Scrummaging hookers, locks and back rowers
Scrummaging hookers, locks and back rowers
The props always get the credit and criticism when it comes to scrummaging, but surely the rest of the pack must play a role as well
the only players who I've remembered getting credit for scrummaging outside the props is Brad Thorn and Simon Shaw, and the only one getting criticised is James Gaskell as a weak scrummaging lock
Who are the best and worst scrummaging hookers, locks and back rowers in the world?
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06-05-12 05:04 PM
According to Victor Matfield the best scrumaging locks are Bakkies Botha and Patricio Albacete
This reminds me of the 2009 Lions tour.
If I remember correctly, much of the blame for Vickery's performance was heaped on AWJ, despite POC being behind him. I could very well be mistaken.
Paul Tito adds very little support in an already weak Blues scrum. For his faults, Deiniol Jones made the scrum slightly more secure. That being said, Scott Andrews and John Yapp severely negate this.
Hibbard is a good scrummaging hooker (or just very heavy and can't be moved). I am not sure about Huw Bennett, as he is always between Adam and Paul/Gethin.
I can't comment on back rowers, but the Welsh trio seem to do a good job locking in the back and remaining bound.
@Melhor. Victor was a great second row and ace in the lineout, but Bakkies really did the physical work for him, both for the Bulls and Boks. I cannot comment on Albacete, perhaps you could provide further input.
I liked Gerhard Mostert while he played for us. I have never been a hugh fan of Jannie, and Beast is a decent prop, but Mostert really helped our scrum I feel. I wish we had more consistency with our second rows now, as our scrum is a bit of an issue at times and it is difficult to pinpoint the problem.
Last edited by Draggs; 06-05-12 at 05:12 PM.
The Chiefs frontrow is quiet impressive, as is Brodie retallick and Messam
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It's difficult to say imo. It usually comes down to bulk, so the heaviest locks and back-rowers will provide more grunt and ballast in the scrum. Technique as well as bulk is important for hookers. Hibbard is probably the best scrummaging Welsh hooker, whilst Gareth Williams was possibly the worst, simply because he was so small. In the second-row, in Wales the likes of Ian Evans provide some good grunt. Charteris might be a little too tall to use his weight effectively, although the Welsh scrum didn't siffer with him there.
Regarding Draggs' comment about Alun-Wyn, I don't buy people's argument there. The Ospreys have one of the most dominant scrums in NH club rugby with Alun-Wyn at second row, and Wales have one of the strongest scrums in international rugby with him there. Vickery simply struggled with the Beasts technique, it sometimes happens.
As for back-rowers, I'm really not sure. Some no-8's aren't the best at lending their support in the scrum, instead stand at the back with their head up.
I agree Dullonien, Hibbard has his faults elsewhere, but he is a great scrummaging hooker
Originally Posted by dullonien
and alsoin the 2009 Lions tour, Lee Mears was hooker for the opening test alongside Vickery, and was subbed off alongside him and Jones and Rees came on and it improved significantly, I think Mears could be considered a weaker scrummaging hooker
Georgia have Jaba Bregvadze, who is very very light for a hooker (the lightest at the RWC), he is good around the pitch but he lessens the scrum power compared to Natriashvili (a former prop) when he plays there
Weight is one issue for hookers, but height can be even more of a problem.
I recall Gareth Williams playing in between Filise and Gethin Jenkins on a few occasions, and the scrum being very shaky.
There is nearly half a foot difference between the props and hooker, so how can one expect the hooker to have a proper grounding?
Jenkins is 6'2", Jones is 6'1"; assuming they are starting, Matthew Rees, Huw Bennett, Richard Hibbard (all 6'0") and Ken Owens (6'1") means there isn't much of a height difference and all members of the front row are able to contribute.
Great scummaging hooker Brian Moore
Worst Lee Mears......first Lions test
Last edited by Tallshort; 06-05-12 at 07:50 PM.
Best scrummaging Hooker is Servat. Props get the credit for a reason the rest of the pack provide extra weight and power much harder without them but props provide the technique to put it into use. I'd say Thorn is also the best scrummaging 2nd row.
Originally Posted by cmac95
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Agreed on Brad Thorn being the best scrummaging 2nd row. Every prop says it's like having another tight head pushing against you.
The pack definetly matter. Props rightly get most of the credit. They usually are the strongest scrummages, have to keep their back streight while being wedged between two very powerful weights and they have to have direct control over brinding keeping streight and the other technical areas like the loosehead getting underneath the tighthead. They certainly have the hardest job in a scrum. With that being said, a good scrummaging lock makes a world of difference to the props. Often at club levels, locks think they are there because they have to be, but ignore just how much of an impact they need to have.
Don't know about best as there are so many good ones (e.g. Carl Heyman in his prime before he got lured by money), but I know Al Baxter is a horrible one (at least made to look really horrible by most international sides).
Rory Best has a reputation as a very good scrummaging hooker, and certainly Ulster's front row is a lot steadier when he's there.
Louis Deacon is well lauded as a scrummaging lock, and I've heard people say Tom Croft puts a good shove in for a flanker
I've always thought Hartley was a pretty pants scrummaging hooker - he can't handle the pressure his own pack puts through the scrum and 9 times out of 10 stands up before the opposition.
Cymro The White
Servat is the one for me, he is a great hooker all round and his scrummaging is part of it.
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Servat and Hibbards names are both coming up, but they're the first two that spring to mind. I've always assumed that just having a lump behind (Thorn, Botha, O'Connell, Alcebcete, Gough, etc) helps, although I'd assume technique comes into it somewhere, surely. And on scrummaging Back Rowers, do we count No. 8s with good ball control, as that's a key part of the scrum? I reckon Ben Morgan's amongst the best in the business in both regards there, but don't quite feel qualified to comment.
But seriously- Brad Thorn's impact on the Leinster scrum is clear evidence for the contribution a second row can have in the tight. In relation to back rows it's far, far harder to gauge how much of an impact they make.
The weight still makes a significant contribution but unless the tight 5 can set up the right platform all the back row will do is pile weight into an already unstable scrum.
"You've got to get your first tackle in early, even if it's late."
This is probably due to a huge void after him, but Dan Vickerman made a helluva difference for the aussie scrum.
In France, Servat is definitely the best at hooker, Nallet is very good from second row, and other big boys such as Millo Chlusky, De Marco and Fakaté (Albacete of course, but he's not french).
As for backrowers, Chabal used to make a difference from N8.
I think Pascal Papé and Brad Thorn for the second row. Servat is a brilliant scrummaging hooker, Ireland had a few good ones but seem to be running on empty. It's hard to gauge the loose forwards as they are used more defensively now and especially to cover the halfback and flyhalf, I would just say the heaviest for loose forwards.
Actually O'Connell is seen as being weaker than O'Callaghan in the scrum, although he has changed his bind which is rumored to have helped greatly, a few seasons ago when POC was out and Mick O'Driscoil filled in people noticed that Munsters scrum improved.
Originally Posted by DuncTheDoodle
Likewise in spite of their great power and weight Wallace and Ferris (although not as often as he used too) often 'meerkat' at scrum time resulting in less pressure being put on the prop, although this was behind a savagely retreating Irish scrum.
Also while obviously not a world beater by any standard Michael Swift is a good scrummager for a lock, without being international standard.
Servat and Rory Best are also good scrummagers for hookers.
Tony Buckley in spite of his sheer power had god awful technique and was often minced at scrum time.
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