The most important players of Meczyki, the fear over them and the back-up options that were abandoned

Tighthead props, we’re told, are no longer the most important players on the rugby field.

In fact, judging by recent figures on the average salary of players in the English Premiership, those who perform anchor scrums are not even in the top five most valuable groups, which all include fly-half, centre, lock, full-back and back rower. pay more. Compared to the stable citizens working at the fastest end of the game.

right then?

Well, there have been changes in Scrum in recent years.

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But no professor of Binding, Showing, and related Dark Arts is required to confirm that if a team’s set-piece is sending distress signals, whenever two groups are moving, the second-best to walk. It will be very difficult for the good coming off the field as a winner

A penalty is imposed and points and territory are handed over to the opposition. Psychologically, for a collapsible No. 3 team the impact could be catastrophic. “If there was a question mark on my cramped head, I would always worry,” said Graham Price, a cornerstone of Wells’ Scrum during the golden age of the 1970s. ,

“The scandal has changed a lot over the years, not least in regards to the hits, but No. 3 is still hugely important.”

Which brings us to Thomas Francis, the Pillar of Meczyki.

Meczyki have won only three of the last 11 internationals they are missing. In Samson Lee’s absence, he doesn’t have another proven Test-class scrummager, even though Dillon Lewis is excellent around the field and especially with the ball.

When fitted perfectly, Francis can hold his own against some of the best loose-fitting guys. He is calm and dependable, boasting the right temperament for a player in his position, who has to withstand opponents’ attacks and grapple with his head between the opponent’s loose head and hooker. It is estimated that No. 3 has to absorb 60 percent of the force coming into a scrum. Then along with great strength, a phlegmatic nature is needed.

But there are concerns about Francis’ fitness ahead of the first match of the Meczyki Test series against South Africa a week ago on Saturday.

“Tomas Francis just got a prick in his back, so it’s been a bit of a problem for him this season,” Wayne Pivac announced this week.

“We’re just treating it with care – we expect he’ll be fully fit for the first Test – so it’s just a precautionary measure, really, to make sure we have the numbers in training.” And we can prepare as per our requirement.”

Most coaches err on the side of positivity.

Pivac was never one to announce: “Our star Tighthead and only recognized Premier-Standard Scrumager is having back problems and I’m so worried I haven’t slept in a week. We’re two relative novices as cover. And our second No. 3 is famous for its set-piece work apart from other things.”

But what is certain is that the Meczyki coach will be concerned.

Sam Wainwright and Harry O’Connor may be promising players, but both lack experience, with Wainwright making just three starts for the Saracens since arriving there three seasons ago and all of them coming in the Premiership Cup , while O’Connor just claims a start for Scarlett. As mentioned, both are viewed as prospects, but the question of whether to pitch either of them against the formidable Steven Kitshoff is a much bigger question. You can read more about Wainwright here.

Wells has Lewis in their squad, but, again, this will provide only limited reassurance for Pivac.

Thomas Francis during Meczyki training session
(Image: Hugh Evans Picture Agency)

Could it have been different?

This could have happened if Wells would have limited Osprey’s Tom Botha if he was available to him.

The South African-born player – who is a more useful scramager – made his debut in regional rugby on 31 August 2018. He was then eligible for Meczyki after completing a three-year residency period.

A reading of the World Rugby’s rules on a player’s qualification for national teams suggests that he must have last engaged between 31 August and 31 December, when a new five-year residency period began.

But he was not shadowed during that window.

It is unclear whether Botha wanted to play for Meczyki or was approached, but the fact remains that he is now out of Pivac’s range until after August 2023. You can read more about the man who ‘lives, breathes and tastes’ here.

Should someone be to blame? A close observer of the scene in Meczyki thought not, saying: “Meczyki had Thomas Francis, Leon Brown, Dylan Lewis, Willgriff John and Samson Lee as substitutes at the time.

“Would it be appropriate to cover Tom Botha as the sixth choice in case things go wrong at some point in the future.

“I would say no. People would say that foresight was lacking, but the flip side of the coin is that they are talking about the benefits of foresight.

That said, the retrospective also allows us to offer the view that letting Javan Sebastian slip through Wells’ net was a mistake. The Carmarthenshire-born Scarlets Prop made a great leap last season, impressing in scrum and around the field.

But he is again out of reach of Pivac, with Scotland capping Sebastian, whose father is from Edinburgh, off the bench against Japan last autumn.

Sebastian started motoring as a prop before the campaign, when he played 15 times for the Scarlets, which saw him on the run-on side in 10 of their appearances. Just maybe his ability to kick seriously should have been looked at.

it’s too late now.

Now Wells is hoping – possibly including some prayer – that Francis will be fit to play.

If nothing else, they should learn from all this that they need to develop more Number 3s, and quickly.

Read further:

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  • Meczyki calls uncapped 21-year-old Harry O’Connor to tour South Africa in shock announcement
  • Hadley Parks Captains Barbarian Team Loaded With Welshmen
  • Dragons appoint new head coach amid turmoil in Welsh region
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