Friday, December 28, 2012

Retro Friday - Pumas Scrum dominates Wales in 1998

Omar Hasan Celebrates defeating France
in Marseille, 2004
The Argentine scrum today is one of the leading scrums in world rugby but has a reputation that is quite flattering. While the scrum is solid it is not able to dominate to the same extent as previously. The reputation exists due to the historical record of Argentina upfront. The players were never the heaviest but they had the technique with Pumas scrums able to barge others around which saw the opposition regaularly buckle under pressure and give away penalties and penalty tries. The reputation has lasted as the mainstream rugby press continues to speak highly of Argentina´s frontrow seemingly regardless of who is playing. In contemporary times the impact of the scrum is as important as ever as teams without a solid frontrow always have problems. Contemporary teams such as Japan and the USA have problems against Second Tier rivals, notably the Pacific Island nations of Fiji, Samoa and Tonga due in large part to this factor.

In 1998 Wales hosted Argentina for an end of year test at Stradey Park in Llanelli. The home side won the match but was well and truely taken to school by the South Americans in the scrums. The combination of Omar Hasan, Federico Mendez and Mauricio Reggiardo created three tries for Argentina as shown in the following video. The importance of the scrum is highly evident in the video with two of the three being scored by backs. The first saw the scrum push the Welsh back into their own in-goal and Agustín Pichot picked it up to score. The second saw the Welsh lose their own feed and history was made as Felipe Contepomi scored his first ever test try. The third saw Argentina awarded a penalty try.  

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