Tahs scrum needs to keep turning

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

A win over the Cheetahs was a turning point for the Waratahs scrum, but prop Tom Robertson says they need to keep improving.

The Waratahs took the honours against the Cheetahs at scrum time last weekend and Robertson said hopefully it began to shift the perception of the NSW scrum, which has come under fire this year.

“I think maybe on the weekend that might’ve been the turning point because that was the first time where those 50-50 calls started going our way and in the past that definitely hasn’t been happening,” he said.

While it’s a handy dose of confidence for the Waratahs to have against an ‘enormous’ Bulls pack, stacked with Springboks, Robertson said they’d be taking it with a grain of salt.

“I’ve had a look at the Bulls and they're enormous, they’re pretty physical and big up front,” he said.

“It’s really good timing from what we did on the weekend but obviously means nothing because it’s a new team.

“If you're getting to the end of the game you’re getting pretty tired and they (cheetahs) come with a fresh 120kg each front row so it makes it hard to judge against what you did at the start of the game.

“It’s not an excuse that we were tired but it’s  definitely going to be another challenge for us especially if our starters have to play deep into the match for sure.”

Will Skelton is set to be back this weekend. Photo: ARU Media/Stu WalmsleyWaratahs utility forward Dean Mumm put the improvements down to an extra focus in training.

“If you accept a couple of dropped balls on the training paddock there they’re going to flow through to the game.

“If you accept dropped scrums, your engagements aren’t as strong or as positive as they should be in the scrummaging sense, then it’s going to happen in a game.

“There’s a number of examples I think if we look back across several areas where we could have improved.

“We have addressed some of them and we're still going to address others and that is the key to better performances.”

The lineout may yet prove the decisive part of the game and Mumm said it was one to which they would be turning plenty of focus.

“It has to be,” he said.

“They're a great team and very strong maul and they maul a lot, it’s really their  choice of play when it comes from lineout rather than off the top so we’re very much aware and working to make sure we do everything to limit that.”

The club has received positive injury news as they prepare to face a physical Bulls side, with lock Will Skelton (shoulder) likely to play.

Jed Holloway is set to miss a second match, with a dislocated shoulder, but the Waratahs are hoping he will only miss the next two matches, though that could mean he’s not available until after the June Test window.