Scrum analysis: Wallabies vs Scotland

Scrum analysis: Wallabies vs Scotland

Scrum analysis: Wallabies vs Scotland

In 2015, and during this Rugby World Cup particularly, we’ve become used to the Wallaby scrum being an attacking weapon and points generator. Against the Scots on Monday morning it was the opposite – generating three penalties from which Scotland took 9 points; vital in what became a 1 point ball game.

So how did it happen? Let’s go through those scrums up to and around the penalties that impacted this match so much. As you’ll see, Scotland mixed power with guile to gain a crucial advantage in the match.

Scrum 1

scrum 1

First scrum of the match. It’s the Wallabies feed in the Scottish half and they get the ball away fairly quickly, but not before the Scottish tight-head (Nel) and Hooker (Ford) pincer in on Moore leaving Sio isolated. For good measure the Scottish 6 rides up and and into Sio in an effort to make him collapse.

The Scots targets have become clear.

Scrum 2

Five metres out from the Scottish line. The Wallabies appear to get a slight shove on before it collapses and Scots clear it. Poor camera angles make it difficult to tell much.

Scrum 3 – First Penalty

This is a good scrum from Scotland. They start by getting a shove on which is key.

scrum 2It is an angled drive which comes across onto Moore and Sio.

Moving backwards and across, Moore goes down onto one knee (circled), destabilising Sio who then folds and collapses.

This is an important scrum win for the Scots – from it the referee team see dominance in a shove and a collapse on Sio’s side which they rule on. This is their first data point. Laidlaw takes the three.

Scrum 4

scrum 4

On Wallabies ball, the scrum finds stability and then suddenly starts to lurch sideways towards Kepu before collapsing with a wheel in on Sio. The camera pans back far too far, but it appears the scrum collapses in the area of the hookers.

As you can see above, Sio’s backside is sticking up and out almost at right angles to the scrum. This is consistent with Nel and Ford driving in and down onto Moore, spinning Sio out.

Scrum 5 – Penalty 2

Scottish feed just outside of the Wallabies 22.

From this angle it’s not easy to see who out of Nel and Sio goes in first, but note Nel’s bind; it’s very short and is pulling Sio’s jersey. This is because Nel is driving through his left shoulder in on Moore, exposing the underside of his chest which Sio is forced to drive onto.

At the same time the rest of Scottish pack is also attempting to wheel around onto their left shoulders through their loose head Dickenson. In doing so Nel’s lock Jonny Gray loses connection with the tight-head’s hip. The combination of Nel’s angle in with no power behind behind him and Sio driving on what he’s been given results in the popping of Nel’s arse (and feet) into the air before he then twists and collapses in.

Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 11.20

The overhead shows the alignment better. Note the alignment of Dickenson and his bind on Kepu’s shorts as he looks to pull Kepu’s hips out while driving in. Nel is angled and driving in on Moore.Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 11.22 Just before collapse we can see how the scrum has evolved. Nel’s lost contact with his lock and has popped out. Sio is actually relatively straight next to Moore and Kepu with power coming on. Cowan (!) has yet again decided to slide up and bind onto the other half the scrum, in this case to try and protect Nel.

Overall: in slo-mo overhead freeze frame you can see that this scrum was a Scottish ploy that backfired. From the assistant referee’s perspective it looks like Sio has pushed Nel in and that’s what gets called. This is now two data points  – 1 real and one perceived – in Scotland’s favour. It’s also three points on the scoreboard to Scotland.

Scrum 6 – Penalty 3

This time the Scottish left wheel works.

Unfortunately we get no overhead shots.

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 7.28


But what we do see from side on is that as the Scottish power comes through the left side, Kepu and Moore’s knees hit the ground.

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 7.30

As the scrum collapses we get a glimpse of the angles. Dickenson’s is looking more acute and you can see how the Wallaby scrum has been crunched in from that side. While we can’t be sure from these pictures, the most logical (and from the last scrum, historical) answer is that Dickenson has bored in on Kepu as part of the Scots left wheel which they’ve at least partly won through the power they applied and the Wallabies didn’t deal with.

However, the referees already have two data points they’ve awarded against the Wallabies and this will make a third.

The tally is now nine scoreboard scrum points to Scotland.

scott sio penalised by joubert


Note though it was Kepu’s side that went down, not Sio’s even though the cameraman decided that was the case (above). JP Nel  – lauded as Sio’s nemesis in this match – is also replaced after this scrum. Sio is injured in the next scrum and so we also have new Australian front row combination as well.

In summary  – like they did in so many other facets of this game, the Scots played the hand they had to perfection, using a manipulation of subtle angles combined with coordinated power through the Gray brother locks to generate an impression of dominance over the Wallaby scrum. What the Wallabies were missing in this match was the drive that had neutralised such shenanigans from England and Wales. Was the back five complacent?

Regardless, if the Wallabies thought this was a test, wait until they see Argentina……


  • Jack Mallick

    Another lesson for a developing scrum – just like Cheika said, you’re the boss one week and then you get your pants pulled down.

  • Unanimous

    Surely the Scottish 6 has to bind to his prop or lock and can not bind onto Australians. That should be 2 penalties to Australia?

    Are the angles of the Scottish props legal?

    • Nutta

      The 6 must bind on his Lock. Penalty every day of the week. Although to be fair the first offence would probably just be a quiet warning from the touchie.

      Props should be positioned straight & clean. Penalty every day of the week. Dangerous play.

      Scrums may legitimately wheel as a unit but only after a clear movement forward by the whole front row (no initial pivoting off one prop or worse still, one giving ground to force the wheel)

      Destabilising a scrum by boring, step overs, popping or illegal binding is dangerous play. Penalty and in my opinion is damn close to a straight up red card for deliberate dangerous play. Sometimes shite happens, but usually – and especially at that level – it’s because someone is being cheeky. In which case if you choose to roll that dice then you pay the house.

      • Patrick

        Which is why I would love spidercam to be the default view at stadium screens. No way the ref and touchie could resist glancing at it.

    • With the Flanker I guess the approach is that he’s a symptom rather than a cause – but yes, it’s a penalty.

  • Nutta

    For years I have lamented the lack of development and value placed onto proper tight5 – especially fronties – and also the general cultural non-appreciation of scrummage in Oz. We would do nothing about the scrum, continue to pick fat back-rowers, then wring our hands and gnash our teeth when the English or someone else pantsed us, then go back to doing nothing and picking more fronties who could pass, step and fend but couldn’t scrum for shite. Rinse & repeat ad nauseam. It has driven me spare for nigh 20yrs and anyone who was silly enough to read my rambling ranting on this site over the last 6 or 7 years or so would be familiar with this reoccurring theme.

    So I’ll take this chance to say two big thankyou’s – 1 to Cheks for having the balls to finally put a proper scrum coach in place and 1 to you Matt for finally giving the scrum a coordinated platform that is lifting the profile and understanding.

    That said, a couple of months focus does not establish a lasting culture. But it’s a quantum leap forward in our approach to-date to the game both as a national side but as national supporters. Long may it continue.

    • muffy

      I think Rod Kafer and Marto have a lot to answer for here, the “aaah no, not another scrum” attitude really gets me!

      • Blinky Bill of Bellingen NSW

        Perhaps what we need is for Fox Sport to enlist the services of someone who is knowledgeable in scrums, good to listen to, and has access to all the best camera angles. ATM we all seem to be in the dark.

        • Gary

          Tom Lawton, the best Scrum technician in the last 40 years

        • Nutta

          Fair call. As long as Producers are clear he isn’t to be set up for the “Funny Fat Guy” role

        • Gary

          Perhaps he could get some help from the Funny “Skinny” Guy – A Evans

    • Pedro

      And a thankyou to you also Nutta. I always look forward to hearing your opinions on the dark arts. It’s always a mixture of understanding the laws and knowing what the realities are (old school and new) through experience, with a sprinkling of humour.

      • Nutta

        Awww shucks…

    • teach

      Hate to say it, but here in NZ, scrum coaching seems more advanced and supported by the unions and NZRU. Just from my own experiences as a coach and father of an age group prop, we get them young and train them properly from an early age. When coaching high school in Otago, we had the Front Row Factory, where there was specialised scrum coaching, open to all. This was a nation wide program, set up to counter the lack of front rowers. Players and coaches. I have taken my own boy along to sessions being run by Kees Meeuws, former AB and Highlanders scrum coach, and other props. When he went off to Uni this year, he came into the Canterbury fold, as part of the U19 training squad (concussion cost him his place sadly). There he got some training with Joe Moody, current AB prop.

      I am not skiting about our system so much as pointing out the the ARU could organise something similiar. Hopefully a lot more young fellas will see the Front row as a place to be. I am sure all you ex-props out there know how much fun it can be to smash someone else’s scrum. Nothing like it!

      • Nutta

        Preaching to the converted Teach particularly in terms of aligning uni’s to major clubs/provinces and coaching accordingly.

      • Marlins Tragic

        NSW rugby have started a tight five school for primary school students, trying to capture them at the national PSSA rugby carnivals, it’s a start at least. One of my former players is in the squad & loves it, they teach nutrition as well as scrummaging.

        • Who?

          Nutrition? I’d really hope they have a guy like Dan Palmer taking that part… His article a year or three ago about his struggles with the conditioning coach was side splitting!

        • Nutta

          Something about meat garnished with meat if I recall

        • Who?

          Meat garnished with meat… Life as it should be!
          And walking through shopping centres in South Africa eating hunks of meat as big as your fist. Must be lunch time, I’m suddenly starving!

      • Does Wyatt Crocket run the sessions on scrummaging straight?

        • Geoff Whitehouse

          Haha – laughed until I stopped

        • teach

          Its like Hogwarts. You get Defence against the Dark Arts. (Un)fortunately when learning how to defend against them you also learn how to use them. The stories Kees Mueews told the lads about what would happen in french scrums were an eye opener.

    • Keith Butler

      I’m with you Nutta regarding the tight 5. I played at lock in years gone by and my first priorities was scrum and lineout. Back in those days they didn’t call the second row the engine room for nothing. Tackling, carrying and clearing out were less of a priority (because we could ruck using our feet) but having those skills were a bonus. As an Englishman I despaired at the way our scrum has gone backwards literally over the last couple of year. Props that cannot scrum straight, hookers that cannot hook or throw the ball in at the lineout and lightweight locks (Courtney Lawes in particular) who are selected because they can make the odd tackle in open play but stay well away from the action at the breakdown. Moan over. The Aussies are very lucky to have someone like Super Mario, a great player in his day, because he seems to have turned your scrum problems around. England need someone like him to do a similar job. I would have to support England but now they’ve gone I can revert (as a citizen) to supporting the Wallabies. Should be a cracking game this weekend. Go Wobblies!

      • Patrick

        Even as recently as my schoolboy days we played that way.

    • McWarren

      Well said Nutta. I’ve enjoyed your ramblings for the short time I’ve been on here.
      I am concerned about our tight five development at the younger age groups. I’ve a 9 year old who has been playing for 4 years with the same team. They’ve become a great little bunch of teammates. My fella is a prop/hooker, that’s what he is built for, that’s all he wants to be. He can’t wait until scrums and lineout start being contested. He is sick and tired of the fast kids getting all the plaudits, tries and awards. He will never score a length of the field try, but god help the skinny little whippet he manages to get hold of. Anyway my concern is that his age group is now going to be graded, and I do not believe that the emphasis in grading is on their future front row ability or desire. I am concerned that because he isn’t fast and therefore not on the score sheet each week that he will be graded down with kids who perhaps don’t care as much as he does. I fear he will lose interest because he is no longer playing with his mates and no longer playing with kids as passionate as himself. We will lose a good kid from the game and a kid who is genuinely excited about scrummaging and smashing backs.

      • Nutta

        I’ve banged on about the same for years. Your little kid was me. I went through school as a B & C teamer. Never looked like A’s or 1sts (but funnily enough the senior coaches suddenly liked me when the Old Boys games surfaced). Then suddenly I was out of school and playing men and it all changed. I finished up in the UK & France playing for a living for a fair spell when I couldn’t possibly get a look-in in Oz because I wasn’t a ball-running fat-backrower. Keep the faith.

        • McWarren

          The beauty of rugby is it’s the only game that suits him. He aint no soccer player and he’s too smart for mungo ball. He’ll keep at because he loves it. But the system here doesn’t make it easy for the likes of him or your good self.

      • Who?

        I guess that’s the disadvantage of being in the city… Those of us in regional areas don’t have numbers to even think about grades for juniors, so they’re all in together. In our region, there’s two teams that have almost all forwards, one team with pretty well only backs (though they’re really, really well drilled at scrum – technique is good), a couple of teams where they’re all basically centres/flankers (no height and no searing pace)… So you get a different challenge each week. One week your quick kids are going to spend all day tackling big kids, the next week your big kids are going to spend all week chasing speedy little brats (yeah, I was never quick).

        In all honesty, if you’ve got a choice in clubs, and your club is going to pick based solely on size and speed, I’d consider shifting clubs… Picking on size and speed only is something Eddie Jones recently railed against (he thinks its a major reason why our catch and pass hasn’t been great the last few years), and is something that I think is only acceptable if you don’t intend on actually developing your kids. In other words, if you’re picking a rep team from a random bunch of kids who may not have played Rugby in their lives…

  • Dr Prinsworthy

    It does make you appreciate how hard it must be to referee the scrum in real time looking at these stills and replays. We have all the advantage of time and analysis and for some of them I’m still not sure what’s happening.

    The Scots seemed to have a tactic of boring in on the tight head side most of the time, which is interesting given that (A) it never got called and (B) it seemed to give them the ascendancy. It would have taken a pretty good ref to spot it in most cases though (although surely it was obvious in the last one).

    • Spank

      M. Poite may have been able to spot it.

      • astromo

        He seems to have learnt from the Lions tour of Oz and the Wales v England pool match, to Australia’s benefit in the ENG v AUS game. I find it bizarre that there appears to be a lack of comparing notes amongst the refs to collectively improve their ability to spot funny business.
        At the very least, they could just take a look at GAGR. I appreciate the analysis. It’s helping to demistify the previously impenetrable.
        Agree that it also helps appreciate the difficulty for the Refs. How many Refs do you see out there with experience in the front row? If it made sense, that would also help.

        • Patrick

          Since none of them look like cave trolls, I’m guessing none? :)

        • Chinese Dave

          I reckon they should get ex front rowers to ref the scrums and let the usual refs do all the rest.

          Maybe dangle the fat man over the scrum using a crane so he can see what’s going on. Call if the spider-fat-cam.

  • Braveheart81

    Sio and the Wallabies scrum need to work out ways to counteract this. Generally the area that your scrum comes under attack is the opposition LHP attacking your THP. Our loose head needs to be able to deal with any shenanigans from the opposition tight head because he has an inherent advantage.

    • Funk

      Isn’t that party of the learning process? Sio is still very young (as props go) this will have helped his progress no end, I’m sure Ledesmo, Cheiks and other props in the squad the will be going through best ways for him to counter what was happening to him (once’s he’s fit that is).

      • Braveheart81

        Absolutely. Of course Sio is young but he’s also good enough. That’s why he’s starting for the Wallabies and this season our scrum has been very good.

        We need to learn quickly though!

        • Funk

          I was definitely not saying he’s not good enough. He just has more to learn, and I think the best way to learn is through experience, in a hard tight situation. Sio will be better for the lesson he got taught.

      • McWarren

        Agree Funk. If nothing else the Scottish pack showed our pack that more is needed both on the training paddock and on the field. We have come a long way but Sunday showed we are still relatively naïve in terms of adapting on the pitch. We can’t always rely on a pre-game social media campaign to influence the refs. I doubt Craig Joubert reads much social media anyway, especially not this week.

    • Spank

      I agree. Clearly the Australian scrum – especially based on the England game [which reputedly has the best scrum in the 6 Nations] – has advanced in leaps and bounds. What it seems we are lacking still is the ‘nous’ to combat the smart scrummagers like the Scots who can make the ‘illegal’ tactics. Game after game it has been enforced at this WC that the teams must pack square and push front on, this game was different from the start and the canny Scots got away with it.
      For mine we lacked the leg drive of Pocock and I remain suspicious that Sio may have been carrying a niggling injury. I agree this weekend may tell the story more clearly. Hoping on several fronts that Pocock is back BUT better not to play him unless is he 100% fit. If we can get past the Argies it is better to have a fully fit and strong Pocock and Falou for the final ‘against the Boks’.

  • JJJ

    Can we get a spidercam in Australia? That thing makes all the difference in giving fans a chance to witness the skills involved in scrumming rather than just seeing who went forward. They’re great for a lot of other aspects of play, but they’re just so crucial in letting the average fan get a sense of what’s going on during the scrum and who is doing what.

    • Blinky Bill of Bellingen NSW

      Absolutely. The more that you can get fans involved and excited about scrums the better. We need to continue the good work done on the scrum and keep on building.
      And this is coming from an ex-back.

    • Pfitzy

      Spidercam for Bledisloe #1 showed how we beat the ABs – I wrote a thing on it

      • Pedro

        Yeah and one test the ball hit the wire although no one will admit it.

        • Saus

          Yeah I thought I saw that too. Spidercam’s a fantastic tool for the layman in terms of understanding the nuances of scrummaging and sheds some light on the dark art itself.

        • My_Oath

          New Zealand were using a drone cam at the cricket last summer. Video quality isn’t as good spidercam but it still does the job and can be used at any stadiums that don’t have spidercam yet.

      • JJJ

        If we already have them then we should use them more. I sit up and get excited when I see an overhead view of a scrum and I don’t recall it happening too often in home matches. They could take the overhead footage and use it to provide analysis on rugby shows, with some former fatty talking fans through it. Not only could they use it to explain what happened during particular matches, they could use scrums taken from both tests and super matches to show examples of common scrum tactics and manoeuvres and how to counter them.
        The more people understand scrums the more they’ll appreciate them. And I think the overhead cam promotes that more than anything short of actually participating in a scrum.

    • Nutta

      I do some part time forwards coaching for scrum, lineout, mauling and rucking when asked. For two clubs I worked with this year on a relatively consistent basis I had a step ladder and an I-pad so I could stand over their scrum at training and give some real time feedback. Makes a massive impact to their understanding and it’s simple stuff.

      • JJJ

        The overhead view is really the only way you can see what the locks are doing, which is something that doesn’t get enough coverage. Too often the analysis is “Well suchandsuch prop hinged/collapsed/angled probably and that’s what happened.” Too often it seems like a symptom is diagnosed and the disease is ignored. Or like they’re identifying the most noticeable effect without commenting on the cause.

      • Patrick

        I’m doing that for my U14s, even if I’m not the scrum coach at all. Golden idea, I can’t believe a grumpy geriatric prop is teaching me things ;)

        • Nutta

          To be fair I pinched the idea off a guy called Scott Allen who used to post here years ago

    • Patrick

      Better yet have spidercam as the default view at stadium screens for all scrums but have the default foxtel view be a split screen showing both sides, the spider cam and a panoramic view… that’d be heaven.

  • Douglas

    I think a lot of these shenanigans would stop if they replaced scrum penalties with free kicks. Scrums would be faster with fewer resets and would also be a lot safer with less focus on boring in & trying to force penalties through collapses.

    Of course if the Wallabies had spanked the Scots the way they spanked England in the scrums I’d probably have a very different opinion right now! Argentina will be very interesting.

    • Brendan Hume

      That was the highlight of the ELV’s from around 2007/2008 for me. The ref always has/had the right to penalise if required, but the option to free kick often cleaned it up enough anyway.

    • Nutta

      Nah because if you are weak or they are strong then just give away a shorty to negate the threat.

  • Pedro

    If you have business cards Matt, you should add: “Head of the Australian scrum advocacy movement”.

  • Housebrick

    As long as there’s full arm penalties for simply being bested at something the scrum will persist with illegal and dangerous tactics as the reward is so high.

    In no other part of the game is a penalty awarded when an opposition gets the better of you. Blatant stuff, I get it, but a stronger shove so often means penalty and ethically it just shits me to tears.

    Full arm penalty for a stolen line out, busted tackle?

    • JPQ

      What about where a player legally gets his hands on the ball at ruck time but due to a good clean-out/ inadequate body position, he can’t support his own body weight and so gets penalised?
      How about when you’re in a maul and since you’re getting pushed back too quickly so the maul goes to ground? Might not technically be a penalty but the ref can’t tell if its deliberate or not and 8/10 he pings the team losing the contest.
      Likewise in the scrum, teams are pinged for going backwards, but when you are going backwards, its harder to keep your bind or keep your feet etc

      Rugby union is full of areas where losing the contest often goes hand in hand with you falling foul of the laws.

  • Fatflanker

    Very insightful. Perhaps you could lend your patented cheat-o-scope to World Rugby. It is beyond me how the TMO and touchies can ignore the Scottish 6 totally releasing his bind and driving side on into the Wallaby front row. Just appalling refereeing.

    • Nutta

      It increases the need for the short side touchie to come on and ref his side of the scrum with the main ref sticking to the infield side.

      • Fatflanker

        That would be a sensible approach. The thing that gets me is that no-where else on the field is there more potential for serious injury than in the scrum yet we get blatantly foul play shrugged of as ‘dark arts’ and too hard to police. Its a duty of care issue for mine.

        • Parker

          Yeah, like prison rape.

  • idiot savant

    I cant help but feel differently about the way the Scottish scrum attacked us and the way Marler and the English scrum did.

    Marler’s boring was so obvious and Australia’s bind so tight and shove so strong that our scrum both went forward and splintered them with several scrums just disintegrating.

    The Scots might have played some tricks but they bound tight and shoved hard. Most of the scrums remained functional until the ball was ready to be taken out. We rarely got an effective shove on them.

    So if we are to get better we need to realise we were legitimately beaten by superior scrummaging (conceding that the form will always encompass some dark art tricks). They were better than us. Simple as that.

    • Spot on

    • Patrick

      Yep absolutely. You can’t be a world class scrum without power and co-ordination (the white arts), but they aren’t enough, and you need the ‘dark arts’ too. For too long Australia neglected the latter.

      One of the reasons Fiji scrummed so well was that their props have so much more NH experience than they used to.

      England with Marler let the trickery become the priority, though, which Sheridan or Corbisiero never did, and which teams like Argentina, NZ, the Boks and ABs don’t do either. That could work against an opposition scrum that was either weak or naive, but from the moment that we were neither it was an unmitigated disaster and an indictement on Lancaster’s coaching that, here as everywhere else, they didn’t have a plan B (i.e. scrum straight would have been one idea they might have tried in the second half).


    Pretty brilliant piece of analysis – thanks.

    Got to wonder why Moore, particularly, did not try to defuse Nel’s tactics, by engaging lower, then pushing up and through his left shoulder. Not sure he had enough power coming through the locks, though.

  • Juan

    I’d be interested in your analysis of a scrum late in the game when it appeared that the Scottish scrum collapsed inward and down on their loosehead side and appeared a clear penalty to us. It was around Scottish 40m on far side, shortly before the intercept. I think it was a critical non-decision given what followed.

  • Joy

    The most effective drive in a scrum comes from the hooker followed by the props. This effort seemed off a bit or Scotland produced more than England/Wales.

  • Dogbig

    I for one got mildly interested in scrums after seeing Australia win a few and then go on to demolish England. Then I read some of this scrummaging analysis! What a game changer these articles, stills and arrows have been… it almost makes me wish I played in the forwards. The scrums are particularly becoming a highlight now and I can’t wait to see the contest with the Argies in the scrum more so than any part of the game. I also think Australian will be more demanding of the forwards coaching in the future, as before this world cup I thought we just couldn’t scrum, and that was incorrect…. Thanks again for the great articles.

    • Blinky Bill of Bellingen NSW

      Likewise, I’m waiting to see if our Argie coached scrum does well against the Puma scrum. If it does, then that should shut a lot of critics up.

  • Utah

    Cheers Matt. Scrum 5 should have been a penalty to the Wallabies. Sio is dominant, beginning to march Nel backwards when Nel buckles inwards under the pressure. Sio was not boring in. He was straight.

    Also, the last scrum, where Scotland got a free kick when Slipper allegedly took the scrum down was wrong IMO. Should have been a reset. There was no evidence that Slipper was more to blame for scrum collapsing. You could argue the Scottish tight head hinged, which took it down.

  • Big Dipper

    This great article shows (among other things) how much rugby league has lost by taking scrummaging out of its game. The days of hookers hooking and all sorts of nonsense going on the scrums were terrific.

  • Barry Allen

    In shorter terms… Simmons is the problem! His only value is the lineout.

    • Who?

      Simmons is the problem when Sio was being gamed and is still a young prop learning his trade, playing against a crafty old South African tight head..? The issues weren’t drive related, they were to do with positioning on engagement. The power’s gone from the hit, but it’s still a game to try and find the best position for when the power comes on. Take a look at the photos – Simmons and Fardy are pushing Sio, and Douglas and Hooper are pushing Kepu. I don’t think many people would agree that Douglas + Hooper is a stronger combination than Simmons and Fardy. I know that, internally to the squad, Simmons has traditionally had an excellent reputation for his scrummaging. In fact, previously, my sources had him listed ahead of Douglas…
      Sio’s generally not got an issue of too little support, generally it’s that the Scottish TH’s managed to position himself to pincer Moore, which is a good tactic. It’s assisted by Nel’s short bind. I’m open to correction, but, to me, that alignment looks like the old Pumas Bajada. Drive on the hooker. No one’s clearly boring in, but the entire Scottish front row has managed to drive through the centre of the Wallaby front row. Which makes life pretty tough for a hooker who’s got to hook for the ball off a straight(ish) feed. And gives a front row who aren’t able to keep their hips together nothing to push against, popping the LH.

  • brumby runner

    More great scrum analysis. It is clear that the Wallabies’ scrum has improved out of sight recently, but I am also heartened by the extremely competitive scrums in the NRC. Many contests last for upwards of half a minute or more with neither side giving an inch. Huge efforts by all involved, and if I’m not mistaken, most of the props/locks in NRC teams are still very young, even still teenagers in the case of Lomax and Toupou and probably others. Very promising for the Wallabies in years to come.

  • Who?

    I’m sure I’m not alone in wishing that he’d quit the Roar because he’d been given a coaching role. As in, a senior coaching role for a certain province that really desperately needs a coach. I think both of his former publishers would’ve been rightly proud.


Matt started G&GR just before the 2007 Rugby World Cup and has been enslaved ever since. Follow him on twitter: @MattRowley

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  • Wednesday’s Rugby News

    Wednesday’s Rugby News looks at the Wallabies changing up their processes, Will Genia’s big idea to revamp...