Veteran NSW Waratah Benn Robinson says his team’s scrum woes and inconsistencies have started on the training track and carried into games and the whole squad isn’t performing.
The scrum has been a potent weapon for the Tahs in recent seasons but the forwards have struggled for consistency in that part of the set piece this year.
Forwards coach Cam Blades said lack of consistency could continue while the new-look pack developed, but was convinced they would ultimately become a strong unit.
Robinson, the most capped Waratah of all time, made it clear it wasn’t just the front row and the scrum who weren’t performing.
“We can be better, I think that starts at training,” Robinson told AAP.
“We’ve been pretty inconsistent, both the starting pack and the pack coming off the bench.
“You can’t just put it down to the feed, the strike, the engagement, it’s a combination of things that need to be improved.
“It’s easy to say were right on the edge of doing well but were not performing at the moment and it’s not just 1-8.
“That’s the whole squad, the 30-odd players in our squad not performing at training.”
Blades wasn’t focusing on external criticism of the Tahs pack and their scrummaging, but recognised they had issues.
“The technical stuff we’ve probably been guilty of being inconsistent and that can come through guys not having experience or the group not having gelled in terms of working as one,” Blades told AAP.
He called for patience, pointing out less experienced players would improve with time as the Tahs sought to overcome setbacks including the departure overseas of Wallabies prop Sekope Kepu and a long term injury to Test hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau.
“They’ve gained plenty of experience early on, some of it right at the coalface and at times it’s been really challenging,” Blades said.
“But I think out of that challenge you grow and you learn and there’s been plenty of learning and plenty of development.”
“Experience isn’t just created it’s something you’ve got to earn.”
With Polota-Nau and his backup Tolu Latu injured, Hugh Roach is expected to start against the Rebels next Sunday.
His deputy is expected to be either uncapped youngster Folau Faingaa or James Hilterbrand, who won two caps with Western Force.