Adidas jerseys a problem at Rugby World Cup - All Black

By Christopher Chang

All Black prop Ben Franks. Photo / Getty Images
All Black prop Ben Franks. Photo / Getty Images

Sonny Bill Williams and the All Blacks' backline may be enjoying the new slimline adidas jerseys, but prop Ben Franks says they are not ideal for a scrummaging front row.

Franks told Radio Sport that while the skintight jerseys were not solely to blame for scrum problems, they were making it difficult for the forwards to bind.

"Especially for a loosehead it's a lot harder to get that initial bind - there's nothing really to grab so you're kind of grabbing for skin!"

"[The forwards] are usually the last ones to be thought of. I'm pretty sure the props didn't put in an order for super-tight jerseys from the get-go."

Franks gave Sonny Bill Williams plenty of stick for his wardrobe malfunction in the opening game of the Rugby World Cup. Williams joked the prop was "a little jealous", and Franks admitted the jerseys are more suitable for the backs.

"They are the ones that sell the jerseys. The front rowers just tag along."

The scrum has been a major focus for referees at the World Cup and Franks can empathise with fans who were frustrated over the constant resetting of scrums.

"As a player you want to be playing and we enjoy the scrums. But no-one wants to see four or five scrums in a row. The referees can only do so much - you don't know what the other team is trying to do, whether they've turned up the scrum or not...

"The weekend was a good one with France. You saw two teams who wanted to scrum and the scrums were good."

Crusaders prop Wyatt Crockett, who narrowly missed the cut for the All Blacks' World Cup campaign, came under scrutiny for being penalised at scrum time during the All Blacks' Tri-Nations campaign. He told Radio Sport it seemed to be a problematic area for fans and players.

"Referees have got a big part to play. You see some games, where there are two Tier One countries going at it, and the scrum seems to be a bit better. But where there are mismatches then there are a lot of resets and it's frustrating for the viewers.

"When you watch the All Blacks against Japan and our scrum is really dominant, but our guys are still getting penalised as much as them, that's just ridiculous."

- Herald Online

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