Scrums in the spotlight

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Bulls, Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 25 Feb 2015 at 12:55
Tagged with : , , ,

Irony. It’s a misunderstood term. Many would consider it ironic that the Sharks managed to build their victory over the Lions last weekend on a platform of scrum dominance, given just how badly they’d been written off in this very aspect of the encounter in the lead up to the game.

That the Sharks managed to destroy the Lions’ scrum was perhaps more surprising than it was ironic. What would truly justify the tag, though, would be for the newly-vaunted Sharks scrum, which now in turn is widely tipped to prevail against the written-off Bulls pack, to come adrift at Loftus. And that is the real danger I see in getting too pumped up, too far ahead of ourselves, when it comes to just how good we are at scrummaging.

The Sharks have, within the space of just 80 minutes, gone from abject zeroes to all-conquering heroes in the scrum race, a mantle which our packs of years gone by used to wear rather comfortably, but which has not really been particularly applicable in the recent past. The problem with being the best – or perceived as the best – is that it puts a great big target on your back and galvanises opposition in their attempts to beat you at your own game.

One unanticipated and rather unwelcome side effect of the Lions win, I’m sure, is that it will have forced the Bulls to spend more time on their scrummaging during this week’s practice sessions than on perhaps any other aspect. They’re not as dumb as we like to think and they know what’s coming. Expecting them to roll over at set piece time would be foolish indeed and the Sharks need to have some other options in the back pocket just in case “Route 1” turns out to be a rockier road than expected.


  • That is why I’m nervous about this game. Way too much hype around the Lions win.

  • Comment 1, posted at 25.02.15 12:58:33 by Pokkel Reply
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  • I don’t think we should read too much into our scrum dominance against the Lions. I said it after the game. The wet field probably evened out the playing field a bit in terms of the scrums.

  • Comment 2, posted at 25.02.15 13:02:22 by Ben Reply
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  • @Ben (Comment 2) : the other thing to bear in mind is that most of the scrums ended in penalties. Those can always go either way, depending on the ref’s experience and interpretations.

    There were a few very good shoves, though, so I don’t want to detract entirely from what the guys did. The scrum to set up Cobus’s try was a superb effort in a perfect field position, while there was also a brilliant tighthead.

  • Comment 3, posted at 25.02.15 13:09:11 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 3) : Yeah, I’m not trying to take anything away from our boys. We really did scrum well on occasions.

  • Comment 4, posted at 25.02.15 13:11:28 by Ben Reply
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  • These days there are 3 things that relate to scrum dominance. 1. How well a prop binds. 2. the quality of the locks. 3. The refs interpretations. With it being very wet on Sat the ref wanted to scrum set higher which didnt suit the shorter Lions props. The Sharks had picked to strong scrumming locks. And when the scrum went down the ref interpreted as it being the lions losing their bind. Im sure we can all appreciate how things could be very different on another day. The fact that we have Jannie, Stevens and Chadwick who all dont particularly make use of a long bind make us susceptible to a refs interpretations

  • Comment 5, posted at 25.02.15 13:44:43 by SheldonK Reply

  • Just keep Giant there if you want your scrum to work.

  • Comment 6, posted at 25.02.15 14:20:24 by GreatSharksays Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 5) : Also perhaps Ackerman made a mistake starting with his second tier front row. By the time his first choice props arrived, the Sharks had the momentum in the scrums (and possibly in the ref’s mind too).

  • Comment 7, posted at 25.02.15 14:37:26 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 7) : I dont think he had much of a choice as his first choice guys werent match fit after injuries etc. The Lions will still trouble many sides in the scrums trust me. The Sharks did well on Sat, other teams wont find it as easy against the Lions

  • Comment 8, posted at 25.02.15 14:54:58 by SheldonK Reply

  • Yeah the Bulls gonna work twice as hard on their scrumming this week – we must be prepared.

    A bit off topic, but what happened to that no.3 prop from the Crusaders, who blatantly and purposefully hit the Highlanders player with his forearm very early in 1st half? Was he even cited? That should have been a straight red imo. If that was an SA player he would have gotten a red and 4 week ban. The ref was poor in that game imo – probably a closet Saders fan :mrgreen:

  • Comment 9, posted at 25.02.15 14:57:43 by RedSharkUtd82 Reply

  • @RedSharkUtd82 (Comment 9) : Owen Franks got a 2 week ban.

  • Comment 10, posted at 25.02.15 15:05:13 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • @Pokkel (Comment 10) : Thx Pokkel. Wow that’s nice and lenient lol.

  • Comment 11, posted at 25.02.15 15:08:09 by RedSharkUtd82 Reply

  • @RedSharkUtd82 (Comment 11) : Well he is a all black with a “clean” record

  • Comment 12, posted at 25.02.15 16:53:30 by Dunx Reply

  • @Bokhoring (Comment 7) : This. I watched the game again last night and they were lucky to be on the right side of a scrum collapse penalty late in the game. Looked to me as though the Sharks were responsible for that collapse. So yeah, agree with the article. It’s early days, let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet. A very green Cheetahs pack schooled us not too long ago lest we forget.

  • Comment 13, posted at 25.02.15 17:49:20 by vanmartin Reply
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  • Comment 14, posted at 25.02.15 22:28:02 by [email protected] Reply

  • @Ben (Comment 2) : @robdylan (Comment 3) : I have to say that I was one of the guys who was really nervous about our scrum leading up to Lions game. It is true that a wet field evens things up a bit. But there were VERY clearly many scrums in which we were strong, even dominant…and such displays are not the result of a wet field. So credit to the boys for Saturday. But that means nothing for Saturday…the difference between the previous two games proves that. So time to knuckle down, concentrate and repeat this performance! I do take out of the previous game that we can do it…

  • Comment 15, posted at 25.02.15 23:17:26 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @SheldonK (Comment 5) : Fair points…I do think, though, that a strong scrumming lock did strengthen our scrums…well done Giant.

  • Comment 16, posted at 25.02.15 23:19:43 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @[email protected] (Comment 14) : I just want to add “at any point in time”

  • Comment 17, posted at 26.02.15 17:45:13 by benji Reply
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