Lions up for ‘lekker’ scrum battle against Ulster
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Lions assistant coach Julian Redelinghuys predicted a very challenging scrum battle when his side face Ulster on Friday.
On the back of a narrow 9-13 defeat to Glasgow Warriors, the Lions are preparing for another big task in the shape of Ulster at the Ravenhill Stadium.
It has been a very challenging tour for the Lions.
Since their opening win against Zebre, the Gauteng side has failed to record another win.
They have been poor in most aspects of the game.
However, they seem to get the ascendancy at scrum time.
Speaking to reporters during a virtual media briefing, Lions scrum coach Redelinghuys admitted there is still room for improvement as they head into the Round four match.
“The scrum has improved in the last couple of weeks,” Redelinghuys said, adding: “Having said that there is still room for continuous improvement.
“What these European teams do quite well is that even though they are under pressure they get the ball out very quickly.
“I showed the guys a video of the eight-man grabbing the ball from the prop’s legs even though they are going backwards,”
He added: “I had a look at Ulster’s game against Zebre and they scrum for seven minutes.
“They just kept going for scrums so it all depends on their strengths and how they back themselves in that specific facet.
“We had loads of South African oppositions [Bulls, Lions, Sharks] so it is nice to test yourself against different sides and test yourself against different individuals and different pack.
“We are looking forward to the challenge Ulster poses because that is the only way we are going to improve.
“It’s going to be lekker opposition to test ourselves against and I truly back our pack and the collective,”
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Scrums and 4G
Another factor South African teams had to deal with is Europe’s 4G synthetic pitches.
Last week Bulls coach Jake White revealed that the artificial surface played a role in Johan Goosen’s injury.
When asked how the pack had to adapt to the artificial pitch at scrum time, Lions prop Sti Sithole had no qualms with the surface.
“It’s not a big difference,” he said, adding: “I think the biggest difference is probably the load on your calves.
“I think you got to use slightly shorter studs because the studs do not dig in deep on an artificial pitch.
“But overall everything feels normal. We stick to our processes as normal and we scrum as normal no matter what surface.
“Having said that I do prefer natural grass.”
The Lions will face Ulster on Friday before heading home for three weeks.