White ‘rushing’ the Wallaby scrum

South African coach Jake White, not for the first time, has claimed the Australia’s forwards are using illegal tactics at scrum time to hide their shortcomings in the set pieces.

Speaking ahead of the crucial Tri-Nations fixture between the Springboks and Wallabies in Sydney on Saturday, White suggested that the Aussies still have problems with their scrum and are pushing the laws to the limit.

He said he will discuss the matter with New Zealand referee Paul Honiss, the man in charge of Saturday’s encounter, and insisted that he wants a “fair contest”.

Although White had plenty of praise for the Wallabies, describing them as a “World Cup force” (after their 20-15 upset win over New Zealand last Saturday), he was not so complimentary over their set pieces.

Asked by reporters whether Australia had solved their scrum problems, he made it clear he thought they were pushing the rules to the limit.

“I don’t think so, I think that is one area that I really want to talk to the referee about,” he said of the Australians’ scrum tactics.

“I thought [South African referee] Marius Jonker was outstanding the way he refereed the scrum [in the match between the Wallabies and New Zealand].

“I think the scrum for me was a non-issue, there weren’t scrums, every scrum was a short arm [free-kick] or a penalty.

“That is something that concerns me. To be fair I think the Australians they seem to be doing something which is very different from all the other teams.

“Their front row goes in first and they get a later delayed push from the five guys behind them which I don’t quite think is the right way you should be scrummaging.”

The Wallabies scrum has been under scrutiny since their much-publicised disintegration against England at Twickenham in 2005.

There were again signs of some cracks against the imposing All Blacks’ front row of Carl Hayman, Anton Oliver and Tony Woodcock last weekend.

“The All Blacks at times got on top of the scrum… there was one time when (Richie) McCaw picked up the ball at the side of the scrum going backwards and nearly scored,” White said.

“That was one of the times where it had a huge impact on the game, had he scored then the match would have been over, so as I said the scrum is very important to us and something we pride ourselves on it.

“We have got a big pack of forwards and I don’t want it to be stop start, all I want is a fair contest.”

White also said he would speak with Jonker – who awarded at least eight penalties and free-kicks, although there were about 20-odd resets in the game.

“He [Jonker] obviously saw things there and I’m sure there would be things he would have picked up that he can assist us with,” White said.

“One thing I have always said, the scrum has to be a fair contest not an equal contest.”

 

365 Digital

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