The 270kg combination that could tear every scrum in Europe apart
Last season’s Top 14 and Heineken Champions Cup runners-up La Rochelle got their European season off to a solid start on Sunday with a 20-13 win over Glasgow Warriors at the Stade Marcel Deflandre.
The hosts were able to flex their muscles, particularly in the scrum, and send a message to the rest of the competition this season. Though they did not necessarily destroy Glasgow’s scrum, there were a few occasions where they showed what they were capable of, particularly on the 23rd minute when they turned a scrum over through their brute force.
EK Rugby Analysis has highlighted the combination of Uini Atonio at tighthead prop and Will Skelton behind him as a catalyst for this strength at the set piece. The France international weighs 145kg, which makes the 125kg Skelton look positively light, but their 270kg combination is quite formidable.
“Staying down through the drive – and almost 300 kilos of power on the tighthead side alone between Atonio and Skelton – is a pretty powerful combination!
“Can see La Rochelle’s scrum doing this to a lot of teams on their own ball this season.”
Staying down through the drive – and almost 300 kilos of power on the tighthead side alone between Atonio and Skelton – is a pretty powerful combination!
Can see La Rochelle’s scrum doing this to a lot of teams on their own ball this season.
— EK Rugby Analysis (@ek_rugby) December 14, 2021
Of course, having the heavier scrum is not always the recipe for success, but anyone that says it is not beneficial is either lying or trying to convince themselves of something. La Rochelle are undoubtedly going to be a handful for any pack they come across this season as they seek to improve on last season’s finish.
Up next for the French outfit is Bath at the Rec, which is as close as any team will get to a guaranteed win the Champions Cup this season, which will leave them in a very promising position. Meanwhile, Glasgow host the Exeter Chiefs on Saturday who top Pool A.