Brumbies props bury South Africa opponents
April 2, 2013
Rookie prop Scott Sio has held strong in his baptism of fire against three South African teams © Getty Images
It's become a generally accepted rule amongst rugby aficionados that Australian scrums don't dominate their South African oppositions. But young Brumbies props Scott Sio and Dan Palmer are doing their bit to put that notion to bed and end the long-term suffering for Australian purists.
Sio, 21, has had a baptism of fire into Super Rugby, with his first three run-on matches being against South African heavyweights the Sharks, Stormers and Bulls.
Far be it from being a chink in the Brumbies' armour though, Sio was monumental in the win against the Sharks in Durban a fortnight ago and man-of-the-match in the Brumbies' 23-20 buzzer beating win over the Bulls in Canberra last Saturday night.
"There's not a lot of guys who get this opportunity that we do," the former Trinity Grammar rugby captain and school vice-captain said. "So when you get times like the last three weeks you've got to make it work for yourself."
While Sio's contribution to the Brumbies' scrum has been enormous, both he and forwards coach Laurie Fisher credit the scrum's leader and tighthead prop Palmer, 24, as the main driver behind its improvement in 2013.
"(Palmer) takes care of the technical side of the scrummaging, really breaks it down from not just the front row, but also the second row and the back row," Sio said. "That's why you're starting to see a few more results from us."
One of the results Sio is referring to was the match winning dismantling of the Bulls scrum on Saturday night. After 63 minutes of scrummaging infringements by the Bulls, referee Jonathon White had seen enough and flashed loosehead prop Morne Mellett a yellow card after buckling opposite Wallabies stalwart Ben Alexander - who was fresh off the bench.
Unfinished, the Brumbies continued to inflict scrummaging pain upon the visitors, earning an all important penalty goal eight minutes later - it would prove to be the difference between the two sides.
Fisher says the Brumbies now find themselves with the luxury of having four props who have proven themselves at elite level, including the Irish born Ruaidhri Murphy.
"So there's a lot of pressure and I think that's great for Scotty, that he gets three goes. But it's not game over," Fisher said. "He knows himself he's got a lot to go scrummaging wise but he's got a lot of strings to his bow. He carries the ball well, he tackles well and contests the breakdown. So he's got skills across the board."