Cleary baffled by scrum crackdown - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cleary baffled by scrum crackdown

03/04/2011 04:09:40 PM Comments (0)

Warriors coach Ivan Cleary has slammed the referees' crackdown on scrums and believes the NRL is becoming more like rugby union.

In the pre-season, new NRL referees boss Bill Harrigan said scrums would be cleaned up, and that players would have to be properly bound and must not break until the referee has called the ball out.

And what has followed this season has been some painfully slow scrums and Cleary can't understand why the NRL is bothering.

Cleary was speaking after his side chalked up their first win of the season with a 26-18 victory over the Sharks in Taupo.

It was a match where both sides were frustrated by the referees who were strict on binding and how the ball was fed into scrums.

"With the scrums ... it's over the top," said Cleary.

"One thing that our game has over rugby is that there's not a lot of time in scrums, but now it's becoming like that.

"I don't really see it being that important.

"It's something they've never done, so you've got to be fair to the players.

"In the heat of the battle, you get to the scrum and they're all blowing like steam trains.

"They get told that instead of grabbing around someone's shoulder it has to be around someone's back.

"Our game has never been a game where you spend a lot of time training on scrums."

Sharks captain Paul Gallen was equally miffed by the crackdown.

"I think the scrums are just being slowed up too much," he said.

"There are smarter blokes than me running the game and telling the referees what to do, but it just seems to be time wasting."

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