Mauls a big con­cern for Dob­son

Cape Times - - SPORT - Wynona Louw

AHEAD of their Cur­rie Cup match against the Pu­mas at Mbombela Sta­dium to­day, Western Prov­ince coach John Dob­son says that he isn’t too wor­ried about the hosts’ scrum – it’s the of­fi­ci­at­ing at the maul that he’s con­cerned about.

At the team an­nounce­ment at New­lands Sta­dium on Wed­nes­day, Dob­son ex­plained that his de­ci­sion to name two props on the bench has lit­tle to do with the Pu­mas’ scrum, but that it’s more about bring­ing “fresh legs” into the game that will be played at high al­ti­tude.

Dob­son named loose­head Alis­tair Ver­maak and swinger Caylib Oosthuizen on the bench to pro­vide that sec­ond­half oomph.

“I am not too wor­ried about the Pu­mas’ scrum­mag­ing,” Dob­son said.

“It’s at al­ti­tude, and we just want to ac­com­mo­date JC Janse van Rens­burg and Ali Ver­maak. I know Michael Kumbi­rai is strong enough, but to ask him to play at tight­head for 80 min­utes at al­ti­tude is a lot to ask.

“So the two props is more about a plan to bring on fresh legs later in the game,”

And as clear as Dob­son made his rea­son­ing be­hind se­lect­ing two props on the bench in a 22-man team, so did he voice his con­cern about the maul and the of­fi­ci­at­ing thereof.

“We need to get the maul­ing ad­ju­di­ca­tion right, be­cause the fo­cus seems to be on de­fen­sive teams.

“Now you’re see­ing all sorts of shift drives that a year ago would have been pe­nalised. We saw the Sharks penalty try against us, and to be fair to the ref he put up his hand, you can’t com­plain about that.

“But if we want to keep maul­ing in South African rugby, you need to blow de­fence and at­tack pretty much equally. Be­cause at the mo­ment we just seem to be blow­ing the de­fence.” Apart from the of­fi­ci­at­ing, WP need no re­mind­ing of the Pu­mas’ abil­i­ties when it comes to the maul, and cap­tain Chris van Zyl ac­knowl­edged that it’s cer­tainly one of the Pu­mas’ strengths.

“We’ve looked at their maul­ing, they run a suf­fi­cient maul, so that’s been one of our fo­cuses to make sure that we pre­pare ac­cord­ingly,” Van Zyl said.

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