Scrum 'lottery' described as 'wee issue'
August 17, 2013
Will Genia was less than confident feeding the scrum at ANZ Stadium © Getty Images
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen says rugby's new scrum laws have created "another wee issue" while Wallabies counterpart Ewen McKenzie described as a "lottery" the calls in the Rugby Championship-opening Bledisloe Cup Test at ANZ Stadium in Sydney.
The revised call of "crouch, bind, set" was on display in a high-profile match in Australia for the first time, and the set-piece threatened to become a shemozzle as only one of the first six scrums was completed. South African referee Craig Joubert dished out penalties for crooked scrum feeds and collapses, and he was heard to utter the word "perfect" on one of the rare early occasions when the packs completed a set-piece.
"The scrum was a bit of a lottery for both teams, so a bit of a mixed bag there," McKenzie said after New Zealand's 47-29 victory in his first match in charge of Australia, noting that Wallabies halfback Will Genia was penalised for a crooked feed into the first scrum but New Zealand scrum-half Aaron Smith appeared to get away with the same offence just seconds later.
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Hansen initially took a tongue-in-cheek approach to the issue, saying: "I thought the scrums were great ... we've just created another wee issue, haven't we. Once we get that sorted out and the halfbacks put the ball in straight, we'll be fine.
"Obviously, at the moment, they are being very, very vigilant on it.
"You had two sets of halfbacks out there who, every time there was a scrum, were very reluctant to put the ball in because they didn't want to be yellow-carded. But I think it's like anything: we said there would be some teething problems, but the great thing about it, I thought, was we didn't have too many collapses so, once we iron out the whole thing and get used to it, I think it will be great for the game."
Wallabies captain and lock James Horwill said players and referees alike had to adjust to the law change. "They are obviously going to be pretty strict on the feed and they've made that pretty clear so we will learn from that."
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