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Edinburgh boss cries foul over Stormers scrum

By Warren Fortune
Mike Blair is not happy with how the scrums were reffereed by Frank Murphy /Getty

Edinburgh head coach Mike Blair revealed his frustrations with the referee Frank Murphy’s scrum decisions in his side’s 18-34 defeat to the Stormers in Cape Town on Saturday.

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Edinburgh entered the match with a powerful front row in the form of WP Nel, Stuart McInally and Pierre Schoeman and they had the Stormers under the pump in the scrums, especially in the first half.

However, Blair felt his team were not rewarded for their dominance in that area, which meant that they missed out on possible scoring opportunities at Cape Town Stadium.

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“I think we fronted up really well,” said Blair. “We were disappointed with our start against the Bulls last week and I thought we showed a huge amount of control and pressure in that first 30 minutes.

“I am surprised that they weren’t penalised more. We’ve got a dominant scrum. We are going forward; the scrum is going to the ground and the referee is saying play the ball away.

“That doesn’t happen. We were dominant and we should be rewarded for being dominant in that area.

“The Stormers were excellent in their defence and they put a huge amount of pressure on our attack and that was their pinch point.

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“Our pinch point was our scrum and I think it was managed a bit to get the game going when in fact we had a huge amount of dominance there, which should have resulted in more points and potentially yellow cards for illegal scrumming.”

While the scrums were a major talking point, Blair believes the Stormers won the game with their defence and their speed out wide.

“I thought the Stormers were excellent today,” said Blair.

“The opportunities they got they took them and they harassed us with their defence.

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“They got some incredible individuals, especially in the back row.

“If you give their centres and wings a sniff, they will take it and that is the beauty of their game.

“They got a strong defence and they are looking to get errors out of you and they force you to make that extra pass and they got speed and skill to make the most of it.

“That is what won them the game. Although, I do feel that had we been given our due reward for what we were doing in the scrum then we could have controlled the game a little bit better.

Meanwhile, Stormers head coach John Dobson admitted that his team fell short in the scrums on Saturday.

“It surprised us a little a bit. I thought we had more parity,” said Dobson.

“I thought we got beaten in the scrums earlier on but it’s an all-Scotland front row. It’s a really good scrumming front row.

“I was a bit disappointed with our performance. They had a really good tactic by isolating Neethling [Fouche] and they got away with it, which is great for them.

“However, it is not our standard of scrumming – we got caught on the double shove and that put us under pressure at the start.”

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