Breakdown needs better policing to protect the ’jackler’, says Stormers coach
CAPE TOWN - Stormers coach John Dobson says the breakdown and the injuries that have occurred at the area are cause for inspection to ensure that the “jackler” is more protected.
In the Stormers’ game against the Pumas on Friday night, captain Siya Kolisi left the field in the first half after being cleaned out at a ruck.
After the game, he admitted that he was a bit worried that he may have sustained significant damage to his hamstring, and while scans later confirmed that he only picked up a grade-one strain, his opposition flyhalf, Eddie Fouche, wasn’t as lucky, leaving the field shortly afterwards, but with an injury that could keep him out for up to nine months.
While many would argue that there was nothing inherently ‘illegal’ about either cleanout, it can be argued that the breakdown - and all the differences in interpretation - simply leaves too much room for error or injury.
In a press conference earlier this week, Dobson said that the “jackler” (first arriving player), and the area in general, needs to be protected better.
“The idea is to avoid injuries that happened to Eddie Fouche, and whether the jackler is getting the necessary protection I’m not so sure. I think there was more protection at the start of Super Rugby Aotearoa as opposed to what we are seeing in our competition,” he said.
At the start of the Kiwi competition, the breakdown was a heavy focal point given the fact that amended breakdown laws had been enforced. Players were penalised heavily and it took them a while to adapt, but even then, the focus seemed to fall more heavily on the policing of existing ones.
“You want to encourage guys to be able to go in to steal to get the turnover,” Dobson said. “But I just think there could be more protection for the jackler.
“We saw Siya getting injured from a cleanout, and Bongi also snapped his hamstring (before the rugby break) at a ruck, Eddie Fouche suffered a horrific injury.
“So, it is cause for a bit more inspection.”
On a possible solution, Dobson said: “When you’re going off you feet, you do so with massive weight and momentum it is a concern, I thought the laws were going to project the jackler more.”
The Stormers will face the Bulls at Loftus on Saturday (kick-off 7pm) in their third Super Rugby Unlocked encounter.