Bulls seek scrum consistency
Pretoria - The Bulls may be kings of the lineout, but their scrum has come under massive pressure of late, raising concerns as the team heads into the latter part of this year’s Super Rugby series, reports the supersport.com website
But while some of the concern may be valid, the Bulls scrum coach - former Bok prop Wessel Roux - believes the only problem his side needs to work on is to get the consistency to provide a solid scrum platform for every set-piece they encounter.
The Bulls came under pressure against the Waratahs and were pinned a few times by Argentinean referee Francisco Pestrana during their 30-19 win, but while they have been on the receiving end of penalties this season for set-piece infringements, no clear pattern has emerged.
Rather, differing referee interpretations and simple individual mistakes at the hit can be a more accurate picture of why their scrums are perceived to be under pressure.
“I can’t say we scrummed that badly this past weekend. What we are probably lacking is consistency. Sometimes we scrum well and other times not so well,” said Roux.
“If we scrummed badly every time we could say it was ability, but it is rather a consistency issue. Players do lose concentration at times and sometimes that affects them.
“I don’t think the scrums were great, but they weren’t that bad. But we do acknowledge we have to work on the consistency. People also underestimate the Waratahs scrum, which, in my opinion, is one of the strongest scrumming units in the competition at the moment.”
While the Bulls were heavily penalised on tour, a review afterwards found that many of the calls were wrong on the refs' behalf, something SANZAR did communicate to them. That, and a few adjustments saw the Bulls put in a strong performance against the Kings, but as with many other parts of their game, they were under pressure against the Waratahs a week later.
“The Waratahs do have a good scrum, and they did put pressure on us there, but we are working hard on ensuring we get that consistency.”
The Bulls have several good young props and Hencus van Wyk steadied the scrum on debut on Saturday in a promising start to his career. Frik Kirsten has also been on the rise and is now a serious challenger to Werner Kruger’s tighthead spot, while at loosehead the extended run that Morné Mellett received this year has done him well.
Still the Bulls will want to ensure some solid attacking ball going forward as they head towards the business end of the competition, and that starts with a solid set-piece.
They host the Hurricanes at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday (19:10 kick-off).