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Saturday August 24, 2013 MYT 10:52:01 PM
Saturday August 24, 2013 MYT 10:52:40 PM
by greg stutchbury
WELLINGTON (Reuters) - Ewen McKenzie won a World Cup as part of a formidable front row that included Tony Daly and Phil Kearns yet he is mystified as to what is happening in the scrums as teams grapple with new laws in this year's Rugby Championship.
The International Rugby Board has introduced a new engagement procedure that is aimed at lessening the initial impact, reducing the number of collapses and resets, and allowing for technically better packs to benefit.
The Wallabies have long had issues with the scrum, particularly against sides that concentrate on the technical side of the dark art, and were twice shunted off the ball in their 27-16 Rugby Championship loss to the All Blacks on Saturday.
McKenzie, who was capped 51 times for the Wallabies and was considered one of the best tighthead props in the world at the time, is unsure if the referees know what it is they are looking for.
"It's a bit of a lottery there," the dejected-looking Wallabies coach told reporters after the match at Wellington Regional Stadium.
"I used to play in the front row (and) ... I used to be able to work out what was a penalty but now I have no idea.
"I guess we'll work it out eventually, but I'm lost."
McKenzie said the All Blacks had performed well in the scrum, particularly in the second half, but he felt some calls by referee Jaco Peyper had not been consistent.
He pointed to one scrum when Sekope Kepu was penalised for angling in rather than staying square to his opponent, when the three previous scrums had been conducted in the same way.
"There were penalties there going either way," McKenzie said. "I think Kepu got penalised for going in on the angle whereas there had been three (earlier) resets (for the same thing).
"So I don't understand and I can't work it out. It's a completely different beast now."
(Editing by Stephen Wood)
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