Adam Jones On The Southern Hemisphere’s Interpretation Of The Scrum & The All Blacks

Adam Jones knows a thing or two about scrummaging.

The former Lions and Wales prop packed down at tighthead the last time the Lions were on tour in 2013, and more than held his own. Jones was one of the standout performers on that tour, with his work in stabilising the set-piece playing a pivotal role in the series win over Australia.

Much has been said about the Lions’ scrum this time round, specifically how it’s interpreted. The north and south seem to have two completely different ways at looking at it, as we saw in contrast with the Crusaders and Highlanders games.

Jones however says the Lions need to just ‘crack on’ and get on with it. Referees will always have their own interpretations at the scrum…

“The main word to keep in mind when discussing how the British & Irish Lions scrum is being officiated in New Zealand is ‘interpretation’. Jones told ESPN
“It is all about interpretation. Everything is different when you are being refereed by a Southern rather than a Northern Hemisphere ref, so we can’t whinge about it too much — we have just got to crack on.
“Much has been made of what Marius Jonker, the television match official (TMO), said to referee Angus Gardner when Dan Cole came on against the Highlanders, but what people don’t see is that the officials do a lot of homework on you.
“Referees will look at each prop to see how he’s been going in the last couple of games, how he’s been scrummaging and whatnot.
“Gardner will have done that too, so I think he’d have a pretty good idea about how the Lions have been scrummaging and how Cole, in particular, has a reputation for testing the laws with his bind.”

When it comes to facing the All Blacks and taking on their scrum, Jones reckons the Lions will need to scrummage well on their own ball and try and milk a few penalties. On New Zealand ball, he reckons they will want the ball out quickly.

“Against the All Blacks, the Lions will face the loosehead Joe Moody. He’s a big, strong fella and there are a few clips I’ve seen where there’s a bit of angling in.” Jones says
“But that’s one of those things, as a tighthead you’ve got to have enough in your armoury to counteract that, and again Rowntree will work out a plan to deal with it – there are ways and means.
“On their own ball, New Zealand will want it in and out quickly so the chance to attack is minimal. It’ll be a case of scrummaging well on our own ball in order to milk penalties to get field position or points on the board. 
“The Lions have got to be smart and conserve their energy because that is when the All Blacks will come heavy at them, on our ball.”

When it comes to the first Test, Jones is fully confident the Lions will be firing on all cylinders.

“We’ve got a good bunch of props and a fantastic scrum coach in Graham Rowntree out there, so I think by the time we face the Maori All Blacks on Saturday, and get into Test time, it will be a different kettle of fish. 
“One thing that’s certain is they’ll be prepared. The squad will have a pretty big dossier on referees, what they like, what they don’t like, what they give penalties for in the scrum, how many scrum penalties they’ve ever given, stuff like that.
“The Lions coaches and analysts will know the referees better than they know themselves.”

Adam Jones was speaking to ESPN.

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Jason Hennessy

Jason is the editor at RugbyLAD. Any queries big or small you can reach him at [email protected]

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