June International Tours

Messy scrums and other stats



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We have week one of the match practices masquerading as Tests and deal with some statistics, including a look at troublesome scrums.

We have a look at the stats of two matches – Australia against Wales in the Sydney cliffhanger and South Africa against England in Bloemfontein.

After the match in Bloemfontein, John Smit, the Springboks captain and hooker, complained about England scrumming. It was not surprising as he had played in the Super 14 final when two strong packs went at each pother hammer and tongs and only one scrum needed to be reset.

In both these matches the scrums were messy.

In Sydney there were 22 scrums, 7 resets, 6 free kicks and 6 collapses.
In Bloemfontein, there were 21 scrums, 10 resets, 1 free kick, 1 penalty, 4 collapses.

These were only the obvious stoppages and do not include the messy scrums – moving before the time, wandering about the place, going up or down – where the ball was allowed to emerge as if in a desperate desire to get the match going. It also does not include the way Andy Gomarsall of England put the ball into the scrum to negate as far as possible the opposition’s power by quickening up proceedings.

From the whistle for the first scrum in Bloemfontein to the emergence of the ball for play, took 81 seconds. If each scrum had been like that 28 and a half minutes would have been spent trying to get the ball alive again after a knock-on or whatever.

There are two aspects to this sort of scrumming – the danger to the players from collapses and the frustration for players who want to get on with the game and all of the spectators.

These scrums are, of course, being set under the new four-word procedure, which may not have made a noticeable improvement in the functioning of scrums.

Penalties conceded

In this section we record the times a team was penalised.

* = points conceded

(I) Australia vs Wales

Total number of penalties: 15

Australia: 8
Wales: 7

The reasons for the penalties were as follows:


Tackle/ruck: 5 (??*, Sharpe, Gerrard, Shepherdon, Smith)
Off-side: 1 (Gerrard*)
Discipline: 2 (Waugh – obstruction; Shepherdson – obstruction)


Tackle/ruck: 4 (Gavin Thomas, Rees, Byrne* 2)
Off-side: 1 (Sidoli)
Discipline: 2 (Jonathan Thomas – obstruction; Owen – early tackle)

Australia missed a penalty kick at goal, Wales two.

(ii) South Africa vs England

Total number of penalties: 11

South Africa: 6
England: 5

The reasons for the penalties were as follows:

South Africa:

Tackle/ruck: 4 (Smit 2, Burger* 2)
Off-side: 1 (Van der Linde)
Discipline: 1 (Bakkies Botha – +10)


Tackle/Ruck: 3 (Jones*, Easter, Sanderson )
Off-side: 1 (Hazell*)
Scrum: 1 (Turner*)

England missed a penalty kick at goal.

Getting possession – line-outs, scrums, free-kicks, drop-outs, turn-overs

In this section the figures represent the number of times you get to play with the ball.

(I) Australia vs Wales


Line-outs: 14 (1 free kick)
Scrums: 11 (4 reset, 3 free kicks, 2 collapsed)
Free-kicks: 4 (3 scrums, 1 line-out)
Drop-outs: 2


Line-outs: 16 (2 lost, 1 quick, 1 skew, 2 free kicks)
Scrums: 11 (3 reset, 3 free kicks, 4 collapsed)
Free-kicks: 5 (3 scrums, 2 line-outs)
Drop-outs: 0

(ii) South Africa vs England

South Africa:

Line-outs: 11 (1 lost, 2 free kicks)
Scrums: 9 (4 reset, 1 collapse)
Free-kicks: 2 (line-outs)
Drop-outs: 2


Line-outs: 15 (2 lost, 1 quick)
Scrums: 12 (6 reset, 1 penalty, 1 free kick, 3 collapsed)
Free-kicks: 2 (1 scrum, 1 mark)
Drop-outs: 0

Stoppages (total of line-outs,

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