Six Nations: Mike Ross says new scrum laws suit Ireland ahead of Paris showdown
Tighthead Mike Ross believes the new scrummaging laws could give Ireland an advantage against France on Saturday.
Last Updated: 12/03/14 11:25pm
The Irish scrum has benefitted from the recent change in the scrum sequence, the shorter hit suiting their compact but powerful front row.
The French meanwhile have been struggling and their pack has come under severe criticism, and the tension has got to them.
Nicolas Mas stormed out of a press conference on Tuesday after being repeatedly questioned about France's apparent difficulties with the new laws.
The Montpellier man labelled the scrum like "a child that has lost its bearings".
Ross likened the change as swapping being hit by a "sledge" for being "squeezed in a vice," but he still expects a tough evening in Paris where Ireland will almost certainly clinch the title if they win for the first time since 2000.
"I know (France prop) Thomas Domingo quite well having played against him so many times over the years," Ross said.
"He's a good lad and I'll probably have a beer with him afterwards, but when he's on the pitch he'll try to get into you.
"He's short, squat, he'll try to get under you and take you up, and on the far side then you've got Nicolas Mas who's a fairly well-capped veteran and I think he's been playing quite well, having watched a bit of him.
"Their scrum has been mixed: sometimes they'll absolutely murder teams, others they get disrupted.
"So again we'll be working hard on that ourselves, trying to make sure any ball they do get is as unpleasant as possible for their scrum-half.
"I think there's a bit of acclimatising to the new laws, but I think our scrum's been going quite well so far.
"And we've got to make sure it continues on that upward curve. I think it's something we've worked extremely hard on.
"Some of the scrummaging sessions we've been doing it feels like another fitness session. There's a lot of pressure: the new laws have changed it from being hit with a sledge to being squeezed in a vice.
"So out goes the sledge and in comes the vice, so it's a different type of pressure.
"With the squad we have, we've got Marty Moore and Jack McGrath pushing myself and Cian Healy hard every week.
"So you know if you're even a fraction off, they'll have you. I think that's good for the squad as a whole and it's been working quite well for us.
"If you look at the impact the bench has been making in the last few weeks, it's really been making quite a difference.
"Cian's world-class, he's going so well out there, and the new laws have really suited him. He's so strong. Jack McGrath has been playing well too though, the pair of them mixing and matching quite well for both Leinster and Ireland."