“I don’t think our physicality in terms of the set-piece was where we needed it to be”
TAFEL Lager Griquas head coach Scott Mathie has lamented his side’s poor set-piece performance in their 22-17 defeat to the Phakisa Pumas.
Griquas produced an erratic display in their Carling Currie Cup clash at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on Friday night, while the hosts built their victory on a powerful showing in the scrums.
“Very disappointing,” said Mathie of his team’s performance. “You have got to win the set-piece battle.”
“From the start our scrums were under immense pressure and in the lineouts we did not get the balls we wanted.
“Obviously the set-piece part of the game is massive … and you cannot afford not to control that part of the game if you want to win, so that really put us on the back foot”
While Mathie praised Griquas’ defence, he pointed out that other areas of their game had been erratic.
“On defence I thought we were pretty sound, as they didn’t threaten us too much. Our kick-offs didn’t work too well – which had worked pretty well for the last two weeks – but we let it slip again. We will revisit this during the coming weeks and make sure we get that right.
“The discipline has been an issue and it does not help giving away penalties at scrum time – that is another area we will have to rectify and get tighter so as not to give away so many penalties.
“In the second half we were a little bit better, but I don’t think our physicality in terms of the set-piece was where we need it to be – although we were abrasive enough for this game. You can’t afford to be slightly off edge, especially against the Pumas”.
The Pumas stamped their authority on the match from the outset on Friday night, with a dominant scrum and entertaining phases of play on attack to take a 15-7 half-time lead. The second half was a more tightly contested affair, with Griquas showing their fighting spirit.
In the end, it was a penalty try awarded to the Pumas halfway through the first half that proved to be the difference – as each team crossed the tryline twice.
Conceding a penalty try from poor scrummaging appears to have become a bit of a “habit”, with the psychological effect of being pushed back so easily putting extreme pressure on the forwards.
Captain Zak Burger is an excellent scrumhalf, however, getting the ball on the back foot does not suit his style of play, while the inability to kick successfully for touch twice when on attack was disappointing.
There appears to be a lack of cohesion and the players are performing in fits and starts.
Eduan Keyter played very well, scoring two tries, while Burger tried his best under the circumstances, but far too many lineouts were lost and there were far too many basic errors.
Burger noted in his post-match interview that Griquas need to put in an 80-minute performance.
“A game is 80 minutes and the Pumas took an early 10-nil lead. Well done to them as they put us under pressure from the start. However, we saw towards the end how we can really play, but we have to put in a full 80-minute performance … but presently that is not happening”
PUMAS – Tries: penalty try, Luther Obi, Daniel Maartens; Conversion: Ginter Smuts; Penalty: Smuts.
GRIQUAS – Tries: Eduan Keyter (2); Conversions: Tinus de Beer (2); Penalty: De Beer.
Results from the two Carling Currie Cup fixtures played on Saturday: Blue Bulls 40 Toyota Cheetahs 13; Xerox Lions 22 DHL Western Province 19.
* Griquas have a bye next weekend.