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
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.