Scrum woes cost Sharks in Joburg

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 17 Feb 2018 at 19:36

The Lions have handed the Sharks a 26-19 Super Rugby defeat at Emirates Airline Park this afternoon, building on the foundation of a dominant scrum to ensure victory over their coastal rivals.

It was the visitors who started more brightly, with Robert du Preez pinning the home side back with his long boot and also scoring the opening try just nine minutes into the contest. With the Sharks’ new signing at 10 in imperious form and the scoreline 7-0 in their favour, things were looking up for the men in black.

That elation lasted as long as the first scrum, however, with Jacqques van Rooyan absolutely hammering Thomas du Toit as part of a meaty eight-man effort in the 16th minute that set the tone for the set piece contest. While Ruan Botha’s imperious lineout presence caused issues for Malcom Marx all day, the Sharks simply had no answer to the Lions’ power at scrum time and spent the remainder of the half on the back foot, conceding tries to first rookie winger Aphiwe Dyanti and then veteran centre Lionel Mapoe. With Elton Jantjies on target, the Lions led 14-7 going into the break, notwithstanding a late Sharks flourish that saw du Preez again come close.

The Sharks brought on their reserve props at half time and the introduction of Beast Mtawarira and Johnny Meyer paid immediate dividends. Sbu Nkosi scored a belter down the right hand side just two minutes into the half, with du Preez missing the conversion to leave his side trailing by two. He missed a penalty some minutes later – an important moment given that the Sharks once again had momentum.

An awful defensive mix-up saw the Lions score again with half an hour to play, with Mapoe again the man in possession. New signing Makezole Mapimpi was caught out badly on defence in the build up, but made amends not long after in scoring a try of his own. This one came off a strong Sharks scrum in the Lions 22, with Cameron Wright feeding the winger with a lovely looping pass out to the left.

This Lions team wasn’t going to lie down, though and struck back in the 59th minute through Kwagga Smith. Jantjies missed the conversion – as well as two later penalty attempts that could have made the game safe for his team. Curwin Bosch sparked the late counter that gave the Sharks a sniff in the final ten minutes, but despite at least three opportunities to score through lineout drives in the closing minutes, the Sharks were unable to get over the line for that vital fourth try.

Lions (26): Tries Dyantyi, Mapoe (2), K Smith. Conversions Jantjies (3).
Sharks (19); Tries R du Preez, Nkosi, Mapimpi. Conversions R du Preez (2).


  • Congratulations Lions

  • Comment 1, posted at 17.02.18 19:38:39 by KILLER SHARK Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter
  • Congratulations lions, wake the f up sharks, you’re better than what you showed tonight

  • Comment 2, posted at 17.02.18 19:42:35 by jdolivier Reply

  • We could not effectively maul over the tryline on several occasions and to me that is the most concerning.

  • Comment 3, posted at 17.02.18 19:44:06 by KILLER SHARK Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter
  • Was a good game.

    Better team won. Not many go to Ellis Park and win these days. Super Rugby that is.

  • Comment 4, posted at 17.02.18 19:45:45 by McLovin Reply

  • 4 months guys. and we still cannot sort out the scrums… come on guys. thomas can be the top loosehead prop in sa rugby but we are playing him out of position…

  • Comment 5, posted at 17.02.18 19:49:48 by Darius de Lange Reply

  • And still no fetcher.

    First and only turnover for the Sharks came in the 80th minute by Tyler Paul. The last time the Sharks team looked any good was when Bismarck still played for us and we actually turned over opposition ball. Without a fetcher the Sharks make tackle after tackle and are unable to turn over possession until the opposition finally make a mistake or decide to kick.

    Please let Thomas stay a loosehead, this experiment is clearly doomed to fail.

  • Comment 6, posted at 17.02.18 19:57:31 by jonnow Reply

  • In my view the scrumming problems were more about the technical side of scrumming than about power, we do not scrum as a unit, we did not always have support when a player got caught etc. Mapimpi missed 6 tackles and as good as he is he is a liability till he can tackle, We had the same problem with Curwin and April last year and they were also good on attack, simply means he has to be taught how to tackle as i cannot even remember seeing him complete a tackle.

    Another problem in the scrumming the new rules has kicked in and it did not seem as though Marais had trained for it, because every time it was our ball we got creamed and when it was there we still got creamed 😯 😆

  • Comment 7, posted at 17.02.18 20:12:55 by sharks_lover Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @sharks_lover (Comment 7) : makes you realise just how vital the hooker is to the scrumming effort. Also, in particular, how damn good Marx is as a scrummager. Then again, how good Franco is too, since we held fine on their ball and got p&&sed on our own.

    Just me or did the pink oke go past Thomas and bore in on him just about every scrum?

  • Comment 8, posted at 17.02.18 20:28:06 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 8) : Rob, the scrum was interesting, the skew lineout and neck rolls in the breakdown was also abysmal, but you play what you’re allowed. Ref didn’t cost us the game, lack of determination did

  • Comment 9, posted at 17.02.18 20:32:34 by jdolivier Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 8) : Yes he did rob, I was like WTF!!! is the linesman blind?? 😆 fact though boet we need another TH, experienced tight heads are going to beat Thomas every time, not Thomas’s fault, As for Akker he scrummed better but his throwing into the lines nowhere near Franco’s.

    I also think we got bullied of the ball a bit and I do not mean with dirty play, we need a top forwards coach too, it shows we are behind the 8 ball.

    I thought the backline was very good for the most well besides Mapimpi missing tackles, specially Am, Esterhuizen very solid, I would start with Van Wyk and Nkosi as wings,

    BTW Rob i thought Wright was very good besides a few bad input’s into the scrum due to pressure coming, I also felt the ref allowed the lions to push before the ball came in and thus they always had the hit. you could see the inexperience in Thomas thus he looked shell shocked. Also Keegan was missed as he has speed to the ball.

  • Comment 10, posted at 17.02.18 20:47:09 by sharks_lover Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • Thanks Sharks for a humdinger of a game. While the Tank took some lessons at scrum time Ruan Botha read the Lions’ lineouts like a book.

    Having watched the two games today I think it will be up to the Lions and the sharks to protect SA’s honour this this year but I’m glad that, for once, a hyped youngster came good the way Damian Willemse did for the Stormers

  • Comment 11, posted at 17.02.18 20:49:34 by Baylion Reply

  • @sharks_lover (Comment 10) : Switching from lh to h seem to take 2 to 3 years. And it depends on the experience of your opposition too.

    I thought Dreyer did very well against Schoeman (inexperienced) but as soon as Beast came on it was a different story

  • Comment 12, posted at 17.02.18 20:51:15 by Baylion Reply

  • Your tighthead is your cornerstone to your team, we all know this. Thomas is a loosehead prop and that is that. Meyer will need to buck up and shore up Number 3. A big worry is our scrum. We need first phase ball to function. Signs of spark, sign of potential and promise, but signs of rust and poor scrums killing us. Beast made a difference. Hope our injuries are not serious, Wright is snappy and really looking good. If we want to be serious title contenders we need to get way better than this. First game down and we must move on. Sorry boys.

  • Comment 13, posted at 17.02.18 21:01:12 by Richard Reply

  • @Baylion (Comment 12) : For sure Bay and Congrats mate, your team were the hungrier and it showed.

  • Comment 14, posted at 17.02.18 21:08:31 by sharks_lover Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @Richard (Comment 13) : Exactly Tich, I also thought Rob jr played well, very solid bar I think 1 mistake.

  • Comment 15, posted at 17.02.18 21:10:20 by sharks_lover Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @Baylion (Comment 11) : congrats on your teams victory. Well deserved!
    As for flying the SA flag yes I think it will be up to Lions and Sharks that is if the Sharks can cut down on their silly errors and the less said about the Sharks scrum in the first half the better!!!!

  • Comment 16, posted at 17.02.18 21:18:07 by JD Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator
  • @sharks_lover (Comment 15) : Richard.

  • Comment 17, posted at 17.02.18 21:30:25 by sharks_lover Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @sharks_lover (Comment 17) : haha! Yeah, our backline is possibly one of the best. Rob looked great and we have some serious firepower out wide, but yeah we need to get settled up front. Beast and Meyer need to start and will have to be our front starting props with Thomas on the bench as a loosehead. A bit worried about injuries now too. Hope they are not serious. We can click, no doubt, we came close and desperately needed this win.

  • Comment 18, posted at 17.02.18 22:13:26 by Richard Reply

  • @Richard (Comment 18) : Fully agree, I have said for a long time now our major problem will be at 3, well since last year when we saw Coenie was going to be out for most of SR and then they confirmed all year. Mapimpi seriously needs to be shown how to tackle, his technique is bad bad. I would start Nkosi and Van wyk on the wings with Mapimpi on the bench or maybe drop him for a week or 2 and get coached how to have the right attitude to tackle, bring Marius Louw onto the bench.

  • Comment 19, posted at 17.02.18 22:43:43 by sharks_lover Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • The Tank will need some time to learn the #3 position. Took Coenie 3 years.

  • Comment 20, posted at 17.02.18 23:32:00 by Baylion Reply

  • Well, that is done and dusted an we don’t have to worry about the Sharks for a while 😀

    All the best with the rest of your season Sharkies!

  • Comment 21, posted at 18.02.18 00:43:44 by Baylion Reply

  • During the replay of Mpimpi’s try, the commentator can be heard saying how Robert th Preez stood only 3m behind the scrum.
    Is this not off-sides anymore?

  • Comment 22, posted at 18.02.18 04:28:02 by fyndraai Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • Hi guys, first time on the site but as a massive Sharks fan glad I found it.

    My thoughts on the game:
    1. Lack of a fetcher is very worrying. Making tackle after tackle without many challenges to win the ball off the ground.
    2. Scrum is still a major issue and we are never going to go far until we improve in that regard.
    3. Lack of ideas yet again when we are close to the line. The three lineouts we had on the Lions 5m at the end of the game were infuriating. No momentum from the lineout drive and no inventiveness. That game was there to grab a draw at the end and to see three attacking lineouts on the opposition try line go to waste is very frustrating.
    4. Du Preez as our new 10 was outstanding. Bosch should be starting at 15 instead of Mvovo.
    5. Injuries strike yet again. Let’s hope they arnt out too long.
    6. Final point, we have the Waratahs and the Sunwolves week 3 and 4. Must win games before the tour.

  • Comment 23, posted at 18.02.18 04:45:52 by Dustin Emslie Reply

  • as i said last year. we need a real fetcher, a tigthead and a solid fullback

  • Comment 24, posted at 18.02.18 08:40:49 by Darius de Lange Reply

  • Can we rather have the tight 5 that played CC last year. Please. Thomas back to 1. Geldenhuis at 3. Tyler Paul back to 4 with Ruan Botha at 5. At least that right 5 carried us through bar the CC final.

  • Comment 25, posted at 18.02.18 16:38:32 by GreatSharksays Reply

  • So many sporting people on this page, congratulating the lions. This 17 game winning streak over Saffa oppo seems suspiciously counter intuitive. They’re not the all blacks, not everyone can be so far off the pace for 17 matches. I just don’t buy it. It’s a narrative which has at it’s heart a statistical anomaly. I visit lots of sites outside of Sharksworld, and most lions commentators on other pages are deeply arrogant and would more likely blame a ref for a loss than congratulate the oppo. Merely an anecdotal observation. Therefore, I find it difficult to give congratulations, because it feels as though its received in a very haughty spirit. Thats not to say the Sharks were robbed on Saturday, being the architects of their own demise.

  • Comment 26, posted at 18.02.18 16:40:48 by SeanJeff Reply
  • Physical dominance. Let’s not forget our core strengths. We now have the backline to better make use of the ball we get. Thomas must go back to loosehead.Tyler Paul and Ruan have to be our locks.

  • Comment 27, posted at 18.02.18 18:16:23 by GreatSharksays Reply

  • Aside from the scrum woes in the first half our team played very well. Lewies and Ruan were dominant but the early sub didn’t work. Andrews didn’t have an impact. Same with Kobus van Wyk. We lost some momentum when AE and Lewies went off. I understand the coaches thinking in giving every one enough game time but we should have waited a bit longer before making those subs. But then again if it worked it would have been great team management. Well played by both teams. We really need a good TH ASAP. Looking forward to the rest of the season. PS. Louw needs to be on the bench at least.

  • Comment 28, posted at 18.02.18 18:44:04 by sudhir Reply

  • @fyndraai (Comment 22) : yes it is but seems as if the refs is leaving the side with the ball to creep up inside the 5m without penalising them.

  • Comment 29, posted at 18.02.18 19:15:09 by JD Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator
  • @Baylion (Comment 20) : yes it takes time but don’t think playing at Super rugby level is the place to “learn” your skills.

  • Comment 30, posted at 18.02.18 19:19:58 by JD Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator
  • TH is not some arcane artform. Thomas can and will learn. In the meantime sharks should have gone shopping as soon as last year for an experienced man to assist until then. Bad planning and it was a glaring deficiency so no excuse.

  • Comment 31, posted at 18.02.18 19:51:51 by coolfusion Reply

  • @coolfusion (Comment 31) : Not to say I don’t like Ross either. But we needed a Coenie to be there while one of them gets to required form. If it’s already biting us in the first game I can see it haunting us the whole season.

  • Comment 32, posted at 19.02.18 06:51:27 by coolfusion Reply

  • @coolfusion (Comment 32) : it’s going to haunt us the entire season. Guy just can’t cope at tighthead, especially on our ball as the hooker has to hook the ball. Stop ruining the guy’s career. This guy can be the best loosehead in the world.

  • Comment 33, posted at 19.02.18 07:02:46 by GreatSharksays Reply

  • I’d love to run around saying that the Sharks should have won etc etc, but if you can’t scrummage you can’t play. It’s as simple as that. I hope that the coaches look at that 1st half showing and make some plans immediately. I think the Lions won that game by simply being the better team.

    On another note how in love with the Lions are the commentators. I heard so much praise every time they did anything short of fall over their own feet ❓

  • Comment 34, posted at 19.02.18 07:09:29 by Hulk Reply

  • On another forum I asked why is seems so difficult for LH props to switch to TH and got some interesting responses including this link to an article by former Ireland and Leinster tighthead prop Emmett Byrne on the dark arts.

    Interesting read for us non-props

  • Comment 35, posted at 19.02.18 07:22:33 by Baylion Reply

  • You can blame the props all you like but when you are going back as fast as the sharks were there are a lot more technical challenges. Weve gone back to the scrum rules of the 1980s. Our locks are too low on the engage and the binding is too loose.
    The hooker does not know how to hook! If he did we would have had channel 1,2 and 3 balls. Every ball went to the 8th mans feet instead of to a flank where it could be released quickly. The scrumhalf puts the ball in the same every ball. Just watch a team like japan- do they ever lose a tighthead? We need Balie Swart back and quick

  • Comment 36, posted at 19.02.18 07:29:44 by byron Reply

  • @Baylion (Comment 35) : Thanks, really an interesting article. Hope our guys get someone in to help Thomas, you guys gave our scrum a big wake-up call!

  • Comment 37, posted at 19.02.18 07:40:28 by HeinF Reply

  • @byron (Comment 36) : I also think there is something wrong with the scrumming overall. When you are pushed back like that, it is more than just the front rows’ fault.

    Also if your scrum is under pressure, you want it out as fast as possible. Makes no sense letting the ball linger in front of your eight.

  • Comment 38, posted at 19.02.18 08:07:43 by Bokhoring Reply
  • Is there any injury updates as yet? Really hope we don’t lose Daniel du Preez for an extended period. We also need Wright to play for the biggest part of the season.

  • Comment 39, posted at 19.02.18 08:21:26 by boertjie101 Reply

  • As was mentioned well before kickoff our scrum is a big issue, if we cant sort that out it doesnt matter who we deploy in our backline they will always be on the backfoot and chasing the game due to penalties etc.
    I felt our biggest problem though was our continuity…guys didnt know when to offload, when to go to ground, the enxt guy in wasnt sure if he was to clean the ruck or was going to get a wild offload flung at him. The Lions were much more precise in that area of the game and i felt that was the Sharks major let down. Hopefully we can get some injuries healed in this bye week.

  • Comment 40, posted at 19.02.18 08:25:31 by SheldonK Reply

  • We might as well get used to the idea of Thomas playing tight-head. SA rugby requested the Sharks to play him there which would probably mean that Rassie wants to pick him in that position for the Boks one day. Best we can do is hope that Thomas is a fast learner.

    Regarding the call for a fetcher, this is an interesting viewpoint from Oom Rugby on the law changes and whether this may ultimately negate the need for an out and out fetcher @ 6 in a team:

    Lastly, congrats to the Lions on their win!

  • Comment 41, posted at 19.02.18 08:41:57 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • Vermeulen’s handling skills must be congratulated. Not as much hype about him as the twins, but he is turning out to be a real valuable player in the squad. I was a bit disappointed in the Ginger Ninja – lost the ball a few times too many in contact.

  • Comment 42, posted at 19.02.18 09:06:30 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @Baylion (Comment 35) : Thanks for posting, great article and congrats on the win,

  • Comment 43, posted at 19.02.18 09:12:48 by Bump Reply

  • The Lions used every trick in the book come scrum time to put pressure on Thomas. That said, the hooker, lock, flank and 8thman should have been channeling their power more towards Tom’s side, as this would have negated the fact that the Lions were channeling their power onto Tom. And I was a loosehead that my coaches tried to turn into a tighthead, not easy at all so I do feel for Tom.

  • Comment 44, posted at 19.02.18 09:14:22 by KingRiaan Reply

  • Eddie Jones introduced the quick scrum ball when Japan beat us at the RWC. Why then are our coaches not implementing the same tactic if they want Thomas to play there????? Our coaches in SA need to really wake up.

  • Comment 45, posted at 19.02.18 09:15:41 by GreatSharksays Reply

  • @Bokhoring (Comment 42) : Yeah, don’t know what was up with Phillip. Also hoping the Dan’s injury isn’t too bad. But for the next game Terra should play at 8 if neither Keegan or Dan can play, we were missing a link man.

  • Comment 46, posted at 19.02.18 09:17:09 by KingRiaan Reply

  • @byron (Comment 36) : I am with you on that, I mentioned a few times in the preseason that our scrum is going to be a problem, and that we need a highly rated scrum specialist – and Balie Swart is that man!

    I am worried about our scrum, we have been showed up here big time.
    I agree that at this level you can’t learn how to be a tighthead, but yes, its an 8 man technicality and our scrum needs a lot of attention.

    I agree on the approach to our scrums, with the channel 1, 2, 3 balls – we just don’t look as street smart as the Lions – if we want to win trophies we have to dominate every facet of the game. losing six scrums on your own feed just takes away all pressure and momentum you have built.

    A decision needs to be made to have Thomas moved back to loosehead and we need to back Meyer and the other specialist tightheads in the squad – losing Coenie was huge, but not having quality back-up is a big problem too. Geldenhuys got shown up and he no doubt has fallen out of favour.

    We don’t look like a team that is scrum hungry, and that lack of confidence affects the entire team.

  • Comment 47, posted at 19.02.18 09:17:23 by Richard Reply

  • This bye in week 2 is actually a blessing, it gives us that extra time to get healed up on the injuries, sure, but more importantly, it gives the coaches a clear plan to work with to address the areas in our game that cost us against the Lions.

    Communication and handling in the tight exchanges was definitely rusty, and those infuriating handling errors cost us a lot in terms of momentum and go-forward.

    Our scrum will need a lot of work, not just the stability of it, but actual scrum strategy – our work on opposition feed and our work on our own feed and what options to take – we will definitely need to have a quick ball option sorted very quickly.

    I am also dreading the injury update to come, home Dan and Cam aren’t badly injured – I think Cam will be okay, but worried for Dan – we have great depth, but not nice seeing injuries. We missed Michael Claasens calm head in the closing stanza, having our 4th choice scrummie on debut in a pressure cooker is far from ideal.

  • Comment 48, posted at 19.02.18 09:24:51 by Richard Reply

  • Another area to address will be defence, we showed intent within structured defence, but in broken play, we looked vulnerable with the opposition eating up valuable meters too easily. Stats show that we missed a tally of 29 tackles. That simply is not good enough. But the first match is down, that bonus point could prove crucial and I hope we have some fire in our bellies going forward and build from here. There will always be much work to do early in the season, there are some good signs there too, and we look like a time that could be very, very dangerous.

  • Comment 49, posted at 19.02.18 09:41:24 by Richard Reply

  • @Bokhoring (Comment 42) : Vermeulen is a solid player, he is damn good. Great to have him in the squad. Aggressive, he is there at the breakdown, solid on defence, great hands – he is looking good. Van Der Walt had some great moments, but yep, did lose the ball too often.

  • Comment 50, posted at 19.02.18 09:44:16 by Richard Reply

  • Guys, how awesome was Cam on saterday? I think the last time I saw a scrumhalf with that vision was Fourie Du Preez. Two of our tries were directly because of his vision and crisp pass. What I liked was that you could see him scanning the field for options before arriving at the ruck, not like most scrummies who get to the ruck then take a couple of seconds to scan the field before passing.

  • Comment 51, posted at 19.02.18 09:47:52 by KingRiaan Reply

  • @Hulk (Comment 34) : Agree on the commentators. Stransky’s verbal fellatio job on the entire Lions team must leave him feeling just a little used and sordid this morning,

  • Comment 52, posted at 19.02.18 10:03:42 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • I think we need to focus on what actually did go well on Saturday as well. I thought Botha and Vermuelen were good in the pack, as was Akker when he came on. I thought Cam Wright did very well and his combo with RDP puts opposition backlines under pressure as they like to play hard and flat. And then i liked when Bosch came on at 15- still reckon thats his best position and where he can cause the most damage. Our centres went ok but still think they can mix up their running lines more.

  • Comment 53, posted at 19.02.18 10:06:24 by SheldonK Reply

  • @KingRiaan (Comment 51) : I have always rated Cam very highly, and he is looking in great form, he is definitely going to challenge for top spot when the entire scrumhalf legion is fit. Williams had a pressure cooker debut and we desperately need our seasoned back-up available pronto.

    Glad we could at least take a point out of the game.

  • Comment 54, posted at 19.02.18 10:07:52 by Richard Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 53) : Our centre combo is devastating, but we will need better front foot ball going forward, not enough good opportunities for the backline to really assert themselves.

    But yeah, there are enough positives to take out this game to give us hope.

  • Comment 55, posted at 19.02.18 10:10:54 by Richard Reply

  • @Richard (Comment 55) : Yeh as i said in a previous comment, if our scrum is a problem it wont matter who is in our backline as they will always be treating and trying to force the issue to catch up penalties etc conceded. Im just hoping this year isnt an injury cursed year…

  • Comment 56, posted at 19.02.18 10:26:09 by SheldonK Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 56) : Yeah, I too am worried about the injury bogey, but so few teams have a clean bill of health, and squads are so important. Hope Dan is okay and hope Cam is fine. Not great calling a 4th choice scrunmie on for debut in a pressure game. Dreading the injury update.

  • Comment 57, posted at 19.02.18 11:28:40 by Richard Reply

  • @Richard (Comment 57) : Just off the top of my head our current injury list:
    Coenie Oosthuizen, Keegan Daniel, JL DuPreez, Dan DuPreez, Louis Schreuder, Michael Claasens,Cameron Wright, Jeremy Ward, Leolin Zas

  • Comment 58, posted at 19.02.18 12:39:09 by SheldonK Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 58) : That is sizeable, and worrying, thankfully Keegan is just sick, and not injured – but that is a chunk of change right there, considering the quality of those players. Holding thumbs, and fingers crossed that Dan and Cam are not serious injuries.

  • Comment 59, posted at 19.02.18 12:48:27 by Richard Reply

  • Also on a separate note, Lambie made a successful return from injury for Racing. So chuffed to see he is back after we were all worried about another head knock.

  • Comment 60, posted at 19.02.18 12:50:58 by Richard Reply

  • I thought I’d share this comment from another forum, which is getting quite a bit of agreement from ex-props on the forum

    “I played both sides up until senior grades when I specialised at Tighthead. There are a few differences the main things I would point to are the balance points, the pressure points and the angles you use in engagement then also in scrummaging itself. I think of the two I preferred Tighthead as the contest is more technically nuanced in your favour by the fact that you have two strong contact points to regain your balance and regain the upper hand in the scrummaging contest. The other thing also being that you have more ways to niggle your opponent as a tight head I felt (not that I ever indulged in that sort of thing) much more in control of the situation on that side of the scrum.
    A lot of what you do in each contest is muscle memory, in as much as you have a point at which you ‘feel your strength’ this is the place you return to to regain the upper hand in a contest and it is quite different for the two sides. So I guess the difficulty stems from the ability to transition between the two when your body will default to what it knows from prior experience rather than what it is ‘told’ mentally. What will win you the contest on the tighthead side won’t on the loosehead side and vice versa. It’s not really something that is relatable verbally without the physical sensations to pair with what is said.
    In a nutshell though,

    Loosehead is trying to lift the tighthead in order to be able to wheel the scrum and gain a better angle for their hooker to strike at the ball, they will attempt to drive the back of their skull, the kind of sharpish point on the back, they want to get that as close as possble to the little hollow in your chest where the sternum is. They then basically try to put as much force as possible through your sternum to drive you up and your side of the scrum back.
    The tighthead on the other hand wants to orchestrate a controlled semicollapse whereby they have the looseheads neck and outside shoulder under the point orf their right shoulder. There’s a pressure point at the base of the neck that will allow you to turn the oppos legs to jelly if you hit it right, more commonly though what you are looking to achieve is to twist the spine of the loosehead in order to defeat their ability to drive straight. It is easier as a tighthead to manufacture a collapse often at the penalty expense of the oppo loosehead just by the dynamics of your positioning.

    I’ve already said too much…”

    Another point that came through was that it serves little purpose for an Elite level loosehead prop to drop down to club level to learn to play tighthead as his strength will allow him to dominate most club level looseheads without learning much about the finer techniques.

  • Comment 61, posted at 19.02.18 12:52:37 by Baylion Reply

  • @Baylion (Comment 61) : They all talk about the dark arts, and here is some revealing of this, it makes sense, I worry that he is also not going to learn by being pumped in a Super Rugby match situation, much like Coenie took a few seasons to adjust, we can’t afford to lose first phase ball for the sake of one man’s learnings. Thomas is in a tough place, and his fellow forwards will literally need to rally behind him in the scrum, it remains an 8 man effort, and having Beast stabilizing number 1 could go a long way. Hindsight Beast should’ve started this match, as he played through an entire half, and the first scrum is more important than the 17th in terms of psychological boosts etc.

  • Comment 62, posted at 19.02.18 12:58:22 by Richard Reply

  • @Baylion (Comment 61) : I have seen a lot of props wearing chest guards to prevent the loosehead from putting pressure on their sternum. Used to irritate the daylights out of me when I played loosehead. Resorted to bind on their pants and then give them the wedgie of their lives. No prop can scrum when his pants is being pulled towards his ears. But I think the new binding rules prevents that kind of tricks.

  • Comment 63, posted at 19.02.18 13:08:25 by KingRiaan Reply


    Another article talking of Scrums, by the far more levelheaded Craig Lewis.

    Also mentions that Scrum guru Pieter De Villiers needs to work closely with Thomas, as it is a move that is not going to change, he is going to be turned into a full-time number 3.

  • Comment 64, posted at 19.02.18 13:09:36 by Richard Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 58) : 3 scrummies down…anyone know what the story with Claassens is?

  • Comment 65, posted at 19.02.18 13:17:12 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @Baylion (Comment 61) : well done for the weekend’s result…you guys deserved it…

  • Comment 66, posted at 19.02.18 13:18:09 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @pastorshark (Comment 66) : Thanks

  • Comment 67, posted at 19.02.18 13:20:43 by Baylion Reply

  • @Hulk (Comment 34) : yes…and yes…

  • Comment 68, posted at 19.02.18 13:23:46 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @Baylion (Comment 67) : I’m actually happy with how much the Sharks created in a game in which our scrums were so dominated. Obviously we need to sort out our scrum…but just a bit if extra sharpness in handling and defence and we will be up there…

  • Comment 69, posted at 19.02.18 13:26:38 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @Dustin Emslie (Comment 23) : But we turned over a LOT of Lions ball?

  • Comment 70, posted at 19.02.18 13:28:30 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @pastorshark (Comment 69) : Agreed, chuffed for the bigger picture, and that Bonus Point will help somewhere down the line. If we can only take the rematch down the line, as their winning streak against us in SR is getting ridiculous.

  • Comment 71, posted at 19.02.18 13:28:33 by Richard Reply

  • @Richard (Comment 71) : yes please…

  • Comment 72, posted at 19.02.18 13:29:30 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @pastorshark (Comment 70) : Agreed on that, I think our loose trio is pretty balanced, and we did manage some very effective turnovers. I was amazed at the intensity of the game, it was a real aggro, fast game, and our skills for a first match wasn’t that bad – not too much rust, but small moments cost us big time in an elite level game.

  • Comment 73, posted at 19.02.18 13:30:10 by Richard Reply

  • Did anyone else hear/see Jean DeVilliers blooper before the Stormers/Jaguares game when he asked Mario Ledesma how he felt being back coaching in the southern hemisphere after his coaching stint with Australia :mrgreen:

  • Comment 74, posted at 19.02.18 13:52:15 by SheldonK Reply

  • @Richard (Comment 73) : I was at the game sitting really close to the action. Man that game was aggressive. Hence we need a strong tight give to negate all this [email protected] Sharks should not be getting dominated at all.

  • Comment 75, posted at 19.02.18 14:02:56 by GreatSharksays Reply

  • Junior Bok training squad for first camp (February 20 to 23):

    Props: Cabous Eloff (Vodacom Blue Bulls), Keagan Glade (Xerox Golden Lions), Leon Lyons (DHL Western Province), Asenathi Ntlabakanye (Xerox Golden Lions), Sazi Sandi (DHL Western Province), Mornay Smith (Vodacom Blue Bulls), Alulutho Tshakweni (Eastern Province), Tiaan van der Merwe (Xerox Golden Lions).

    Hookers: PJ Botha (Xerox Golden Lions), Schalk Erasmus (DHL Western Province), Fezokuhle Mbatha (Cell C Sharks).

    Locks: Luyolo Dapula (Eastern Province), Ben-Jason Dixon (DHL Western Province), Salmaan Moerat (DHL Western Province), PJ Steenkamp (Xerox Golden Lions), JJ van der Mescht (Cell C Sharks), Ruan Vermaak (Xerox Golden Lions).

    Loose forwards: Phendulani Buthelezi (Cell C Sharks), Francke Horn (DHL Western Province), Shaine Orderson (DHL Western Province), Ryno Pieterse (Vodacom Blue Bulls), Erwart Potgieter (Vodacom Blue Bulls), JC Pretorius (Vodacom Blue Bulls), Muller Uys (DHL Western Province).

    Scrumhalves: Richman Gora (Vodacom Blue Bulls), Jack Hart (Xerox Golden Lions), Rewan Kruger (Toyota Free State).

    Flyhalves: David Coetzer (DHL Western Province), Lubabalo Dobela (Toyota Free State), Johannes Steenkamp (Leopards).

    Centres: Lyle Hendricks (DHL Western Province), Rikus Pretorius (DHL Western Province), Manuel Rass (Xerox Golden Lions), Wandisile Simelane (Xerox Golden Lions), Louritz van der Schyff (Xerox Golden Lions), Sango Xamlashe (Toyota Free State).

    Outside backs: Christian Ambadiang (DHL Western Province), Muller du Plessis (Cell C Sharks), Tyrone Green (Xerox Golden Lions), Gianni Lombard (Xerox Golden Lions), Sihle Njezula (DHL Western Province), Sakoyisa Makata (DHL Western Province), Christiaan Strydom (Blue Bulls).

    Junior Springbok training camp dates:

    Camp 1 – 20-23 February (Stellenbosch)

    Camp 2 – 6-9 March (Stellenbosch)

    Camp 3 – 27-30 March (Stellenbosch)

    Camp 4 – 10-25 April (Stellenbosch)

  • Comment 76, posted at 19.02.18 14:05:41 by Baylion Reply

  • @GreatSharksays (Comment 75) : @Richard (Comment 73) : Apart from the Lions lineouts and the Sharks scrums the match was surprisingly flowing for a first match of the season. I like the direction the Sharks are going with their game, they have too many good backs to waste them

  • Comment 77, posted at 19.02.18 14:08:48 by Baylion Reply

  • @GreatSharksays (Comment 75) : We are missing some big units in the tight 5 big time.
    Bresler and Ettiene would’ve been great to call off the bench – Our locks look like to Number 5’s. Ruing the fact that our tighthead prop options are so depleted at the moment. Geeze we have had some great props for so long, that is so surreal to see the scrum go backwards. We have to turn up against the Waratahs and make a statement. Marais is a very clinical Hooker, but sheesh we miss a blockbuster hooker – And I don’t think Akkers is an 80-minute hooker – he is the epitome of a super sub. But yeah that match was ferocious!

  • Comment 78, posted at 19.02.18 14:20:49 by Richard Reply

  • @Baylion (Comment 77) : Absolutely, the intensity of that game for match 1 was unreal, big hits and high-tempo – good omen for both teams. The tempo was noticeably higher than The Stormers game, but living in Cape Town, I can tell you – Saturday 15:00 kickoff was simply too hot for rugby. It was murderously hot here on Saturday.

  • Comment 79, posted at 19.02.18 14:22:24 by Richard Reply

  • @Baylion (Comment 77) : Yeah, if we can set-up the first phase ball and give the backs space to work, they could be deadly. Excited about the future!

  • Comment 80, posted at 19.02.18 14:23:20 by Richard Reply

  • That backline of ours is a beautiful polished ferarri on bricks. We need to get forwards sorted. Hopefully Keegan can get back in soon. Lewies and Botha at lock will work given time. Geldenhuis at tight head with due To it at loosehead. Even if SARU did ask otherwise we cannot do it at the expense of our game so that argument does not fly. And Akker needs to sort his technical skills out with line throws we need him to be able to start.

  • Comment 81, posted at 19.02.18 15:17:54 by coolfusion Reply

  • @coolfusion (Comment 81) : Yeah we have this bye, and it’ll give us a good while to work on our shortcomings. All things point to Du Toit being a Tighthead for the long term, even though I personally agree that we are taking a perfectly good Springbok quality loosehead and trying to convert him.

    I do not expect too much to change in terms of starting lineup against the Waratahs barring Tendai to start at Number 1.
    There might be jostling amongst the loose forwards, however, given our depth. We may start seeing Du Preez twins loading the bench, covering 4/5/7/8 Vermeulen warrants another start as he was solid, and despite Phillip having a few handling errors, he was very prominent. Maybe Tera at Number 8, or Keegan again – depending on pending injury updates.

  • Comment 82, posted at 19.02.18 15:41:45 by Richard Reply

  • As much as i see the merit all these calls for DuToit to switch back to loosehead are quite pointless. The Sharks have made a specific statement about him only playing tighthead this year and i feel that was in consultation with the Boks so very unlikely we will see any change there. With Beast at loosehead its even more unlikely. DuToit has all the attributes to be a good tighthead. Make no mistake he does have potential but he has gotten lazy and overweaight at loosehead. How often do you see him carrying the ball at pace now compared to when he first came on the scene at the Sharks? He needs to slim down, toughen up and come to the party as he has the potential.

  • Comment 83, posted at 19.02.18 16:14:49 by SheldonK Reply

  • I cant help but feel that our turbo reverse scrum was a big blooper by the coaching team. The lions have one of the best scrums in the comp and not taking it all into account caused havoc on saturday. There is now a sense of doubt in the team and supporters for the season ahead. Many will say its just the first game but thats exactly why it was so important to set the right tone for the year. Iv’e never seen a scrum go backwards like that. The whole team must be havinng nightmares!

  • Comment 84, posted at 19.02.18 16:39:36 by tigershark Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 83) : Yep, considering he played age group rugby at Tighthead as well as SA Under 20, its not all brand new – but yeah, the onus is on him. We need to do the Argentinean way – the Bajada, the 8 man scrum – with the old school rules back in the game, there is more opportunity to dominate this way.

  • Comment 85, posted at 19.02.18 16:48:20 by Richard Reply

  • @tigershark (Comment 84) : Playing against an Asia Pacific team with a local ref, the lions scrum will be penalised off the park, home ground bias unfortunately saved them this time

  • Comment 86, posted at 19.02.18 17:56:30 by jdolivier Reply

  • @jdolivier (Comment 86) : How so? Looked like a legal shove to me. Im no expert but it seems like the Lions LH got underneath Thomas quite easily and shoved him back at will. having two no 5 locks didnt help either.

  • Comment 87, posted at 19.02.18 18:11:55 by tigershark Reply

  • I do not think just the scrum is the reason for losing. It contributed but to single that out as the single biggest factor would be naive. Handling errors, defensive lapses to name a few all contributed. We were average at scrum time but dominated the lineouts.

    I am sorry to say but this is still a building team who probably is a mid table at best team.

    I really hope I am wrong and would gladly eat humble pie.

  • Comment 88, posted at 19.02.18 18:53:58 by YamYam Reply
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  • @Richard (Comment 85) : you can’t do an 8-man shove on your own ball. Free kick against you if the hooker doesn’t attempt to strike the ball

  • Comment 89, posted at 19.02.18 19:01:24 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 89) : Anyone in the front row can hook but it definitely negates the advantage of a put in.

    @jdolivier (Comment 86) : BTW it was a Kiwi ref., no reason for him to blow for the Lions.

    Fact is Swys admitted that they planned for this when they saw the Sharks team selection with Beast on the bench

  • Comment 90, posted at 19.02.18 20:09:44 by Baylion Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 89) : Correct, the problem was inexperience, if you take it we started Juan, very inexperienced at LH and them Thomas inexperienced at TH, etc etc, now if you look closely at many of the scrums you will find the Lions Hooker and LH scumming at Thomas as Juan was not a threat from the LH side either.

  • Comment 91, posted at 19.02.18 20:10:38 by sharks_lover Reply
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  • @Baylion (Comment 90) : Ref made mistakes but not because he favored any team, very few refs are fully able to watch the scrums this is why in so many games you see tit for tat blowing because they are not sure. 1 for you 1 for me type blowing. 😆

  • Comment 92, posted at 19.02.18 20:12:39 by sharks_lover Reply
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  • @YamYam (Comment 88) : A scrum error on the opposition 10m line results in a opposition throw in your 22. A missed lineout surrenders the ball but at least not as much territory.

    A weak scrum changes an opposition handling error into a penalty in their favour.

  • Comment 93, posted at 19.02.18 20:17:25 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @sharks_lover (Comment 91) : The moment Beast came on Dreyer’s free pass expired immediately.

  • Comment 94, posted at 19.02.18 20:21:51 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 94) : @Bokhoring (Comment 94) : and he immediately got a penalty against Dreyer too 🙂

  • Comment 95, posted at 19.02.18 20:31:38 by Baylion Reply

  • @sharks_lover (Comment 91) : Exactly how I feel. It was a very inexperienced front row for such an important game. The coaches made a bit of a slip up and it cost us big time. Just think of the momentum we could have had if the scrums were solid.

  • Comment 96, posted at 19.02.18 20:31:45 by tigershark Reply

  • @Bokhoring (Comment 94) : My point exactly. @tigershark (Comment 96) : @Baylion (Comment 95) :

  • Comment 97, posted at 19.02.18 20:34:33 by sharks_lover Reply
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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 93) : Fair point, but there are many highlight reels of what teams have done with turnover ball from a lineouts. My point I was trying to make is focusing on one aspect of the game to me would be a mistake. The new article points out a few concerns which I tend to agree with.

    This team needs patience and needs us to be patient with them.

  • Comment 98, posted at 20.02.18 08:00:22 by YamYam Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 89) : Yep, totally get the new rules. But there must be a way where all 8 can contribute to a dominant scrum. Once hooked, there is an opportunity to shove, but I’ll leave that to the scrum experts while I eat my chips and drink my beer. 😉

  • Comment 99, posted at 20.02.18 09:11:22 by Richard Reply

  • @Richard (Comment 99) : My couple views on our scrum. We were slow to initally engage thus giving the intial hit to the Lions who i also thought engaged a bit before the ref called it, and he gave a free kick to them when we were slightly early the once. That intitial hit is what caused us problems as it had our front row on the backfoot and then trying to hook the ball they just put the power on. In my opinion they were pushing before the ball was put in a lot of the time. That wont be the only time that happens this year so we need to develop a channel one ball that gets hooked very quickly to the back of the scrum. Our 8th man also needs to be aware of the new rules allowing him to pick the ball up and Dan DuPreez could have done so and cleared the ball on a couple. So for me its a combo of factors not just DuToit at tighthead.

  • Comment 100, posted at 20.02.18 09:25:56 by SheldonK Reply

  • @Baylion (Comment 77) : This is what I thought too…

  • Comment 101, posted at 20.02.18 13:10:40 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @Baylion (Comment 90) : I don’t have complaints about the ref…kudos to the Lions for the way they took advantage of our weakness…

  • Comment 102, posted at 20.02.18 13:12:04 by pastorshark Reply
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  • @SheldonK (Comment 100) : I never picked up their pushing before the ball was put in but my brother did. I wasn’t sure what the new ruling was regarding this so wasn’t sure if this was legal or not. I do agree that we can’t sit and whinge about it but rather find a solution.

  • Comment 103, posted at 21.02.18 10:39:53 by Hulk Reply

  • @Hulk (Comment 103) : Yeh they definitely got a shove in before the ball was in, and the once we tried we got nailed for it. Technically you cant push before the ball is in but teams kinda stretch that ruling by trying to make a big hit on the engage. So if anything the Sharks were a bit passive on the engage and the Lions aggressive.

  • Comment 104, posted at 21.02.18 10:44:55 by SheldonK Reply


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