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Argentina's Perfect Scrum Posted 11 months ago

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Photo: The Rugby Site

As you would expect from international sides of the quality that Argentina and New Zealand are the initial ‘set up’ phase is fantastic, Both teams have strong binds on each other and are very square, the key points looking at the set up phase are the straight backs and keeping your head above your hips while still staying square to the opposition scrum. This is best highlighted by the powerful position of the near sided loose head Argentinian prop Marcos Ayerza.

The next phase of the scrum implements ‘the set’ and this is the most crucial engagement, winning the initial contact is imperative to winning the overall scrum. Instantly after Martín Landajo, The Argentine Half Back, feeds the ball the Pumas pack is all already on the front foot, this is one of the first and major factors to the success of this scrum, timing. This is something that has to be trained through repetition and when perfected means that the pack all push simultaneously which is the catalyst of having a successful scrum overall.

From this point it is almost impossible for the All Blacks to recover, as you can see most easily in Kieran Read, every push he attempts to make he is having to step back and literally give up ground to try and gain a foothold all because of the timing of Argentina’s initial push. On top of the timing the height of the Pumas pack is far superior to the All Blacks and seems to catch them somewhat off guard.

Third and final phase of the scrum being ‘the push’ and from the engagement phase, the Argentina front 3 are set below the All Blacks and continue to push up and through them meaning the All Blacks have to put extra energy into staying down and countering this force while also trying to push forward, this delegation of power means that they never have a chance to gain ground and at best have to settle on holding it. It is also at this point that the All Blacks begin to lose their shape, something which a scrum should never allow to happen, when a scrum loses shape it also loses power.

As we see from the video as soon as Argentina get on the front foot the All Blacks scrum disintegrates, this breakdown begins with the locks separating and loosening their binds, which all but takes them out of the scrum and in doing so also nullifies Kieran Read as he is forced to push through the two locks, it also forces the flankers on both sides to have to angle in, which is both inefficient and illegal, eventually the loss leaves the props powerless and forces them to pop up. In contrast the Argentinians shape is almost perfect, they hold their binds and use the aforementioned timing to blow the All Blacks away.

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