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BATH RUGBY: New scrum laws need time to pack down, says Webber
2:00pm Friday 13th September 2013 in Sport
HIS potential opposite number tomorrow may harbour serious doubts, but Bath hooker Rob Webber believes rugby’s new scrummaging laws can prove a positive development in the game.
Leicester’s Tom Youngs, the England and British Lions hooker, was among those to express misgivings about the new rules, which have removed the hit from the initial engagement phase of the set-piece.
But Webber, who hopes to challenge Youngs for his national shirt, reckons it is too early to tell the full implications of the changes.
“I think there have been less re-sets and if that’s the goal that the administrators are after I think it’s probably working. It’s too early to say negatively or positively after just one game,’’ said the 27-year-old, who was part of the side that beat Newcastle 21-0 in the Aviva Premiership opener last weekend.
“We need to let it pan out a bit more and see how it goes. It’s certainly not made the scrums any easier, there is a lot of pressure and you are down for a long time before the ball comes in.
“You do have to do a lot of work after the ‘engage’ phase and there is a lot of static strength needed as opposed to speed and collision.
“The rules do change and you do have to adapt. In the time I’ve been playing we’ve had ELVs, breakdown laws and that’s the way it goes. It’s a spectator sport and if not having scrum resets helps that, it’s a good thing.
“We had to look at the scrum in more detail and earlier in pre-season than we perhaps would have.
“We had to look a bit more at hooking the ball and scrum-halves had to change the habit of a lifetime and put the ball down the middle.
“There are different aspects of the scrum that are now a challenge that perhaps weren’t, but I think fundamentally, if the scrum is still rewarded for dominance, that’s a good thing.’’
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