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'I don't think it'd be a smart thing': Hurricanes boss opposes uncontested scrums

By Alex McLeod
(Photo by Brett Hemmings/Getty Images)

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Hurricanes head coach Jason Holland has voiced his opposition to the prospect of uncontested scrums in Super Rugby Pacific this season.

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It was revealed earlier this week that both Rugby Australia [RA] chief executive Andy Marinos is considering making scrums uncontested as a safety precaution should Covid-19’s Omicron variant ravage the competition’s front row stocks.

New Zealand Rugby [NZR] general manager of professional rugby and performance Chris Lendrum added that while he hopes the contingency plan doesn’t come to fruition, it very much remains a back-up option if needed.

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Wallabies head coach Dave Rennie and Waratahs prop Harry Johnson-Holmes are among those who have expressed disdain about the concept, and now Holland has joined the chorus of opposition against the introduction of golden-oldie scrums.

Speaking to media on Friday, Holland said he was doubtful such a proposal would become reality as he questioned how “smart” of a decision it would be to make scrums uncontested.

“I don’t think it’d be a smart thing, but there’s a few things I would have been against before Covid hit that we have to be open-minded about. I don’t think that will be something that goes ahead,” he said.

If the contingency plan was to be implemented in Super Rugby Pacific, Holland indicated that he would be sympathetic towards his side’s front-rowers, who he said would effectively be out of jobs without competitive set-pieces.

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“It changes the game pretty massively, doesn’t it? You can imagine what the props might look like if you go to that. They might look like guys that normally have six or seven or 12 on their back,” he said.

“I can see that you’ve got to think around all these things around Covid and you’ve got to be open to all these ideas, but I think that would make for a pretty different game if we went down that road.”

Holland’s comments come after Rennie revealed on Tuesday that he hadn’t been consulted about the contingency plan, which he suggested would be detrimental to the development of Australia’s props.

“I haven’t been involved in any of those discussions, but you’d have a lot of excited props if they felt they didn’t have to push at scrum time and get around the field and make a difference. So, hopefully it doesn’t get to that stage.”

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