Thorn annoyed Reds scrum already under the microscope

Super Rugby
by Emma Greenwood

Reds coach Brad Thorn says his side's highly vaunted scrum is already coming under the microscope, with referees zeroing in on the heavyweight pack in the narrow loss to the Highlanders.

The Reds lost a thriller in their season-opener in Dunedin and while pleased with the effort, Thorn and his men were bitterly disappointed with the result.

Queensland has one of the most dominant packs in the competition but that brings great scrutiny and Thorn felt referee Federico Anselmi placed undue attention on his forwards.

Thorn doesn't mind the attention as long as it flows both ways.

And you can tell the scrutiny rankled the former All Black.

As a Crusader, Thorn and his fellow forwards were under the microscope with match officials when their scrum was considered the best in the competition.

And he feels that's happening to the Reds now.

"I saw in the first stage of the game our scrum was getting talked to only, by the referee," Thorn said.

"We've been a dominant scrum last year.

"I remember at the Crusaders when we were probably the dominant scrum in the comp, the referee was often only interested in us.

"It was something that was frustrating (then) and I felt that was frustrating again (on Friday)."

Front-rowers Feao Fotuaika, Taniela Tupou and Brandon Paenga-Amosa all earnt Anselmi's ire at times.

"They were looking at all three," Thorn said.

"He was in there touching shoulders and doing all sorts of stuff."

But his bullocking pack has put plenty of hard work into finetuning their scrummaging and Thorn is not going to be meek about the issue.

"If you want to know about the pack, the two front rowers are 130 and 135 kilos, the hooker's 112, the two locks are 120kg each.

"You've got to coach that love of the scrum.

"We put effort into it and we're there to compete.

"I don't mind the referees critiquing stuff, you want that with both sides."

The Reds headed into the Highlanders clash as massive underdogs and while they went close to an upset, Thorn won't accept pleasantries about their "good effort".

"We had the edge there at the end but it's about putting the foot on the throat and we missed that opportunity," he said.

"We'll continue to work to get that ruthlessness as a team."

The Reds face a massive battle against the Crusaders in their first home game at Suncorp Stadium next Saturday.

"They're last year's champions and they're very experienced," Thorn said.

"They're quite a mature team.

"It'll be a big scrum battle with the Crusaders.

"I feel like we've been growing with our scrummaging and the Crusaders have got one of the best scrums in the comp."

The Reds take on the Crusaders on Saturday March 2 at Suncorp Stadium, kicking off at 6:45pm local, 7:45pm AEDT, LIVE on FOX SPORTS, Kayo and via RADIO. Buy tickets here.