Aussie pack is the one that is cheat­ing

Brian Moore of­fers a foren­sic de­fence of the English scrum – and takes a close look at how their ri­vals’ rolling maul op­er­ates

The Daily Telegraph - Rugby World Cup - - Sport: Rugby World Cup 2015 -

Iwas won­der­ing when the first Aus­tralian al­le­ga­tion of their op­po­nents’ il­le­gal­ity would come – and sure enough it ar­rived early this week from their for­mer coach Bob Dwyer. This sort of agenda-driven ‘anal­y­sis’ has been go­ing on ever since I first played Aus­tralia in 1987 and it is no co­in­ci­dence that it has arisen just be­fore Eng­land play them.

It will prob­a­bly ap­pear with a dif­fer­ent em­pha­sis when Wales play the Aussies in their fi­nal pool game next Satur­day.

Dwyer, who by the way I like im­mensely, has form for this sort of pro­pa­ganda. In 1989, he ac­cused the Bri­tish and Ir­ish Lions of be­ing the dirt­i­est team in the history of rugby, claim­ing that we had ac­tu­ally planned the first punch-up in the sec­ond Test to the ex­tent that ref­eree René Hour­quet was de­lib­er­ately held down while the fight en­sued.

And Dwyer was at it again when the Lions went to Aus­tralia in 2013, claim­ing the Lions scrum­maged il­le­gally by driv­ing the hooker up­wards. Strangely, he said this orig­i­nated from Eng­land’s hooker Dy­lan Hart­ley, who was not even on that tour.

He added “illegal block­ing on restarts” for good mea­sure, fin­ish­ing off with this forth­right salvo: “One com­ment I’d like to make af­ter hav­ing seen the Lions in ac­tion on tour is that it doesn’t come as any sur­prise they’re coached by a New Zealan­der be­cause they play out­side the laws of the game, as ev­ery New Zealand side does.”

Dwyer’s re­cent ire fo­cused on the al­leged il­le­gal­ity of Eng­land’s loose­head prop Joe Mar­ler and his an­gle of drive in the scrum. This prac­tice, he said, gave Eng­land the il­lu­sion of scrum­mag­ing legally while do­ing the op­po­site – and he urged tonight’s ref­eree, Ro­main Poite, to look at this care­fully when Eng­land play Aus­tralia.

It has been con­ve­niently sup­ported by ex­pert anal­y­sis on the Green and Gold web­site, which de­scribes it­self as be­ing “for pas­sion­ate fol­low­ers of Aus­tralian rugby”. The founder and editor, Matt Row­ley, calls him­self “Un­der-9s Scrum Doc­tor”, prob­a­bly right given his flawed anal­y­sis of Mar­ler’s scrum tech­nique.

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