Stormers coach Rassie Erasmus became prickly when the strength of his scrum, and particularly the tight five, was again called into question at the weekend reports Craig Ray for thetimes.co.za
Rassie goes on the defensive as critics rubbish the Cape team’s retreating pack
After labouring to a 27-24 win over the Reds at Newlands on Friday night, Erasmus was not about to accept unfair criticism about the power of the Stormers’ pack, which has been an ongoing theme this season.
It started with Saracens coach Eddie Jones and prop Cobus Visagie dismissing the Stormers pack as weak and one resorting to illegal scrumming to gain parity.
It continued in the build-up to the opening match of the Super 14 against the Sharks with former Bok props Balie Swart and Robbie Kempson both rubbishing the Stormers pack. Sharks coach John Plumtree also waded into the debate.
And with the Blues to come at Newlands this Saturday, Erasmus has grown tired of opponents questioning their credentials.
“I’m not sure what people mean when they say we’re struggling up front,” Erasmus said. “Do they mean our defence, because it’s not the scrums or lineouts which people keep referring to?
“We lost one lineout against the Reds and last week admittedly we only won 68 percent or our lineout ball, but the Sharks only won about 40 percent of their ball.
“Last week, we won all five scrums on our ball and the Sharks won 10 on their ball. Against the Reds, we won all our scrum ball as well.
“So I’m really not sure where all this comes from. I’m very happy with the way the tight five is performing so perhaps critics need to be more specific about what’s wrong when they question us.
“Last week, I didn’t argue with Plum [John Plumtree] because there was already big hype around it, yet we went pretty well in those areas of the game.”
Erasmus became more agitated when it was suggested that despite winning their ball, the Stormers scrum was under pressure because it had been forced backwards against the Reds.
“I disagree, and if you are knowledgeable enough to comment on scrums then you must know that all the tightheads are under pressure,” Erasmus said.
“In all the games the tightheads struggle when it’s a scrum on the right hand side of the field because the looseheads can walk around.
“So, maybe you should look at whether the Reds scrum or the Sharks scrum was under pressure in the same situation.”
The Stormers need to keep winning at home and with a battered Blues team arriving in Cape Town this week they are quietly confident.
The Blues were hammered 59-26 by the Bulls at the weekend and are already without several key players.Tweet