Scrum successes help Warriors lock down wins ahead of Seattle matchup
HERRIMAN, Utah — The rugby scrum presents perhaps the most unique facet of a game that’s still relatively new to the United States.
Six players locked up on each side against each other, working earnestly for every inch of advantage is an aspect casual fans gravitate to, although the complexities are oftentimes lost with regards to what goes into all of it.
Sure, raw strength is a key component to forging a successful scrum, but strength only scratches the surface to everything involved. When asked to describe all the different facets of the scrum, Utah Warriors forward Paul Mullen in turn asks, “Do you have 12 hours?”
Putting together a quality scrum involves a lot of work, but fortunately for Mullen and his teammates, that work has been put in and made relevant in recent weeks.
“We’re lucky here because we have an absolute quality scrum,” said Warriors coach Greg Cooper. “That forward back doesn’t just become strong overnight, they have to work hard on it.”
It also helps when players are familiar with one another and able to build a cohesive unit that works in unison to come out on top of scrum situations.
“We’ve been together now for a while,” Mullen said. “And once you know these guys it makes the cohesion easier. The team we’ve built this year — it’s exciting. Everyone is excited to be here and ready to go to work.”
Mullen is now in his third year with the Warriors after coming over from Ireland and has been one of the leaders of his team’s scrum from his forward position — liking the movement of a scrum to a bulldozer.
“All the boys behind me are the engine, and the guys on the side are the tracks,” Mullen described. “So if the engine isn’t working, we’re not going anywhere, and the same with the tracks. And then if the blade is too high or too low, then we’re not going anywhere. We need everything.”
Conducting all of it is Utah Warriors forwards coach Robbie Abel, who has received praise from Cooper for the work he’s put in with the players.
“I go back to Robbie and he does a tremendous job,” Cooper said. “He’s a young coach with a lot of potential, and he has a good way about him. He knows when to crack the whip and when to give a pat on the back…I think the players have been superb, as well.”
As mentioned, Utah’s scrum has shown success in recent weeks, and is a big reason for the team’s early season success, which has led to a 5-2 record as it prepares to take on the Seattle Seawolves this Saturday at Zions Bank Stadium.
The Seawolves (6-1) sit on top of the Western Conference, and present a tall task with their own brand of physical play.
“Seattle is a very good side and we respect them immensely,” Cooper said. “But we have to focus on ourselves. Obviously we have to understand how they play, but we have our game and need to play our game.”
UTAH WARRIORS VS. SEATTLE SEAWOLVES
DATE: SATURDAY, APRIL 15
TIME: 7:30 PM MT
WHERE: ZIONS BANK STADIUM, HERRIMAN
BROADCAST: KMYU, TRN, ESPN700, KSLSPORTS.COM
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