Lack of front-rowers causing problems

Star and Woodlands play out a contested scrum at Woodlands in a game earlier this month. PHOTO:...
Star and Woodlands play out a contested scrum at Woodlands in a game earlier this month. PHOTO: DEBBIE FAHEY
Front-rowers are again gold in 2021.

Two of last week’s three premier grade games were partly played with uncontested scrum laws due to the unavailability of quality props.

Unbeaten sides Marist and Pirates Old Boys, which face each other at Surrey Park tomorrow, were the two culprits and both came away with wins.

Marist tipped over Woodlands 27-22 and Old Boys beat Star 18-14.

Two of the province’s better scrummagers in Shaun Stoddart and Rueben Northover were unavailable for Marist last week and the club had just two premier-grade props to start the game. When Tangaroa Walker was taken to hospital with an ankle injury after 10 minutes, the scrums went uncontested.

Marist coach Marty Smith said it was one of the better wins in which he had been involved.

“We had four or five Stags players missing and four or five players making their debuts. The boys overcame some adversity and stood up for each other.

"It was a satisfying performance and it will set us up well for the season,” he said.

Other good news for Marist and Southland was having hooker Flynn Thomas make a successful comeback from injury in the last 30 minutes.

Pirates Old Boys beat Star while having four front-rowers unavailable for various reasons. The Hawks called on two players from the club’s B team to form a makeshift front row but, as injuries took their toll, the scrums went uncontested with 25 minutes remaining.

Star’s front row is well resourced but the team is lacking depth, especially in the backline.

Star was set to play its round three game against Midlands at Limehills last night. Both sides were looking for their first win of the season.

In the third game, Blues plays the Eastern Northern Barbarians tomorrow.

 - John Langford

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