Video: Scrum Doctor In The House? Part 1 - Green and Gold Rugby

Video: Scrum Doctor In The House? Part 1

Video: Scrum Doctor In The House? Part 1

Is there anyone who can really work out all of the secrets of a scrum?  There probably are a few around, but we don’t profess to have all the answers.  Perhaps collectively we can act as the Wallabies scrum doctor and decipher what went wrong on Saturday and what to do about it.

So if you’ve stuck your head into dark places on a rugby field, please share your knowledge with the rest of us.  For our part we’ll try to deliver the relevant images to help your analysis.

In part 1 of the analysis we’ve included clips of the scrums that were the biggest problems for the Wallabies.

Part 2 of the analysis will cover some of the alternative footage, slow motion footage and still shots of areas we think provide some of the answers so we can all get down to detail and analyse what was causing the problems.

  • Mitch

    In the first one, I can see quite a difference in starting positions between Elsom and Croft, and how much extension they both have when they engage. Elsom starts with much more knee and hip bend, and after the engage he still has a fair amount of bend whereas Croft is fully extended (even before the Wallabies start moving backwards). I suppose in theory this allows Elsom to push again when the ball comes in, without having to move his feet forward but as it is England dominate the engage and the ball never does go in.

    Flankers aren’t the deciding factor in a scrummage but they can impart a large force to props (80% of a lock’s shove according to some), and it looks to me like Croft was working harder than Elsom on this one.

    • Newb

      rocky is also almost always the first with his head up. doesn’t appear to add much force at all.

  • Pommy Prop

    Australia have always been afraid of the scrum – they spent ages trying to get the IRB to turn the game into basketball. At last we saw a Ref that allowed the game to continue as it was designed to be played – by men in physical competition. As for the rest of England’s game – DIABOLICAL!

    But as a prop for 25 years (yes short, fat and no neck!!) I know that two games happen on the pitch and the England front row won theirs!

    • Conor

      see what happened last november? and the previous november to that?

      we weren’t too afraid of scrummaging then.

      but your right generally we have been shit srummagers (scrummers?)

    • prop memory

      yep – appears as though your memory is about as short as you describe your stature pommy prop. If you want to draw a conclusion from the teams on Saturday, be our guest. No doubt england holds a massive upper hand right now, but Wallaby supporters would love nothing more than to see our best 8 against yours again, and i think you will find that your current team knows it … maybe ask Sheridan and Vickery what they think on the issue, they may just clear some twickenham turf from their mouths before responding…

      following links could help out…

  • Hawko

    Man, watching that is painful.

  • Gibbsy

    Get in touch with Alec Evans- if there is a man in Australian who knows the inner workings of a scrum he’s the man. I interviewed him a few years back with the breakers, and he made the savagery of the scrum sound like a symphony. He had an amazing way of breaking down the dark arts into simple and understandable roles and contests, making all the elements that go into a scrum- for seemingly the first time- truly accessible. He could also clearly explain the way oppositions could destabilize the scrums in the most simple of manners. Jimmy Williams would be well served having a pow-wow with him and Link…

  • Jnor

    Painful indeed. While there were some issues with England pushing off the ball, illegal binding, driving in and general retardation by Owens (automatically assuming the dominant team is right doesn’t sit all that well with me really) in a normal situation these would not have been so apparent as the wallabies would have been able to counter with their own moves.

    As it was we had none and this just made the pommie tactics all the more obvious and we simply got schooled and I think front, second and back rows all have some blame to share around.

  • MrMouse

    There’s some far cleverer and more eloquent (and experienced) front rowers on the forums, but I started looking at the scrums..had a number of still with highlights by about 25 seconds, then just watched it through. It was agonising. Aus A about to start so I won’t give too many thoughts, just highlight meerkats, lazy planted feet, and some loose binds.
    England just went the eight man shove, often before the ball was in, with a little clever wrestling and the usual high binding.
    Gah! Might come back later.

  • Jon Cooper

    In also no expert on the dark arts of the front three. With that said I do believe that their was some illegal binding done on Daly. Is it not illegal for the English tighthead to bind on to Dalys arm? Also It looked to me that the English got their body height much lower causing the Aussie to basically dive in to meet them on the contact. Please anyone politely correct me if Im wrong.

  • armatt

    Alec ‘Scrum Doctor’ Evans was working with the Reds this year… I’m sure he’d be there if Dingo would just give him a call…

  • Crashball

    Looking at the clips I see that Daley is lined up angling in towards the England hooker and seems to throw his left foot wide (outside the line of his shoulder) at engagement. This allows the English THP to drag Daley’s outside shoulder down and in. Basically the wider Daley’s stance the better this tactic worked. It’s best seen about 44 secs into the clip.

  • Langthorne

    -Total pack weight
    -Total pack commitment
    -Front row experience
    -Front row technique
    -Front row strength
    -Not binding, binding incorrectly, dropping binds

    all of these are contributing factors, but the basic problem was one of boys against men. If you don’t have strength you could make up for it with experience or technique, but if you are down on two of those measures you will suffer.

    The difference in strength in the back between a 20 odd year old and a 25-30 year old is significant. There are young guys who can buck that trend, but they are rare, most talented new props need time rather than a baptism of fire (followed by a second round shafting). Just look at the way the English THP was lifting Daley up off the ground.

    I realy don’t think there is a quick fix if we are looking at the same front row for the second test.

  • Robson

    Langthorne is right about maturity.

    There are a number of issues involved in the debacle which was the WB scrum, but the most important of which was the illegal tactics of the Eng TH on Daley.

    Props must push straight. They are not permitted to roll their shoulder over the opposing prop because it will almost certainly collapse the scrum. In all but one scrum the Eng TH prop did this and got clean away with it right in front of a scrum clueless Welsh referee.

    One one occasion the referee came around from the other side of the scrum after it had well and truly collapsed and immediately penalised the WBs. He had no idea how the scrum had collapsed. He just assumed it was the WB fault. Disgusting.

    Most of the scrum penalties issued should have gone the other way. In the 59th minute both front rows came down simultaneously, but the WBs got penalised for it. In the 72nd minute the Eng hooker came up and a penalty try was awarded to Eng. A penalty should have gone the other way.

    Yes the overall technique of the Eng scrum was significantly better (eight man co-ordinated shove} and yes we had an immature front row but there would have been a much more even contest if the referee had actually known what his job was.

    Well that’s one side of the scrum. Haven’t looked at the second video yet.

    • Robson

      After looking at the second video I’m going to change my mind about the penalty try given to Eng in the 72nd minute. It was the WB front row that came up first.

      The other thing was that Maafu was binding illeglly on the Eng props arm on a couple of occasions. He had to because he was being completely outgunned.

      He needs to go back to scrum school.

      Been Robinson’s technique showed what Daley should be aiming for. Robinson is not binding on the shoulder of the tighthead, but he is not binding illegally. He has a loose grasp on the
      THs shirt leaving his arm and shoulder free so that {a} he can get another lower purchase on the TH atraight after engagement and snuggle right up under him {b} negate any illegal shouldr roll or binding by the TH because his outside arm is not providing any resistance for those tactics to succeed.

      The WB scrum was not the weapon of choice it has was last year and there are issues which need to be sorted, but overall the Squawking ref needs more scrum lessons than the players.

  • Law 20.1.j states: “… Until the ball leaves the scrum half’s hands, the scrum must be stationary … . A team must not shove the scrum away from the mark before the ball is thrown in.

    Sanction: Free Kick”

    Observe the first two scrums shown. At the engage the English pack immediately “shoved the scrum away from the mark.” Had two free kicks been awarded for such blatant infringements it would have changed somewhat the nature of the scrum contest. Instead the English realised they had carte blanche to pull every trick in the book to hoodwink a referee who really didn’t have a clue as to what was going on.

    Having said that I was ashamed at the lack of technique and commitment to the scrum by the Wallabies; in particular by the second and back rows. It is humiliating to see your national pack on roller skates. What about some pride in the jersey?

    • Robson

      True on all points. No matter what the referee is like you do want to see some spine in your side.

  • Robson

    After careful consideration the best locking partnership for the WBs on Saturday is Sharpe and Humphries. I didn’t realise it but Van the man is actually bigger than all the other available locks in Australia and the boy can sure bust the gameline. He’s an intense 80 minute performer and deserves a shot.

    However that is too logical for the Deans brain in it’s current clamouring for youth state. So we won’t go there.

    The next best pairing is Sharpe and Simmons and they are ideally matched for size. Now that keeps the Youth button nice and shiny and Simmons is a hard worker, good in the lineout and very enthusiastic. He’s also busting at the seams to get out and at em after having to come off in the S14 with a cheekbone fracture. I think he would go wild out there on Saturday.

    The next best pairing is Sharpe and Chiz, but only for Chiz’s size.

    So if Robbie wants two big,strong foaming at the mouth, kama kaze kids to power the scrum and bash about the paddock like young bulls he should look no further than Simmons and Sharpe.

    But will he do that? I don’t think he is going to meddle with the scrum too much, the only casualty will be Maafu. Otherwise “as you were” will prevail and we can look forward to another hammering in the scrum. The other disappointment is going to be behind the scrum where Luke the Fluke will start, but maybe not finish. Will Genia will be crawling out of his skin by the end of the game.

    Does Deans not know? Is he so dense and stubborn that he is blind to the fact that, irrespective of how well Burgo played last weekend, the best half back pairing in the country right now is Genia and Cooper? It’s a pairing right up there with the best of any coutry – northern or southern hemisphere. Why don’t we play them sir? What was that you say? Oh good idea, good ide… snore.

    This is all very pessimistic, but it is the worst case scenario. The next worst case scenario is taking a barely patched up team on to the park on Saturday and getting blown away by the Poms. Could that happen? Yes – if the scrum continues to perform like a setting jelly, and if Burgo can’t quite pick up last weeks form and Deans gives him the whole game to find it, and if Berrick decides to give the opposition some easy catching practise instead of running it.

    Last week the Poms hardly ran the ball, but once when they did, the Princesses boy friend cleared out from everybody through a gap you could drive a bulldozer through. This week they have got Wilko back too, so they will not be the same team in the rear guard as they were last week. Their forwards will be more fired up than they were last week too. Martin Johnson will be reading the riot act to them, tellling them they are all dumb bastards for pulverising the Wallabies in the scrum and then letting them win the game. Sacre bleu. That is not allowed to happen in the pommie rugger manual.

    I’ll reserve my prediction for the right thread, but I see Robbie Deans late on Saturday night, in the privacy of his hotel room, wringing his hands in anguish with the shadowy spectre of a cackling Graham Henry looking down on him.

  • Ruckmemaulmemakemescrum

    Guys, bleating about unfair scrummaging is really unnecessary and makes you sound like Kearns at his most whiny. Payne, Thompson and Cole have a bunch of GP and RWC winners medals between them. They completely outclassed an inferior front row in the way dominant fronties have since the dawn of time. Just be grateful you have a class set of loosies and some killer backs.


Scott is one of our regular contributors from the old days of G&GR. He has experience coaching Premier Grade with two clubs in Brisbane.

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