Sunday, March 11, 2012

Crusaders scrum a concern for Blackadder RICHARD KNOWLER 12/03/2012

Honesty is not always the best policy, says Todd Blackadder.
Having reviewed the way referee Garratt Williamson caned their scrum during last Friday night's defeat to the Chiefs, Crusaders coach Blackadder hinted his men may have to dig into their own goody bag of tricks to win their set-piece some respect.
In Napier the Chiefs cleverly eased back at the scrum engagement, especially in the opening spell, and when the Crusaders props went to ground or looked to steady by putting an arm on the deck they were penalised.
Loosehead prop Ben Franks, especially, looked mystified when singled out and Blackadder seemed none-the-wiser when he reviewed the footage.
Now he says it could be timely for his front rowers to learn some street smarts of their own.
"We just have to adapt to the referee and, at times, probably need to adjust and stop being so honest on certain occasions I would suggest," Blackadder noted.
"We are going to come up against scrums that aren't probably as strong as we are – and they are going to do everything they can to try and get an advantage."
Last year the Crusaders' scrum, which can call on three All Blacks props and a hooker over 80 minutes, was one of the competition's best but the Chiefs, Highlanders and Blues have all proved a handful this season.
While the departure of tighthead lock Brad Thorn was expected to have some impact on their set-piece, it was a shock to see the Crusaders scrum reverse so swiftly in Napier.
"At times I think we are guilty of just being too honest," Blackadder added. "We have got a really good front row, a good scrum that doesn't have any problems. But when you get penalised off the park you just scratch your head. You really do at times."

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