Baxter won't be 'chucking' in towel - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Baxter won't be 'chucking' in towel

By David Beniuk 24/08/2009 12:12:28 PM Comments (0)

If Al Baxter was a cricketer, he'd be dealing with a no ball problem rather than being branded a chucker.

That's the Wallaby prop's take on his current scrummaging problems, which he denies are career-threatening.

After he was consistently penalised at scrum-time in Auckland a month ago, Baxter was hooked after half an hour in Saturday night's 19-18 Tri Nations loss to New Zealand.

Significantly, he left the field almost immediately after conceding a scrum penalty, replaced by up-and-comer Ben Alexander.

"I never like to come off early but I guess when I wasn't performing as well as I should have, they get someone else on," Baxter told reporters on Sunday.

The 32-year-old's name had been mentioned among Wallabies reportedly on their last chance heading into Saturday's match.

Australia's most capped Test prop, Baxter has had his ups and downs in a including the infamous scrummaging debacle at Twickenham in 2005.

He put those demons to rest with a powerhouse performance in defeating England at the same venue last year and said his current issues didn't mean he was on the way out.

"I don't think it's a huge issue or anything," he said.

"It's been frustrating the last couple of games but certainly it hasn't been an issue in the Super 14, it wasn't an issue last year in Test rugby.

"It's just been something that's come up in the last two New Zealand games.

"Career-wise, it's nothing."

Baxter believes the scrummaging style of the All Blacks, rather than any extra scrutiny from referees, is the problem.

"When the All Blacks play in the Tri Nations there seems to be a lot of resets simply because they pack low," he said.

"When you play the Springboks, they pack really high, they're bigger blokes so I guess they can't get as low, it means that a lot more scrums stay up."

Wallabies coach Robbie Deans said after the match that he had always intended to replace Baxter if he ran foul of referee Jonathan Kaplan.

"We were going to go the moment he encountered difficulty with the referee, which we did," Deans said.

"That was a contributing factor but we always anticipated getting Benny Alexander into the game as well."

Baxter, though, insists he isn't becoming rugby's version of Muttiah Muralitharan, the Sri Lankan cricketer called for chucking and later cleared.

"Hopefully not for chucking, I'd prefer to say no ball issues," he said.

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