Georgia lived up to Eddie Jones’ billing as “the biggest, ugliest, strongest scrum pack in the world” during their joint training session in west London against England on Tuesday.
During the open part of the training, the Georgians were seen to splinter the English pack on at least two occasions. However, referee Wayne Barnes seemed to award more penalties and free-kicks towards England as the session progressed and Jones believes that it finished honours even.
“Georgia were just the sort of scrum we needed to scrum against – strong, scrummed in a different way,” Jones, the England head coach, said. “The boys learnt a number of different things. They had the superiority early on and we came back well. It was an excellent session for us. They really enjoyed it. It was fantastic, brilliant.”
The Eastern European country is renowned for its extraordinary propensity to produce props, which head coach Milton Haig has previously attributed to genetic as well as cultural factors. The backs also performed drills together, but there’s no doubt that England gained the most from testing themselves against Georgia’s front row, with Jones particularly impressed by their unorthodox technique.
“Georgia just use their head and shoulders in different ways,” Jones said. “There are different ways of exerting pressure in scrums - some of its old fashioned, some new fashioned. They do different things. They scrum for a living and our guys have learnt a number of different things.
“They found different ways to exert pressure and with the new laws, it is finding new ways of exerting pressure without moving their feet and Georgia are very good at that - exceptional. They do it better than most and we are all trying to chase how to put pressure in without making the scrum unstable, but Georgia are better than anyone at doing that.”