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'We'd a good catch-up with World Rugby on Monday'

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Glyn Kirk/AFP via Getty Images)

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England scrum coach Matt Proudfoot is hoping his pack can get into its groove at the set-piece quicker than has been the case so far in the 2022 Guinness Six Nations. Eddie Jones’ side take on Ireland this Saturday at Twickenham in round four of the championship and they will be looking to paint the better pictures for referee Mathieu Raynal at the scrum.

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It was twelve months ago when the French official was last in charge of an England game and that outing against Ireland didn’t pass off smoothly as the English were hammered 32-18 and conceded three penalties to nil at the scrum.   

Their eight matches since then have been refereed by officials from Ireland (twice), Wales (twice), South Africa (twice), as well as having New Zealander Ben O’Keeffe in charge of this year’s opener away to Scotland and then having Scottish official Mike Adamson take charge of England’s last outing, the round three win over Wales on February 26.

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Back in the Game – RFU
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Back in the Game – RFU

England conceded three penalties to two by Wales at the scrum in that game and they go into their latest match as the most penalised scrum in this year’s tournament, conceding seven penalties in total to the next-worst Wales and Scotland who have each conceded five penalties. Ireland are the joint-best in this category, conceding just three scrum penalties which is the same as unbeaten France.     

Asked by RugbyPass on Friday what were his takeaways when Raynal last refereed England in that Ireland match twelve months ago and how the English scrum has been going so far in the 2022 championship, Proudfoot said: “A lot of learning for us about how to adapt and how quickly to adapt. 

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“The Six Nations have worked really well with Monday evening catch-ups with the coaches and referees so we have got a great understanding of how referees are looking to adjudicate the scrum. Every week it is how quickly you adapt to the referee. Every referee has a calling card with particular big penalties that he looks for at scrum time of what he wants, so it is how quickly you adapt to that. 

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“If I look at the games, we have maybe taken a bit of time to adapt but we have adapted and got on the front foot late in the game, so we are hoping we will be really sharp the first couple of scrums and be able to build from that. 

“We had a good catch-up with World Rugby on Monday and they have given us great leadership and we are really happy with where we are and it is just a great Test match. The key is about two packs that are going to be well prepared to go at each other, that is the whole context of the game is about.”

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