Last night in Wellington, we finished a tight Super Rugby match with uncontested scrums because, apparently, the Chiefs’ sub Siegfried Fisihoi couldn’t play tight head prop. Yet this is the same Siegfried Fisihoi who played tight head prop for Bay of Plenty in last year’s ITM Cup semi.
And wasn’t that a stroke of luck for the Chiefs who were getting smashed in the scrums?
It was a piece of obfuscation from Chiefs’ management that while successful in the context of the game was more than just a little shabby.
Manawatu v Bay of Plenty match report, 3 Sep 2014: “burly Bay tighthead prop Siegfried Fisiihoi was unstoppable close to the line.”
— Andrew (@shortflyslip) April 23, 2016
This not to excuse the Hurricanes for not winning a match they should have taken out with some ease. But it does leave an unpleasant taste in the mouth.
In these days of a pleasing increased concern about player welfare, Golden Olden scrums do play an important part of that. But when you rort the system to cynically negate an advantage an opposition has developed, you are going against the whole purpose of it. Do we really want a situation where a transfer to such scrums are treated with skepticism as the default position.
A backlash against the concept of such scrums would be a massive step backwards, but when teams twist the truth to take advantage of a loophole then you run that risk. There are some things where you should not take the ethics of it all lightly.
And the Chiefs, a part of the country with such a proud scrummaging heritage, travelled to Wellington and resorted to twisting things to get out of putting down contested scrums. Strange days indeed.