The Counter Ruck: Rugby’s culture war - Mike Ross on the state of Ireland’s scrum

Plus, the importance of reputation when conceding penalties

Listen | 25:53

For all the positivity surrounding Ireland’s two wins to open up this year’s Six Nations, a concern for the concession of scrum penalties remains simmering in the background.

Against France, Andrew Porter was penalised twice in quick succession in the first half. After half-time, the French replacement front row eked out a further penalty, cementing a clear advantage.

Scrumming down against Italy, Ireland fared much better, winning as many as four scrum penalties, but still conceding a handful of decisions.

“Your reputation precedes you, good or bad,” says Mike Ross, the former Ireland tighthead prop.

“For some reason we’ve been identified as a side that can give penalties away in the scrum. Sometimes I would question if the referees are actually looking at what they’re seeing or going with preconceived notions.”

When there can be such volatility, Ireland finding themselves on the back foot one week only to dominate in the next fixture, questions arise. Is it the opposition, personnel, a different referee interpretation?

Ross joined The Counter Ruck Podcast on this Six Nations down week to take a deep dive into Ireland’s scrum. Is the scrum a concern, how important is it and do officials referee the set piece consistently?

Produced by John Casey.

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