Frans Malherbe. (Photo by Shaun Roy/Gallo Images)
- Western Province prop Frans Malherbe says the team cannot rely solely on their powerful scrum.
- The Capetonians have dominated opponents at scrum time but their game is lagging in other departments.
- Malherbe says they’re “trying to get the balance and complete package right”.
Western Province prop Frans Malherbe has stressed that they cannot rely solely on their powerful scrum going forward in the Currie Cup.
It’s been an inconsistent season for John Dobson’s charges, who slipped down to third on the Currie Cup standings after a 22-20 home loss to the Bulls over the weekend.
It was their third defeat in seven games since rugby resumed after the coronavirus-enforced break and it’s obvious they’re not hitting their straps in all departments.
One area where they continue to dominate though is at scrum time, where Malherbe and fellow Springbok front rankers Steven Kitshoff, Bongi Mbonambi and Scarra Ntubeni have wreaked havoc on opponents.
But as WP prepare for a battle against the Lions at Ellis Park this weekend, Malherbe has warned they can’t continue to just rely on a powerful scrum.
“I don’t think any team can rely just on their scrumming. We’re trying to put a complete game together… good set-pieces, which scrumming obviously forms part of… [but] we’re trying to get the balance and complete package right. We want to do well in all facets,” the Bok tighthead told reporters in a virtual media briefing on Tuesday.
However, with wet weather expected in Johannesburg this weekend, Malherbe noted there could be more scrums as a result.
“When we have a scrum and we have the opportunity to dominate then we’ll go for it, but it’s definitely not the only thing we want to dominate in, we can’t just rely on that.”
He warned that the Lions pack cannot be underestimated.
“You have to have a lot of respect for the Lions scrum… they’ve earned a lot of respect over the past few years. You’ll definitely be in trouble if you underestimate them. It will be a big challenge for us this weekend and we’ll work hard in the week to prepare as well as possible.”
Malherbe added that scrum dominance was also not just about the front rankers, as he heaped praise on the other members of the WP pack.
“In my opinion scrum dominance is about the whole pack combining, especially the back five (locks and loose forwards)… their binding and how they commit to each scrum… they really have to get a lot of credit. Those guys really brought a lot of pressure this weekend and it makes us (front rankers) look good and it makes our job easier. It was a solid scrumming performance (against the Bulls) but it’s a pity we didn’t get the result.”
Looking back at the Bulls defeat, Malherbe said they learned valuable lessons.
“I think the pack did relatively well in the set-pieces. We performed well in the scrums, we did quite well stopping their mauls but it was just our decision making at certain areas could have been better… we made the wrong options but I think we’ll be better for it, we’re growing as a team and I think if we made better decisions in certain areas, and make better decisions in future, then things will improve.”
Head coach Dobson will name his WP team on Wednesday, with Saturday’s clash at Ellis Park scheduled for 19:00.