subtly alerted referee Mark Lawrence that the Stormers may scrum illegally during the match.
“Mark Lawrence has a big job refereeing the scrum,” Plumtree was quoted as saying on the Sharks’ official website.
“We want a legal contest because there are ways of upsetting a dominant scrum – by a lot of collapsing or angling in, so we just want a straight contest at the scrum and it is an area they will know we will look at targeting – it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to work that out – but that contest has to be very well-refereed to be a factor for us.”
Those comments went down like a lead balloon in Cape Town and it was clear at Wednesday’s press conference that Erasmus had taken exception.
“If my props were Deon Carstens and Jannie du Plessis, and both had not played since November, Beast Mtawarira is injured and John Smit is the only prop that could play in the warm-up games, I would also focus on the opposition scrum,” said Erasmus.
“It’s clever tactics, but I’m not sure it will work with Mark there.”
The Sharks will be the favourites after winning the Currie Cup last year, but Erasmus does not believe that will necessarily be a factor in their favour.
“You can slip into a hole after winning the Currie Cup because it feels as if you’ve done everything,” he said.
“I learned the hard way that it’s two very different things to win the Currie Cup and achieve success in the Super 14.
“The one (Currie Cup) is a mechanical thing where you may get a few weeks’ rest because you’re playing against weaker teams.
“That is why we place so much emphasis on conditioning. The negative part of not playing in the semi-finals of the Currie Cup is that people are angry with you. The positive is that you have an additional three weeks for conditioning. Hopefully that can count in our favour.”Tweet