Stormers need to fix scrums, attack

Saracens coach Eddie Jones says the Stormers will have to brush up on scrummaging and attack if they are to make an impact in the forthcoming Super 14 season.

The former Wallaby coach made his views known after the Stormers romped to a 43-33 win over Saracens in their friendly clash at Newlands on Sunday. He was particularly scathing about the Stormers’ scrummaging ability.

“In a serious match, you’d have to penalise them [the Stormers] every time,” said Jones. “They [the Stormers’ front row]) were incapable of holding the scrum up.”

Jones was well aware of the fact the Stormers will open the Super 14 season with a fixture against the Sharks when he said: “I’ll send a message to John Plumtree [the Sharks coach] not to worry about scrummaging.”

There has long been a perception that the Stormers tight-five are the side’s soft underbelly and the Cape Super 14 franchise did little to change that way of thinking on Sunday.

“What amazes me is that we got accused in Australia that we can’t scrummage,” said Jones.
“It was South Africa who were the scrummagers.

“Now I come here [to Cape Town] and I find there’s a South African side who can’t scrummage. What’s happening in the world of rugby?”

The Stormers’ scrum was disrupted before kick-off by the 11th hour withdrawal of tighthead prop Brian Mutjati who picked up an injury on Saturday, in the customary captain’s practice a day before a match.
As a result loosehead prop Wicus Blaaw was drafted in to play in an unfamiliar position.

The Stormers had already gone into the match without specialist tighthead back-up because both JC Kritzinger and Brok Harris are nursing injuries.

“The scrums were very, very poor. We [Saracens] would have liked to have scrummed in the game, but I forgot there are no scrums in Super 14,” said Jones jokingly.

“We did not get as much advantage out if it [the scrums] as we wanted.”

Jones praised the Stormers’ defence and said that he would have liked to bring his wingers more into the game but it was not possible.

“They [the Stormers] are pretty good on defence,” said Jones. “But while they scored six tries, I think that three of those were because of our poor defence.

“If you look at the Stormers last year they were pretty solid on defence but if they are going to move up the table their attack will have to be the added extra—and they’ll have to fix their scrum.”

The ELVS (experimental law variations) were applied in Sunday’s friendly and Jones thought that it was not good for rugby.

“I thought it (the ELVS) was terrible,” said Jones. “What happens now is that there is no differentiation between a tackle and a ruck. If it’s a ruck and you still have your hands on it, then you’ve got to be penalised.

“The referees think it [the offence] is less important because now it is a free-kick, as opposed to a penalty.

“What we experienced today was, we saw, that only the third and fourth infringement gets penalised and that is not good for the game.”—Sapa

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