And while we are at it...
Referees really ought to note the history of the Aussie scrum. Though much improved under Mario Ledesma, it still dropped four times in a row against Argentina recently when James Slipper was shown the yellow card for repeated infringements.
It still illegally drives on engagement, advancing a crucial foot over the mark, effectively front-loading the Aussie drive. Scott Sio still uses the underarm bind to drop the scrum and Sekope Kepu also bores in at an angle.
These scrum illegalities, which all packs – including England’s – indulge in, might cost three points, but what Australia do with their driving mauls is equally illegal and it rewards them with tries and many more points than any number of scrum infringements.
The series of pictures on the right follow Australian driving mauls from line-out balls caught close to the Fijian line in their pool game. They scored 14 points from these illegalities; two out of their three tries against Fiji when they just fell short of getting a try bonus point.
1 This picture shows the drive for David Pocock’s first try. You can see the initial point of contact, which is where the Aussie lock is stood upright. From there the Aussies have moved it back several players and have formed a tail on the maul, which prevents any Fijian player getting anywhere near the ball.
If the ball was driven from the initial contact or just one player further back a Fijian forward would at least have a chance to contest the ball. They cannot do so because there are now at least two Australian forwards obstructing them in front of Pocock.
The next series of three pictures shows exactly how Australia illegally drive their mauls from line-outs and the way they scored their second try is even more nefarious.
2 You can see in this one that Pocock, who is the player with
the ball and partially obscured, has taken it off the catcher, who is the player stood erect and partially in shot. That is the initial point of contact.
the next photo shows Pocock has actually stepped backwards, allowing other Australian forwards to illegally bind in front of him. Note the Aussie No 1, who was actually bound behind Pocock in the picture above is now in front of Pocock (far right) and Stephen Moore, the Aussie captain has also inserted himself in front of Pocock.
maul develops which clearly shows the Aussie forwards again driving one behind the other, elongating the maul and preventing any Fijian forward contesting the ball. Also note in pictures three and four, first Moore and then Pocock himself are merely hanging on to the shorts of the player in front of them. This is a breach of Law 17,2 (c) which clearly states that putting your hand on another forward does not constitute proper binding.