Mike Cron examines new scrum rules

All Black scrummaging coach Mike Cron took time out from a scrum clinic for schools in Tasman on Thursday to deliver his verdict on the IRB’s new scrum laws.

Cron, whose work is largely – pun intended – responsible for the hulking dominance of New Zealand’s current front row admitted to the Nelson Mail that he is frustrated by the new four-stage (crouch, touch, pause, engage) engagement.

“I can see where the IRB are coming from in changing the rule, but I think it’s come about through other countries not having education and the coaching systems in place to help the young front rowers,” he said.

“I think the NZRU’s led the way in that, you know, working with front row factories with little 12-year-olds all the way through. A lot of countries don’t have anything like that.”

Cron wrote to the IRB recommending that the four stages be sped up, and the governing body responded well, with the touch and pause commands now much quicker.

He believes it will help the scrum remain as a competitive area in the game.

“(The laws have) been at the world U19 championships for years anyway, but to me it has no relevance really.

“To keep the competitiveness, which is obviously what the scrum’s about, you can’t dabble too much more.

“If you’re going to keep it competitive, then it comes down to getting a player physically capable of doing the job. So you’ve got to start training them at a young age and giving them the skills.”

Still, come what may in the laws, you still have to bebetter than your opponent, and while the laws may hinder development of tactics, only being the best counts.

“Whatever rule they (IRB) come up with, we’ve just got to be better than the opposition at it. The new rule puts more emphasis on balance and we’ve always worked hard on our balance.

“I think you’ll find that at the very top level of international rugby, the new law won’t have much affect, it’ll be just the same as last year.

“I think if we just carry on from where we were last year, you’d be leading with your chin a bit. Rust never sleeps, everyone improves.

“So if we consider that we just want to carry on where we left off last year, I think that’d be fraught with danger.

“So you’re always looking for an edge to give you that advantage over the opposition, and the old number eight wire comes out in the Kiwi, and in all aspects of the game, I think we’ve got the leadership there, with the players and the coaching staff, to keep trying to put that edge on us and give us that slight advantage over the opposition.

“We’re certainly not complacent.”


365 Digital

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