Rugby's new laws may have spawned a new era of backplay but, as the All Blacks showed during Saturday's 36-12 second Test victory over Scotland, powerful scrummaging remains a vitally important part of the game.
In miserably wet conditions at Eden Park, Auckland, New Zea- land - with little option but to play a tight game - out-scrummaged the Scots to the extent that four of the New Zealand scores directly resulted from this area of the game. "The scrum is a potent attacking weapon," said the All Blacks skipper, Sean Fitzpatrick. "We wanted to take ownership of each scrum."
Scotland's front row, in which the Edinburgh Academicals youngster Barry Stewart was making his Test debut, was subjected mercilessly to tactics verging on the dangerous as Craig Dowd and Olo Brown applied their strength to either lift or force down their opponents. "The scrum is a problem for us," admitted the Scottish coach, Richie Dixon. "Full marks, though, to the guys on tour. They scrummaged as well as they possibly could. But obviously we will have to look at the further development of these players, particularly the front row."
The Scotland manager, Jim Tel- fer, added: "We will try to make the most of the new laws."
A penalty try early in the game and then tries by the No 8, Zinzan Brooke, and the flankers Josh Kronfeld and Michael Jones, all from scrums close to the Scotland line, were testament to the power of the All Black forwards. The scores also illustrated how difficult it is to defend against scrums close to the line under the new laws, which require the defending back- row to stay bound.
Scotland, if well beaten in the set scrums, had the upper hand at the line-out, and in loose play they looked hungrier. For their share of possession, they could score only two tries, the first by the full-back, Rowen Shepherd, from his own kick ahead, and the second by the No 8, Eric Peters, from a tap penalty.
Scotland left Auckland today bound for Edinburgh, absorbing the lessons of a hard tour but satisfied they will at least have a headstart in playing the new laws.
New Zealand: Tries Kronfeld 2, Z Brooke, M Jones, penalty try. Conversions Mehrtens 4. Penalties Mehrtens 1. Scotland: Tries: Shepherd, Peters. Conversions Shepherd 1.
NEW ZEALAND: C Cullen (Manawatu); J Wilson (Otago), F Bunce (North Harbour), W Little (North Harbour), E Rush (North Harbour); A Mehrtens (Canterbury), J Marshall (Canterbury); C Dowd (Auckland), S Fitzpatrick (Auckland, capt), O Brown (Auckland), I Jones (North Harbour), R Brooke (Auckland), J Kronfeld (Otago), Z Brooke (Auckland), M Jones (Auckland). Replacement: A Cashmore (Auckland) for Wilson, 62.
SCOTLAND: R Shepherd (Melrose); A Stanger (Hawick), S Hastings (Watsonians), I Jardine (Stirling County), K Logan (Stirling County); G Town- send (Northampton), G Armstrong (Newcastle); D Hilton (Bath), K McKenzie (Stirling County), B Stewart (Edinburgh Academicals), D Cronin (Bourges), G Weir (Newcastle), R Wainwright (Watsonians, capt), E Peters (Bath), I Smith (Gloucester). Replacement: D Stark (Borough- muir) for Jardine, 25.
Referee: W Erickson (Aus).Reuse content