Front Rower Porn

Moses May 3, 2011 52

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"Look into my eyes, Look into my eyes…" – Prop Whisperer

There was a man, and Kepu was his name. He started life in the back row, though he never quite felt… close enough. Then one day he was moved closer. Things began to seem right, like he was suddenly where he belonged. Unfortunately, his was a raw power. Untamed and uncontrolled, he lacked the direction to be effective.

But then, through a series of events, fate moved the chess pieces in a way that no mortal man could hope to understand. When the dust had settled, there holding the reins of mighty Kepu was the Prop Whisperer, Foles. Michael Foley took the raw power that was Kepu and made him a Beast to destroy Beasts, a Myth to unravel Myths. With his front row brothers Taf and the Cat, there was no pack that could withstand their awesome power. It was the coming of Kepu.

Seriously though, Sekope Kepu has proved a revelation this year. We always knew he was strong, but his past work has been a bit hit-and-miss. His strength and technique are now coming together and he is able to dominate his opponents. His combination with the rest of the Tahs front row is good, and he has been able to do good work from both sides when required. I don’t feel this is coming at too much cost to his work around the field either. This is a great asset, both at the Tahs and at the Wallabies. Anyway, enough chit-chat, just watch…

Our insurer insisted we issue the following disclaimers before you click play on this video.

  1. If you are a back, turn the volume down as the lyrics may offend.
  2. If you are a rugby league fan, click the back button immediately, as a contest at scrum time is a concept you could not possibly comprehend. There are no group hugs, just a genuine contest for possession won by technique and strength.
  3. If you are a front rower, please make sure you have a spare set of undies. We deny all responsibility for any mess created as a result of this video.

 

The scrum whisperer from greenandgoldrugby on Vimeo.

Front Rower Pr0n from greenandgoldrugby on Vimeo.

By the numbers

The numbers below are from Fox Sports Fantasy Rugby.

Minutes Long Arm Penalties Tight heads won Tight heads lost
Sekope Kepu 682 10 7 3
Benn Robinson 451 8 6 1
Alastair Baxter 448 5 4 2
Jeremy Tilse 2 0 1 0
Paddy Ryan 17 1 0 0
Tatafu Polota-Nau 408 1 3 1
Damien Fitzpatrick 226 3 3 2
John Ulugia 110 1 2 0
Opponent Tight heads won Tight heads lost
Rebels
Reds
Crusaders 1 2
Cheetahs 1
Brumbies 2
Chiefs 1
Force 1
Blues 1 1
Reds 1
Rebels 1

Note: This article was a collaborative effort between Moses (video, disclaimer, stats) and MrTimms (intro).

Discussion

  • Joe Mac

    What an awesome article!

    On Kepu, I agree he has come leaps and bounds this season, however, I am not sure how much of that success is him, and how much is TPN. This may be completely wrong seeing I play 9 however, it seems that as soon as TPN leaves the field so does the Tah’s scrum dominance.

    Crusaders game is one that comes to mind. So is the recent Reds game.

    • Fan of Tahs

      In the Reds game, it is true that Hanson came on and Taf came off and the Reds wheeled the Tahs 3rd (and deciding) 5m scrum. From there though the Tahs seemed to get the dominance back (though it was not to the same extent).

      Ulugia is sheer shite as a thrower, but not too bad in the bomb shelter. That’s him there in the Cheetahs highlights. Poor old Fitzy got the stinky stick against the Crusaders.

      As a side note, it took Taf a few years to get his throwing right which pretty much kept him behind Freier for a bit so hopefully they can fix that up for Ulugia and get him going a bit smoother.

  • Thomas

    Do the Tahs play the Sharks this year as that will be a test for them.

    • http://beerandsport.net Moses

      Week 15. There have been plenty of tests this year, from the footage I saw in compiling the video the Force, Rebels and Crusaders (which footage I didn’t have) were the sternest tests.

    • roland

      yes they do. Agreed with much of this being attributed to TPN. I think Cat, TPN and SLips would be out best starting front row, with Kepu on the bench. Good to see we have other options too such as Ben Alexander, Palmer and even Daley etc who can also cover for injuries.

      Never had this much front row depth.

    • Hawko

      The real shame is that Slipper was injured in the game against the Reds. We could have had a look at him vs Fat Cat. We’ll know how Slipper is going when he packs against Crocket.

  • bazaar

    Joe Mac

    The stinking pile of ineffectiveness known as John Ulugia is where the blame should lay.

    Kepu has played better than Slipper this season. Hopefully an all-NSW Wobbly FR this RWC. The steaming pile of embarrassment that was the Reds FR vs England last year set our scrummaging reputation back to 2007. Kepu is a man mountain and faster than Tom Carter.

    • roland

      Disagreed. Slipper is the THP. His work rate is 10 fold kepu’s and an equal scrummager. The reds scrum was rolling opposition untill he got injured. As soon as TPN comes off, the scrum goes to shit. He is good for 20 minutes at the end.

    • Fan of Tahs

      So Ulugia isn’t a Taf, big surprise! And it’s a grimace every time he goes near a crucial throw, I’ll agree, but he didn’t even play in the Crusaders game. Even Taf couldn’t stop some of the scrum rot in that one.

    • Mart

      Ha” faster than Tom carter”. Love it. Probably a better passer too.

  • bazaar

    Thomas –

    John Smit will have Kepu shaking in his boots.

    • roland

      Bahahaha. Is this guy serious? Tubby Smit is as easy to knock over as the froth on a capacino.

      That cream puff doesnt scare anyone.

      • Skip

        If I might quote Tony Johnstone of the NZ press (and they are pretty much the harshest rugby critics out there) after the last time SA played Australia with him at prop

        “he (smit) spent so much time with his head getting popped out of the scrum by the wallaby front row that he got a sun burned face”

        lol indeed. that was a remark worthy of the springbok coach himself.

      • Hawko

        The comment was irony. Sometimes it doesn’t come across in print because you don’t hear the tone of voice.

        • BigNose

          Sarcasm. Not irony. Sarcasm.

          And that doesn’t come across in print either.

        • roland

          yeah didn’t pick up on that one. I guess you only need to visit Keo a few times to realise even the most astute bok fan knows Smit is past his use by date.

          I think we could potentially be using our scrum as a weapon against the boks come tri nations this year. Rugby and scrums are so much better to watch whe your team is the dominant scrum.

    • Kinghitz

      You think? The way JS got his clock cleaned last year, I think I know who will be shaking.

  • Scarfman

    Not bad, but as a back, I prefer the original video to this song.

    • Dogman

      I agree. Buggers me what all those penalties were for in vid. Looks like everyone just falling on top of each other. Thank Christ for backs!

    • Muffy

      Must calm down..must not react…must not punch the nearest back….Breathe Muffy breathe

      No Sarcasm or irony…you can guess my tone of voice

      FCKN Backs

      :)

      • Dogman

        Ohhh, no thumbs for you piggie.

  • Robson

    Awesome footage.

    The arguement about TPN’s overall contribution to the Tahs scrum is probably valid. But, if nothing else, the video showed that Kepu pretty much had the upper hand on most of the looseheads he opposed; and emphatically too at times. Let’s not forget that the hookers impact on the scrum is between the opposing hooker and tighthead. TPN wouldn’t have been able to assist Kepu in his personal battle against the opposing loosehead. His binding is also excellent (and legal) and he gets to it quickly so he has a much better chance of neutralising the opposing looseheads ability to roll over him by way of incorrectly binding on the upper arm.

    Without making comparasions with other props I thought Kepu looked very impressive. After watching the S15 front row confrontations unfold right across the three competing nations, I have the distinct feeling that the Wallaby days of scrummaging doldrums are at an end. There is clearly a bite to scrummaging being shown in all five Australian franchises. Some better than others yes, but there is solid evidence of it being a coaching focus now; whereas in the past there has been a tendency to let it look after itself at the franchise level.

    Interesting times ahead.

  • Skip

    this may well be the first highlight clip made focussing on Australian props for the right reasons and is a trend I really hope continues

    • The Rant

      only problem was that 80% of it showed another aussie team getting dominated.

      • Seb V

        I agree. Most of those scrums dominated lesser opposition and mostly other aussie scrums. I do feel however our scrummaging is getting better. The Tahs front row should be the wallabies front row, i wouldnt argue with slipper being there but I think Kepu adds a bit of size and is a pretty good carrier of the ball.

      • Robson

        All the Aussie scrums showed distinct improvement over past performances; except the Rebs who have no past history to measure it against. So the comparasions are valid even if they do nothing else than illustrate that the scrum is now a continuous focus of Australian coaches rather than travelling intermittently from the back of their mind to the front and then back again. I absolutely believe that some good progress is being made.

      • Skip

        i still maintain a critical eye on the front row is required. Got to start somewhere.

  • Alan

    All hail Foley, this guy is just scrum coaching gold and needs to be reintroduced into the wallaby set up

    im more of a backs fan: linebreaks, palm offs and side steps turn me on however im cautiously optimistic and hopeful the wallabies can return to this, honestly if we have any hopes of lifting the WC, we need them 2

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fOvT3IqHSow

    if that doesnt plant a massive smile on your face you quite simply are not alive

    • Seb V

      wow i love that video and im a back!

      • roland

        its in my you-tube favourites last for me to watch after a hard days work. always puts a smile on my face

  • qwerty51

    As long as Nathan Sharpe is lock the Wallaby scrum will always be shit.

    • Patrick

      Really???

      • http://beerandsport.net Moses

        Force scrum has been very good this year, compiling the highlights I thought they were right up there with the Tahs. Should be a tough contest on Saturday

  • WorkingClassRugger

    On form it should be an all NSW FR, they have dominated most of their opponents this season when at full compliment. I’d say the two QLD 2nd rowers would be the go come RWC time with Palu as custodian.

  • roland

    Anyone else frothing at the prospect of our scrum pushing england front row back over their own second rowers again (ala 2009). Best thing i have ever seen in rugby.

    • WorkingClassRugger

      That can only happen if the right pack is selected. Sharpe is a good lineout exponent but is regardless of what some may think an average scrummager. The pack I’d like to see is as follows, Robinson,TPN,Kepu,Horwill (C) Simmons (I’d like to say Douglas but has suffered from 2nd year syndrome) Pocock, Mowen and Palu. In my opinion that pack would push most anyone else around the pack all day.

    • Fan of Tahs

      Oh shit oh shit oh holy shit! Semi Final knockout! Feed him Mongo!

      • roland

        wow working class rugger your not a tah fan at all. Douglas, Mowen, Palu, Kepu, they will be lucky to see world cup time at this rate.

  • BigNose

    If you are a rugby league fan, click the back button immediately, as a contest at scrum time is a concept you could not possibly comprehend. There are no group hugs, just a genuine contest for possession won by technique and strength.

    …but not hooking. Not even once :o{

    • Patrick

      Almost, at 3:10 ;)

  • Reddy!

    That was a fucking scary video

  • Newb

    if you extrapolate tilse’s numbers to a whole season he’d have roughly 500 tighthead wins! superprop indeed!!

  • Koala

    I’ll believe our scrum is fixed when we can go a whole european tour without conceeding a penalty try.

    And does anyone know why tilse is in the dog house at the tahs? Shouldn’t they go with youth over an aging baxter?

  • Hillsy

    Thanks for the disclaimer Moses. Need to go have a shower now.

  • fatprop

    The Tah’s scrum is still too lose for the Tahs to keep their structure when they get any dominance.

    Playing for penalties is a defeatist attitude, they need to develop structures to actually leverage any dominance they get at scrum time

    • roland

      With a name and profile picture like yours, im just gonna agree with you

  • Nutta

    Re progression of the Wobblies scrum based on S15 form:
    My only reticence of the domestic version of Super rugby was that it may actually make our weakness weaker by having weak scrums on weaker scrums. I fear this is what we are seeing as by and large the only time an Oz scrum dominates is over another Oz scrum and it’s Oz scrums who are getting munched by Yarpy and Sweet-Bro units. I think we will put forward a stronger scrum this year then in many previous years, but it will by no means be an attacking weapon. Once again, kudos to Dingo & ARU for developing a pool of players

    Re NSW scrum:
    We have the strongest scrum in Oz, but don’t use it with any intelligence. eg – falling for a wheel against Qld who KNEW another collapse would get them a card and/or penalty try? What other option was Qld going to pull? Seriously do we need to write the NSW “leadership” group a fkn LETTER to tell them what’s about to come? Fk Me. Be SMART. Even if you didn’t anticipate a wheel, where was the “Step right & Drive” drill call to counteract the wheel once it came on? Not intelligent play.

    Re Kepu:
    It takes more then a half dozen games to make a tight head. It actually takes years. However his basics are good – generally he has nice feet, clean hips, good engagement speed across the line, strength, what appears to be a natural appreciation for balance on his outside shoulder (controlling the loosehead angle – the hardest part of being a tighthead) and a quick bind. He is naturally clearly a better tight then loose head. I think that based on his early performances and given time we may have found a gem here. Slipper has him for now, but given Kepu’s demonstrated learning curve that may change pretty quick especially as Kepu is clearly much stronger.

    • tank

      If the Tahs have the strongest scrum in oz, then why are they (equal the rebels) the 2nd most penalised scrum in oz? Hense the reason they didn’t get a pen try against the reds. They have good components, but still many weakness, in particular Kepu who has been pinged for roughly 75% of the total. Kepu along with many of the Tahs scrum will struggle to make the Wallabies extended squad.

    • Garry

      “Once again, kudos to Dingo & ARU for developing a pool of players”

      Kudos to Dingo? ….Hardly.

      The emregence of the quality of players is due to the franchise coaches, and blokes like Foley. Thanks are due.

      If anything, Dingo (and selectors) is responsible for holding back this progress by continually picking underperformers, rather than trying fringe options. Nowhere is this more obvious than our WB front row problems which have been on going for near two years. How quickly we forget the shite of last European tour.

      And he has the arrogance of not introducing a scrum specialist to the squad, whilst the Australian rugby public have to cringe every time a scrum is set.

      Double agent Dingo. Kudos? Fair go.

  • Kinghitz

    Love the disclaimers! Specially the for the NRL fans. Better known as “the Lean”. View http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9JWLSNbqaUI&feature=related for an explanation.

  • JJJ

    Is it just me or do the flankers still look like they’re offering the tight 5 little more than moral support once the hit is over?

  • Trevor

    There are plenty of good scrums on this clip, but some ordinary ones too. I don’t think SA, NZ, England or France will be losing any sleep watching this clip. We’re in the best position we have been for a while, but Slipper, Kepu & the like still have come way to go in my humble opinion. We should remember these other countries LOVE to scrummage, whereas the Wallabies haven’t had that sort of mind set for 10 yrs (I blame Bill Young as starting the rot). We can blame refs as much as we want but the sad fact is no-one collapses scrums as much as we do.

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