Super Rugby
Coaches responsible for scrum woes: Blackadder
Sam Bruce
February 27, 2015
Todd Blackadder (R) says it's time coaches were held accountable for scrum woes © Getty Images

Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder has come to the defence of Super Rugby's under-fire referees, saying coaches need to shoulder much of the responsibility for the ongoing problems at scrum time.

It has taken just two rounds for the key set-piece to become a focal point in Super Rugby, with countless resets wasting huge amounts of time and, in turn, driving spectators away from the game when it should be making the most of clean air.

Super Rugby Preview: Round 3

ESPN columnist and former All Blacks prop Craig Dowd launched a scathing attack on the referees this week, saying whistle-blowers were "ruining the game" because they were "only looking for someone to infringe".

Blackadder, whose Crusaders side will battle the Chiefs in the latest episode of New Zealand's finest modern-day rivalry in Hamilton on Saturday night, agreed scrums were "ruining" rugby but chose to take ownership of the problem and urged his coaching colleagues to address the issue for the good of the game.

"I think the referees are clear directors on what they're looking for," he said. "But if it has to get to a stage where the referees have got to do analysis on every single scrum to find out who's legal and who's illegal then it's putting a lot of pressure on them. I think we've got a responsibility to make sure we go in there and make it an even contest, rather than looking for ways to, illegally, try and get something over our opposition which is just ruining the game."

Ruck'n Maul: Reds right to stand Hunt down

Blackadder said the scrums had largely been a basket-case across his side's first two fixtures and revealed SANZAR game manager Lyndon Bray had issued an email saying referees would be clamping down on illegalities in round three.

"They've been quite the opposite … right across the board," Blackadder replied when asked whether the scrums had been more settled in 2015. "All the coaches got an email last week from Lyndon Bray. Certainly we saw it when we played the Highlanders; the scrum engagement and how these scrums are being coached right across the board. There's a lot of illegal set-up and binding; for example, like loose forwards binding on the back of props and on locks, and all this sort of stuff.

"So we've all got an email to clean it up and get our act together because there has been more resets than what there ever has been, and it's a blight on our game at the moment."

The Crusaders' opponents this week, the Chiefs, have struggled badly at scrum time as highlighted by Richard Kelly for ESPN. The Chiefs have achieved just a 76% success rate opposed to the Crusaders perfect 100% record but Blackadder was hesitant to suggest his side held any real edge, saying the Chiefs had always provided sound set-piece opposition.

"We feel that we go out there every week with a good honest scrum, and it's very much to do with our mindset as well," he said. "We back our scrum and we know that we've got a good set-piece, and we're spending a lot of time trying to hold up opposition's scrums. But knowing that we're playing the Chiefs this week I don't think that will be a problem, they've always fronted up set-piece-wise to us."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

Live Sports

Communication error please reload the page.