Simon Cron might be relatively new to the Western Force fold, but that didn’t stop him from laying down the law after a fundamental failure by a handful of his players.
The head coach, who joined at the start of this year’s Super Rugby Pacific season, offered some terse words having discovered the offenders had worn the wrong studs.
The Force fell to the Crusaders in their 11th round Super Rugby Pacific contest in Christchurch, 48-13, in a game where the scrum was a sore point for the Perth men.
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Cron identified some individuals in the back five of the forward pack were to blame.
“It was really evident that a couple of our guys last week were slipping from the first scrum,” Cron said.
“In Christchurch, the field was dewy and a bit soft on top, so if you put in 14s or 12s (mm studs) or even plastics in the front of your boots like we discovered one did, then you’re basically on ice stakes.
“It’s like pushing around with socks on a gym floor. About 62-65 per cent of your power at scrum time comes from your back five. So if they’re slipping, our front row are at a hiding [to nothing].
“I didn’t miss with my shots and bullets. The boys owned it, fixed it, it won’t happen again.”
Injured Force prop Tom Robertson was equally bemused by the failure.
“It was hard to watch when a lot of our back five were on ice skates,” said Robertson.
“It’s like going to the cricket without your bat. You’ve really got to have the right equipment.
“We’ve spoken about how that was unacceptable at this level, and I dare say they won’t let that happen again.”
The Force have endured an up-and-down 2023. With a little more than two thirds of the season complete, the Perth-based team sits second-to-last on the ladder.
Although they have as many wins as the Highlanders and Rebels – with three apiece – they lag on points difference.
A top eight berth isn’t out of the question, although starting that run to the finals with a win over the Fijian Drua is a must.
The Force have a hard end to their season with the Brumbies (second overall), Rebels (ninth), and the so far undefeated Chiefs (first) to come.
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