Fix this scrum mess
Fix this scrum messSHARE
The ugly side of the new scrum sequence reared its head at Loftus Versfeld on Friday, with calls that the new mess must be sorted out urgently.
The Blue Bulls managed an unconvincing 15-9 victory over Griquas in an error-riddled Currie Cup match in Pretoria.
However, both Bulls captain Jono Ross and Griquas captain Ryno Barnes were perplexed by how the scrums evolved into an almighty mess that contributed to the stop-start nature of the encounter.
They were the two teams who, in Week One, best coped with the new 'crouch-bind-set' engagement sequence ordered by the IRB and had no problems with it when Jason Jaftha (Griquas versus Sharks) and Rasta Rasivhenge (Bulls against Western Province) were in charge.
However, at Loftus on Friday referee Marius van der Westhuizen blew a concerto, that appeared to range from A Minor to C Major, and which puzzled and bewildered the players.
Bulls scrumhalf Ruan Snyman was even yellow-carded for a skew feed at the scrum just over five minutes after coming on as a replacement.
Barnes stopped short of blaming the match official for the mess, but hinted strongly that he may have played a role.
"It was messy rugby all over," the Griquas skipper said, adding: "Both teams made a few mistakes.
"At scrum time, I don't know what was going on," Barnes said.
"Was it the officials or the players? We need to get used to it – it is IRB rules and we need to sort it out."
Asked about the dramatic change from Week One to Week Two, where the powerful Griquas scrum was in command against the Sharks, but constantly blown up at Loftus, Barnes again stopped short of blaming the referee.
"I don't want to comment on any officials or the players, we need to fix it [the scrum mess]," the Griquas hooker said.
"I don't know where it comes from, but we need to fix it."
The Bulls captain, Ross, also avoided pointing the finger at the match official.
He described it as a "scrappy" and "frustrating" game.
"A couple of weird things happened out there, such as a scrumhalf getting a yellow card," Ross said of the 58th-minute sin-binning.
"Those are the things we have to adapt to and that is the way it is going to be. I think we need to adapt to it quickly."
Both captains admitted their respective teams have a lot to work on in the coming weeks if they are to challenge for overall honours.
"Here and there we played some good rugby," Barnes said, adding: "We just need to keep the ball.
"That is the brand of rugby we play, to keep the ball, get on the front foot and score some tries. We need to go back to that and rectify that."
He also spoke of the 16 turnovers they won.
"It is one aspect where we want to be physical this year, the breakdown. We worked hard at it and we had Todd Louden from Australia helping us out, so it is paying off.
Ross said the Bulls are obviously happy with the win, but bemoaned the scrappy and stop-start nature of the game.
"Maybe the performance wasn't quite there, but there is a lot to work on from our side. We know we can get better."