Hurricanes scrum a big 'work-on'
The Hurricanes admitted they will have to work on their scrumming, ahead of their trip to Newlands and an encounter with the Stormers on Friday.
From the very first scrum – when the Sharks' all-Springbok front row of Tendai Mtawarira, Bismarck and Jannie du Plessis marched them 10 metres back – the visitors were under the cosh in the set pieces.
With the assistance of some leeway by Australian referee Andrew Lees, the Hurricanes managed to frustrated the Sharks for the first hour.
However, the effect of their set-piece dominance paid off in the final quarter – as 14 unanswered points, including a string of penalties, saw the Sharks take the game away from the Hurricanes.
A slender 13-9 lead became a 27-9 victory.
While captain Conrad Smith was blunt in his assessment of the match, coach Mark Hammett looked for positives in a scrum performance that can only be described as 'shocking'.
"It was one of those games where you feel like you are playing some pretty good footy and you might even have the better of them, but if you can't set piece you aren't going to score points and that's how it turned out," Smith said.
"The set piece will be a big work-on.
"We prepared really well for this game, but like I said you have to do the first things right and we just let ourselves down there."
Hammett attempted to put a positive spin on the Hurricanes' scrummaging woes. However, he admitted that he has very little time to fix his team's scrum or they will leave Cape Town with another sour Super Rugby defeat.
While Hammett pointed to his team's set-piece performance in the final quarter – when the Boks were systematically being replaced by less experienced players – as a positive, he also knows there is work to be done.
"They were managing to hold us on the bind and then follow it through," the coach said.
"When we eventually managed to close the gap we started to go all right," he added.
"One of the frustrating things was in those last 20 minutes we actually started dominating their scrum, but didn't get the reward they did."
The Hurricanes will likely look to big loosehead prop John Schwalger and hooker Motu Matu'u to provide more stability at Newlands this week.
Source: Fairfax NZ News