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Scrums frustrate at Eden Park

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Monday, August 19, 2013    Sportal.co.nz    Getty Images

Auckland coach Wayne Pivac said the side felt they had dominance of the scrum.

He wondered about the North Harbour tighthead prop's tactics, especially when he was on the back foot and that would be reviewed by the pack.

There was a change of mindset for the players who had been used to attacking the hit area of the scrum whereas now there was the engagement and building pressure from that point.

Pivac said the greatest frustration of the day was the amount of time it took to actually get scrums going. And it seemed to take longer than in other games he had seen with the laws being applied.

Captain Hadleigh Parkes said the resets were frustrating because they felt they had been going quite well.

Pivac felt the referee had been consistent for both teams but the frustration was the amount of time to get scrums going. There was an element of 'the players turning up and getting the job done' and it was not a happy dressing room after the match.

Pivac was happy with the start, up 22-3 and had then started to make basic errors, highlighted by the inability to take kick-offs.

"In the second half there were more things like the scrum, the ball not being put in straight – just little things and option-taking too.

"We're happy to get five points out of a game where we didn't play well. We probably played well for 20-25 minutes," he said.

"It's a start and something to build from. Five points are critical. We just didn't play well today."

North Harbour coach Liam Barry said given the inexperience in his side, with several players in their first ITM Cup game, and the way they moved away from the intended plan during the first half, it had not been a bad recovery after the poor start.

They had overcommitted at attacking and defensive rucks but in the second half there was more clarity about what they were attempting to do and they had played with heart to come out with a point in the end.

It doesn't get any easier for the side with Counties Manukau on Thursday, and four games in 12 days in which they start the season.

"We did some things well, and some things that weren't to structure so we will work on that," he said.

With only three players with Super Rugby experience in their side, compared to 13 that Auckland enjoyed, it was a good taste of what could be expected in the competition by those players who had been playing club rugby ahead of the competition.

Captain James Parsons said North Harbour had been happy with their scrum but in the second half fatigue had set in among some players and that was why the scrums had been collapsing.

Parsons said the new scrummaging laws suited him, he liked a close gap between the sides and he was pretty excited about it.

The hooking issue had not been a concern for him as he had always hooked the ball.

Parsons felt one of the reasons for the time factor in the scrums had been the amount of time Auckland had taken to decide what they were trying to do.