Chris Rattue is a sports columnist for the New Zealand Herald.

Rugby: Dave Rennie 'bloody angry' over scrum claims

Chiefs coach Dave Rennie has come out swinging over scrum-gate, saying he is "bloody angry" at claims he manipulated safety rules to secure the win against the Hurricanes.

Rennie is adamant that events which led to the implementation of Golden Oldie scrums at Westpac Stadium were legitimate.

The double Super Rugby title winner said: "I'm bloody angry and disappointed people would run that story without doing full research. I'm angry because they are challenging our integrity."

The Herald today posted previously unseen Sky TV footage that appeared to show prop Siate Tokolahi jogging from the lineout to the breakdown, and then going off the field injured after he was approached by a trainer.

With no adequate replacement for Tokolahi, the Golden Oldies scrum rule was implemented, meaning that the Hurricanes lost their scrum advantage.

The Chiefs were leading 28-27 at the 75th minute when the controversy occurred. The Hurricanes, who were dominating the scrums, were about to pack down hot on attack but had the wind taken out of their sails.

Former All Black prop Craig Dowd, who wrote a column for ESPN suggesting the Chiefs used "gamesmanship", reiterated his views in a Radio Sport interview.

The vital sequence involves replacement Chiefs tighthead prop Tokolahi being helped from the field, even though he had not initially called for assistance.

The Chiefs told match officials the next replacement, Siegfried Fisi'ihoi, was not capable of packing on the tighthead side even though he had played in the position for Bay of Plenty. This led to de-powered scrums.

Rennie said Tokolahi received treatment to his back about four minutes earlier while Fisi'ihoi had been "murdered" in the tighthead position at scrum training sessions.

Rennie said: "I'm angry at the insinuation that it was intentional ... it disappoints me that outfits we work with didn't have the decency to approach us and just threw it out on the waves.

"People will make up their own minds ultimately, but if they look at the footage after Beauden Barrett scores he [Tokolahi] is attended to by our physio - maybe they should have shown that footage as well.

"The half story Herald ... needs to research further back. The speed he travels at from the lineout barely gets above a jog."

Tokolahi is on the bench against the Sharks in New Plymouth tomorrow night, which suggests the injury was not particularly serious.

But Rennie said: "That has little bearing on what happened last week. A lot of guys go off injured and front the following week. "

Meanwhile, Dowd told Radio Sport he was "cracking up" at Rennie's claim that Fisi'ihoi could not play at tighthead. "I've coached him as a tighthead ... The Hurricanes can feel slightly aggrieved."

Listen: Kent Johns interviews Craig Dowd:

- NZ Herald

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