robdylan

The scrums are not the issue


Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks on 8 Sep 2014 at 16:54
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I note with some dismay that Sharks coach Brad Macleod-Henderson has identified scrums as an area of weakness for the team – and one that needs to be worked on ahead of this weekend’s trip to Bloemfontein.

While it is correct to say that the Sharks fared poorly, winning back clean ball from only 6 of their 11 scrum feeds in the game, the impact of a number of frankly inexcusable refereeing calls on this phase cannot be overstated. Simply put, the issue on Saturday at scrumtime was not that the Sharks were doing anything wrong, but that the referee was blind to Griquas transgressions at that phase.

The first infringement (7th minute) given against the Sharks was a free kick for a skew scrum feed. That one was dead to rights and a legitimate foul from Conrad Hoffmann. Nothing to do with the pack, but rather a mistake in execution from a player who made many on the night.

The second (46th minute) saw referee Lourens van der Merwe penalise Sharks tighthead Lourens Adriaanse for wheeling the scrum. Any even half decent look at the match footage shows opposite number Steph Roberts set at an angle and then proceed to scrum directly in on Adriaanse. The Sharks prop did absolutely nothing wrong – the ref simply missed what had happened and blew the penalty the wrong way.

In the 49th minute, Adriaanse was again penalised, this time for dropping the scrum. Looking at the footage, you can clearly see Roberts again prompting the collapse by pulling his opposite number down. We could perhaps give the Griquas man the benefit of the doubt here and blame the collapse on a slip from Adriaanse, hardly the sort of mistake that warrants a penalty (if indeed he was at fault, which I dispute).

Buoyed by his success, Roberts was far less subtle in the 53rd minute, with the Sharks enjoying an attacking scrum 5m from the Griquas line. On this occasion, you can clearly see him hit in and downwards on Matt Stevens, instantly bringing the scrum to ground. Once again, the penalty went against the Sharks when Stevens had done nothing wrong; he had set straight and square but could not hold up a scrum that was being forced downwards by his opponent.

The Sharks lost their fifth scrum in the 67th minute. In this case, a penalty was awarded to Griquas not for any scrum infringement, but rather because Stephan Lewies played the ball from in front of Hoffmann, who had moments earlier knocked it on. It was far from a great scrum, from either side, but Hoffmann certainly had the opportunity to turn it into something, had he been able to execute better.

My advice to the Sharks coaches would be to take this matter up with SARU and put pressure on their head of refereeing to explain the obviously incorrect calls made against them. To infer from Saturday’s performance that we have a fundamental scrumming problem, though, would be wrong and would detract from the other far more serious issues affecting the team.

scrumcollapse



30 Comments

  • Van der Merwe apparently taught physical science at Grey before he became a ref. I feel for his students.

  • Comment 1, posted at 08.09.14 17:04:17 by Bokhoring Reply
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  • One of the few moments in that game that I did enjoy was the second scrum after Stevens got unfairly pinged. Matt clearly knew that Roberts was going to try pull him down again to milk another penalty and countered it to perfection. Roberts tripped himself up in trying to pull him down.

  • Comment 2, posted at 08.09.14 17:12:09 by gregkaos Reply
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  • @gregkaos (Comment 2) : ironic cheer from the commentators to once he finally spotted it.

  • Comment 3, posted at 08.09.14 17:20:03 by robdylan Reply
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  • Agree with your comments . Pumas were very street wise on the day. They got away with it. Poor show on our side for not countering it or doing the same to them. But all in all a poor reffing decision. Just love what Jonathan Kaplan had to say on his ”rate the ref” website.

  • Comment 4, posted at 08.09.14 17:31:49 by DaveB Reply

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  • @DaveB (Comment 4) : Pumas were bloody good, but we didn’t play against them :)

  • Comment 5, posted at 08.09.14 17:37:50 by robdylan Reply
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  • To be fair though Rob, our props clearly aren’t pulling their weight in the try-scoring department leaving it all up to those poor players with the higher numbers on their shirts, so they should come under scrutiny for something at least.

  • Comment 6, posted at 08.09.14 17:39:33 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @vanmartin (Comment 6) : it’s true :)

  • Comment 7, posted at 08.09.14 17:52:42 by robdylan Reply
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  • Fuck is he serious? !?!?!?! Really?!?!?!?! Lots of other stuff to sort out but he’s worried about the scrum?!?!?! Am I alone in seriously wondering in BMH ability as a coach after that comment? !?!?! Was thinking of going to Bloem for the game but now I really don’t think so!!!!!!

  • Comment 8, posted at 08.09.14 18:14:15 by JD Reply
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  • the picture above refers to the 4th lost scrum, in the 53rd minute.

  • Comment 9, posted at 08.09.14 18:21:38 by robdylan Reply
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  • Nice read Rob….Make a good point.

    BMH please get your head out the sand…….JW please get Jacques Botes to run the Acadamy. Very solid guy, good principles, fantastic work ethic and very experienced. Our Acadamy is an absolute shambles that is why there is no feeding system. We need to fix the root of the problem.

  • Comment 10, posted at 08.09.14 19:45:04 by Lieplapper Reply

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  • One could tell that Mr. Headmaster decided to teach Adriaanse a lesson….he really felt like a man after that. :roll:

  • Comment 11, posted at 08.09.14 19:47:45 by FireTheLooser Reply

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  • @Lieplapper (Comment 10) : Now would be a good time for Rob to reveal what Botes’s job description will be at the Sharks from next year on…it might just be what you suggested

  • Comment 12, posted at 08.09.14 19:49:34 by FireTheLooser Reply

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  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 12) : he won’t be running the Academy, but I believe he will be in charge of junior player recruitment

  • Comment 13, posted at 08.09.14 20:37:28 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 9) :

    The Shark prop in your picture is not binding properly.

    It looks as if he is either binding on his opponent’s arm, or has already slipped his bind.

  • Comment 14, posted at 08.09.14 21:05:43 by fyndraai Reply
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  • @fyndraai (Comment 14) : Don’t know man, looks like it’s under the armpit which must be hell if you’re ticklish but allowed as far as I know.

    http://rossrugby.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/Scrumming1-300×181.jpg

  • Comment 15, posted at 08.09.14 21:49:38 by vanmartin Reply
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  • nope. Just watched the clip again. Stevens binds up and over the arm, grabbing the jersey behind the arm, completely legally. As Roberts pulls the scrum down, Stevens’ hand follows down the arm….

  • Comment 16, posted at 08.09.14 23:40:50 by robdylan Reply
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  • I see Andre Watson says the refs get the scrum calls 80% right

  • Comment 17, posted at 09.09.14 00:13:51 by Baylion Reply

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  • @vanmartin (Comment 15) : @robdylan (Comment 16) :

    Okay, I’ll concede. Blame the small picture and my contact lenses.

    @Baylion (Comment 17) :

    That statement by Andre Watson is true 80% of the time.

    I just wish they’d make the referee evaluations public. It will be great to know what the referee saw (or think he saw) and what his peers think of it.

  • Comment 18, posted at 09.09.14 01:28:38 by fyndraai Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 13) : So does this mean the Butch won’t be recruiting anymore, or will he be responsible for the seniors only (not that I’ve seen him recruit anybody).

  • Comment 19, posted at 09.09.14 06:16:59 by FireTheLooser Reply

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  • I see rugby365 has Roberts in their team of the week. Where Thomas was devastating and legal.

  • Comment 20, posted at 09.09.14 08:07:33 by KingRiaan Reply

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  • @KingRiaan (Comment 20) : Rugby365 are idiots. Once you accept that, it makes everything else they do seem completely logical.

  • Comment 21, posted at 09.09.14 09:14:07 by robdylan Reply
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  • @fyndraai (Comment 18) : a picture never conveys enough context, but I’m too lazy to upload video (plus I would technically be breaking the law)

  • Comment 22, posted at 09.09.14 09:14:51 by robdylan Reply
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  • The scrums are not reffed very well and they are more concerned with a fair contest than rewarding a dominant team at scrum time. Our Sharks props are also not blameless as we often bind short on the arm as opposed to a long bind on the jersey so we ask for trouble when the scrum goes down. Having said that the scrum and lineout would be far down the list of issues at the moment. Biggest issue is our rucking or complete lack thereof and our handling or again the complete lack thereof.

  • Comment 23, posted at 09.09.14 09:18:46 by SheldonK Reply

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  • @robdylan (Comment 21) : Haha I have never doubted that, it just still astounds me how people with such amount of rugby knowledge can pass themselves off as professional rugby journalists.

  • Comment 24, posted at 09.09.14 09:18:56 by KingRiaan Reply

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  • @SheldonK (Comment 23) : True, we had so many tries go begging, because of either forcing the pass, or not being able to catch the damn ball.

  • Comment 25, posted at 09.09.14 09:20:29 by KingRiaan Reply

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  • @robdylan (Comment 21) : I do pity them though for having to watch so much rugby. I tend to lean towards the optimistic side but I watched a whole Saturday of CC and Bok rugby two weeks ago and was feeling rather sorry for myself by the end of it. In between games I watched some ITM Cup highlights which only added salt to the wound. Perhaps the rugby365 crowd don’t watch all the games which also explains a lot. :grin:

  • Comment 26, posted at 09.09.14 09:34:55 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @vanmartin (Comment 26) : They once had Redelinghuys in their team of the week….he was injured and never even played. :lol:

    They certainly do not watch all the games. ;-)

  • Comment 27, posted at 09.09.14 09:48:13 by FireTheLooser Reply

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  • @Baylion (Comment 17) : ja the 20% was when he penalised the Sharks!!!!!!!!

  • Comment 28, posted at 09.09.14 17:44:57 by JD Reply
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  • @SheldonK (Comment 23) : Would like to add to that the lack of support running, or the support runner overrunning the pass

  • Comment 29, posted at 09.09.14 18:11:59 by Bokhoring Reply
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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 29) : or just not catching the ball!!!

  • Comment 30, posted at 09.09.14 23:56:52 by JD Reply
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