Neil de Kock: Wallabies' secret weapon at scrum time

The Wallabies have been lauded for their street smart tactics in back-to-back victories over the Springboks in Australia but, for me, it’s been their scrummaging displays which have caught the eye.

© (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images) Neil de Kock: Wallabies’ secret weapon at scrum time

Since Petrus du Plessis joined the Wallaby coaching staff as scrum coach in late 2020, Australia’s set-piece has improved markedly. The former tighthead prop was born in South Africa but schooled in the dark arts of front row play in England. The 40-year-old is an astute student of the game when it comes to scrummaging and has been clever in terms of working with the available resources in Australia.

For a while now, scrummaging has been a perceived Wallaby weakness but Du Plessis is shifting the narrative as he continues to work with a group of props who boast an average age of 26.

Not too many people will know about Petrus as a player but when he came to Saracens in 2010, he was almost a saviour for us at the time because we had an injury crisis in the front row. At the beginning a number of people asked: “Where is this guy from?” However, he was absolutely outstanding, dug us out of many holes and played for the club until he left for London Irish in 2017.

Fast forward to 2021 and Du Plessis deserves credit for his work as Wallaby scrum coach. The men in gold and green knew that they would effectively be coming up against two Springbok packs over 80 minutes – owing to South Africa’s 6/2 bench split – and realised that they were going to have to find ways and means to get around South Africa’s famed Bomb Squad in order to at least be on par or perhaps even dominate the set-piece at times.

If it means that you have to push the letter of the law – as most modern professional teams do at the breakdown, with mauling and offside lines – it’s definitely a tactic that won’t be frowned upon unless it’s within the boundaries of what the law says.

However, another former teammate of mine, Rob Kempson, has been outspoken in terms of the Wallabies’ “illegal scrummaging.” Kempson flagged tighthead prop Taniela Tupou in particular for not having his hips parallel to the touchline and pointed to “the angle of his back” and how he “turned himself right to the other touchline.” I am definitely not going to disagree with Kempson when it comes to pointing out scrummaging tactics and the accompanying laws.

However, the irony is that if you asked the front rows of both Australia and South Africa the exact same questions post-match, I guarantee you that all six starting front rowers would have a different answer as to who dominated the set-piece, where it was dominated and where it went wrong at certain stages in the match. That is the beauty of scrummaging, which has always been a contentious aspect of the game.

As a former scrumhalf, I want to see the ball in and out of the scrum as quickly as possible and rugby being played. However, I respect the fact that the scrum set-piece is an incredible art form and plenty of time and effort goes into it at training and during a match situation. You want to be rewarded when you are dominant and are genuinely on top at scrum time. And when it doesn’t go your way, it’s incredibly frustrating as the Springboks can attest to against the Wallabies in Australia.

There are other parts of the oval game which are grey areas but the scrum is definitely still one of the most subjective aspects of rugby.

If we are talking about adding officials at scrum time to remedy the lottery which often ensues, how many times are we going to stop the game to discuss refereeing decisions? I agree that we can’t be reviewing every scrum to see what the correct call is but there could be value in bringing in an independent scrum official to focus solely on the set-piece and make a call into the referee’s ear at key moments in the match.

Making use of an independent scrum official for Test matches may be the way to go because if you had to put me in a game now, even as an ex-player and ask me to referee a scrum, it would be extremely difficult. The independent scrum official could be trialled at provincial level first before being moved to the international stage.

While contests on the ground, high tackles and going off your feet at ruck time are also areas that can have a material effect on a game, we need to find a solution because scrum rulings can change the outcome of a contest. It was evidenced by the final penalty awarded in the first Test match between Australia and South Africa on the Gold Coast which swung the result in the former’s favour.

It will be interesting to see how the Wallabies fare at scrum time over the next fortnight against the Pumas, who are famed for their Bajada technique, and what variations Du Plessis is set to introduce.

Following an 11-year career with Saracens, which saw him earn 264 caps, Neil de Kock now works in the rugby division at the Stellenbosch Academy of Sport in South Africa. De Kock, who featured in 10 Test matches for the Springboks, provides RugbyPass with expert opinion and insight focusing on the southern hemisphere sides.

Internet Explorer Channel Network
News Related


Emotional rollercoaster: Stoinis brings back smiles on Aussie faces, Markram's remarkable catch and Maxwell's hairdo

© Provided by The Indian Express One didn’t really have to look at the action in middle to understand which way the match was swinging. As Australia dug a hole ... Read more »

Nordstrom Is Selling a Budget-Friendly Lookalike of Meghan Markle's Favorite Tote Bag

© Images: Rob Latour/Variety and Lisla/AdobeStock. Design: Ashley Britton/SheKnows. Sometimes royal or celebrity style can feel inaccessible, but Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, is known for wearing and toting ... Read more »

USC Trojans at Notre Dame Fighting Irish: Live stream, time, betting odds, how to watch

Notre Dame and Southern California, two of college football’s most storied programs, are set to renew their long-standing rivalry this weekend.    This series that dates back to 1926 and ... Read more »

Man Utd exploring significant Old Trafford upgrades

Manchester United have held talks over some significant improvements at Old Trafford, with a capacity of over 80,000 potentially on the horizon. © Provided by 90min Old Trafford could be ... Read more »

Saudi-owned Newcastle backtracks on clothing request to fans

NEWCASTLE, England (AP) — Newcastle has backtracked on its request for fans to stop wearing imitation Arab clothing to mark the purchase of the Premier League team by Saudi Arabia’s ... Read more »

Vermont marker recognizes early African American poet

GUILFORD, Vt. (AP) — Vermont has erected a historical marker recognizing Lucy Terry Prince, who wrote what is thought to be the oldest known poem by an African American. The ... Read more »

Dodgers to start Walker Buehler in NLCS Game 6

The Dodgers have announced that Walker Buehler will get the start in tonight’s crucial Game 6 of the National League Championship Series. Buehler will take the ball in place of Max ... Read more »

Top 14 (J8) : Bordeaux-Bègles et le Stade Français Paris enchaînent, Biarritz se réveille, Clermont renverse Pau

En attendant le match de Toulouse, Bordeaux-Bègles a pris la tête du Top 14 au bénéfice de son succès bonifié sur Perpignan alors que Lyon a chuté avec le bonus ... Read more »

Behind Enemy Lines: Previewing Week 7 with Giants Wire

© Provided by Panthers Wire If you’re not that familiar with the Carolina Panthers’ Week 7 opponent in the New York Giants, then you might be completely lost about them ... Read more »

India vs Pakistan Live Streaming ICC T20 World Cup 2021 Group 2: When and Where to watch IND v vs PAK Live in India

© Provided by Zee News All roads will lead to the Dubai International Cricket Stadium this Sunday as it gears up to host the mother of all battles on the ... Read more »

England vs West Indies ICC T20 World Cup 2021 Live Cricket Score: Rashid takes 4/2 as ENG bowl out WI for just 55

20:47:25 IST Mills comes in for his final over. Rampaul flicks the 1st ball to third man for a single. Hosein cuts the 2nd ball for 2 runs. Mills beats ... Read more »

UFC Vegas 41 odds: Vettori favored over Costa

UFC Vegas 41 is setting sail this afternoon from the company’s APEX facility in Las Vegas, Nevada. We’ve got a top-5 ranked middleweight main event between the #2 rated, Paulo ... Read more »

From Pushing a Broom To Working on an Formula 1 Pit Wall

If you’ve ever harbored a dream of working for a Formula 1 team and wondered how to get there, let me introduce you to Trevor Green-Smith, whose Grand Prix wishes ... Read more »

Live Score Updates, England vs West Indies, T20 World Cup 2021: Rashid picks four to wrap up Windies for 55 all out

© Provided by Firstpost Live Score Updates, England vs West Indies, T20 World Cup 2021: Rashid picks four to wrap up Windies for 55 all out 20:49 (IST) After 15 ... Read more »

2021 Zozo Championship scores: Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama holds one-stroke lead after Round 3

© Provided by CBS Sports Hideki Matsuyama of Japan putts at the 1st green during the third round of the PGA ZOZO Championship golf tournament at the Narashino Country Club ... Read more »

NFL football pool, pick'em, office pool, confidence picks: Choose the Raiders in Week 7, 2021

New England is now two games behind Buffalo in the AFC East standings through six weeks. The Patriots have lost all four of their home games, so they will place ... Read more »

Tennessee Volunteers at Alabama Crimson Tide: Live stream, time, betting odds, how to watch

The Alabama Crimson Tide will welcome the Tennessee Volunteers to Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday night in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  Nick Saban’s team has won 14 in a row over UT.   “It’s a ... Read more »

Look: Fan Ejected For What He Did To Lakers PG Rajon Rondo

© Provided by The Spun Rajon Rondo playing for the Lakers. It didn’t take very long for the NBA to have its first fan incident this season. On Friday night, ... Read more »

NBA World Reacts To What Magic Johnson Said About Lakers

© Provided by The Spun A closeup of Los Angeles Lakers great Magic Johnson addressing the media. On Friday night, the Los Angeles Lakers made headlines for all the wrong ... Read more »

India vs Pakistan T20 World Cup 2021: From Virat Kohli vs Shadab Khan to Babar Azam vs Jasprit Bumrah, top battles to watch out for

© Provided by Zee News Virat Kohli-led India will face Babar Azam’s Pakistan in a high octane Group 2 clash in the Super 12 stage of the ICC Men’s T20 ... Read more »

India vs Pakistan T20 World Cup Match Preview Shoaib Akhtar And Mohammad Kaif: Playing 11s, Pitch and Weather Report Telecast Info

© Toshi Tiwari Ind vs pak t20 world cup match preview India vs Pakistan t20 World Cup: The most anticipated event in sports which will have the attention of fans ... Read more »

Elijah Wood, James Gunn Among Stars Paying Tribute To Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins Following Tragic ‘Rust' Shooting

Stars have been paying tribute to cinematographer Halyna Hutchins following Thursday’s tragic shooting on the set of “Rust”. © Shutterstock Halyna Hutchins. Hutchins died after actor Alec Baldwin accidentally shot ... Read more »

England vs West Indies ICC T20 World Cup 2021 Live Cricket Score: ENG spark WI batting collapse with six early wickets

20:17:13 IST WICKET! Full outside off and Pooran couldn’t help himself as he has a big swipe at it but only gets an edge which Buttler collects with ease. Horrible ... Read more »

Get This Chef-Favorite Cookware Brand on Major Sale As Part of Amazon's Early Black Friday Deals

© Design: Ashley Britton/SheKnows. Thanksgiving is just a little over a month away. Do you have trustworthy cookware that will help rather than hinder your preparation of this feast? If ... Read more »

UFC Vegas 41 Start Time, Who Is Fighting Today!

© Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC UFC Vegas 41 is set to go down later today (Sat., Oct. 23, 2021) live from inside UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, streaming ... Read more »

‘Mauka Mauka' banter continues as fans gear up for India-Pakistan clash

© Provided by The Indian Express With India’s match against Pakistan at the ICC T20 World Cup set for Sunday, October 24, fans of both nations can’t keep calm. And ... Read more »

India-Pakistan cricket and its unpredictable rhythm down the decades

Cricket ties between India and Pakistan define a peculiar pattern. True, bilateral sports relations between countries are not always linear and hassle free, there are stoppages and boycotts, but matters ... Read more »

Virat Kohli cautions against player burnout in trying to 'cover up' for cricket lost to Covid-19

© Getty Images Virat Kohli has spoken out on the dangers of player burnout © Getty Images India captain Virat Kohli has said that while trying to “cover up” for ... Read more »

Australia beat South Africa by five wickets: T20 World Cup – live!

LIVE – Updated at 14:31 © Photograph: Indranil Mukherjee/AFP/Getty Images Australia’s Glenn Maxwell plays a switch-hit against South Africa. Minute by minute: Aaron Finch’s team face a tough assignment in ... Read more »

Babar Azam calls on Pakistan to rewrite the narrative against India

Pakistan Skipper Babar Azam has promised his team will not think about their poor record against arch-rivals India when they meet in a Twenty20 World Cup match in Dubai on ... Read more »

El Clasico: Ronald Koeman says Barcelona need to make fans proud against Real Madrid

© Provided by WION Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman said his side will need to be fearless to beat rivals Real Madrid on Sunday as he called on the club`s fans ... Read more »

A Psychologist Told Joe Rogan What Living With ADHD Is Really Like

Researchers have found a noticeable upswing in individuals exhibiting ADHD symptoms since the onset of the pandemic. Oftentimes, though, ADHD-like traits such as “distractibility” can be nebulous and non-specific. In ... Read more »

Quick Shifts: 5 good, 5 bad signs for the Maple Leafs

A quick mix of the things we gleaned from the week of hockey, serious and less so, and rolling four lines deep. The author further relaxed his dress code while ... Read more »

Canada's Sarault captures short track silver at Beijing World Cup event

© Wang Zhao/AFP via Getty Images Canada’s Courtney Sarault, right, is shown competing in the women’s 1,500-metre quarter-finals in Beijing on Saturday. Sarault finished second in the event’s final. Canada’s ... Read more »

Astros vs. Red Sox final score, results: Luis Garcia, Yordan Alvarez help propel Astros to World Series

Luis Garcia picked a good time to have the best game of his young career. After lasting just one inning in Game 2 of the ALCS, the Astros starter was ... Read more »

Chas McCormick, Jose Siri have dance party after Astros clinch

© Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa (1) celebrates with Jose Siri (26) after hitting a go-ahead solo home run against the Boston Red Sox. The Houston ... Read more »

Live Score Updates, England vs West Indies, T20 World Cup 2021: Hetmyer departs to leave Windies three down

© Provided by Firstpost Live Score Updates, England vs West Indies, T20 World Cup 2021: Hetmyer departs to leave Windies three down 19:56 (IST) After 5 overs,West Indies 27/3 ( ... Read more »

Despite India's issues, Pakistan will face a team at home on the big stage

© Provided by Hindustan Times Cricket fans, with their faces painted in the Indian and Pakistani national flag colours, pose for a picture ahead of the first match between India ... Read more »

Inexperienced Sri Lanka banking on pace attack to topple Bangladesh

Big picture When these teams met in the warm-up 11 days ago, neither Bangladesh nor Sri Lanka might have imagined they’d be playing each other again so soon. But after ... Read more »

Three Beatles and a boy band: India's T20 philharmonic orchestra

© Provided by The Indian Express The moment Virat Kohli announced that this would be his last assignment as his country’s T20 captain, the overarching narrative of India’s World Cup ... Read more »
On you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic