Tahs coach pleased to have scrum doctor - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Tahs coach pleased to have scrum doctor

By David Beniuk 21/02/2009 01:35:25 PM Comments (0)

NSW Waratahs coach Chris Hickey is delighted at the immediate impact former Wallabies set-piece guru Michael Foley has had on his side, after a dominant scrum emerged as one of the few bright spots in a scrappy 11-7 Super 14 win over the Chiefs on Friday night.

Foley quit the Wallabies to spend more time at home at the end of last year, linking up with Hickey to continue the resurrection of the Australian game's set-piece so evident in last year's 28-14 revenge victory over England at Twickenham.

His influence was on display at the Sydney Football Stadium as his former Wallabies charges Al Baxter, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Benn Robinson, Dean Mumm and co bulldozed a weak Chiefs scrum and frazzled an inaccurate lineout.

It came as some welcome early relief from the scrutiny of the Waratahs pack after the departures of three big names, including lineout chief Dan Vickerman and injuries to Wallaby props Matt Dunning and Sekope Kepu.

"We've worked really hard in that area and all credit to Michael Foley, he's done a terrific job with our scrum," Hickey told reporters.

"It's something that you work for, you never know when you're going to get it because we had a lot of respect for their scrum, we thought last week that they were one of the better scrums that we saw from the New Zealand teams."

Chiefs coach Ian Foster was also impressed, singling out the NSW scrum as the difference between the two sides in an otherwise error-riddled match.

"We got absolutely pumped at set-piece time and we couldn't get any scrum ball or any lineout ball," he said.

"Obviously there's some big improvements in the Waratahs' scrum."

But Foster didn't hold back in pointing out some other areas for improvement in the Waratahs' game as their star-studded backline failed to put the imploding visitors to the sword.

"I would say they'd be a little bit disappointed," he said.

"I would have thought with that amount of ball that they'd be pretty frustrated with their attack with maybe not creating more holes.

"Whilst I'm praising the attitude of my defence I guess they would be scratching their head about how they could have got through."

That's not something Hickey is shying away from, admitting the win was "ugly".

"I think when you're trying to develop your game sometimes little things break down and that can involve a little bit of inaccuracy and things like passing, maybe trying to force passes when they're not on," he said.

"I think if we can clean up some of those areas of our game we'll get a lot of pay from that.

"The reality is that those areas keep inviting other teams back into the game."

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