West happy with Saints’ handling of new scrum laws

Saints forwards coach Dorian West believes the new scrum laws have had a positive effect on the game.

By Tom Vickers
Thursday, 19th September 2013, 2:42 pm
WORKING WELL - Dorian West has ensured Saints have got on top of the new scrum laws (picture by Linda Dawson)
WORKING WELL - Dorian West has ensured Saints have got on top of the new scrum laws (picture by Linda Dawson)

Scrums now have “crouch, bind, set” instructions, with front rows having to bind before engaging and packs cannot push until the referee is happy.

Referees are expected to insist the ball is put in straight and the hookers must hook the ball, something that had been reduced during the past 10 years.

But Saints have certainly not struggled with the new way of doing things, as they have not lost a scrum in either of their opening two Premiership games.

And West said: “We haven’t had too many problems with scrums so far. You want the ref to be on top of things like feeding and bit and bobs that are happening with props.

“I think there’s an opportunity now for referees to take the pressure off themselves by actually managing when things happen in the scrums so they’re happy at all times.

“On the whole, I think it’s gone pretty well so far. I think it’s been positive.”

The pack’s success has propelled Saints to two wins from as many games, beating Exeter 38-11 at Franklin’s Gardens before claiming a 13-6 victory at Harlequins on Friday.

And tighthead prop Tom Mercey, who was handed a start in both matches, feels West’s work behind the scenes has been a key factor.

“With the new rules coming in, Dorian West has been clever with the guys he’s brought in and we’ve got a really good pack,” said Mercey.

“We’ve performed well with the new rule change, the new guys have been fantastic and everyone’s bought into the systems we’re using.

“It’s just subtle changes and a lot of it is understanding the referee you’ve got at the weekend. Like anything, we’re learning the changes, they’re learning the changes.

“It’s been good so far. We’ve been training certain things and it’s been refreshing to have a different angle, a different take on stuff.”