George Turner says new scrum rules give props freedom to swap roles

Scotland hooker George Turner believes that the new World Rugby laws on binding and engagement at the scrum may have slightly loosened up the specialisation of the loosehead and tighthead positions.

George Turner says players are worried about their places after the defeat in Nice. Picture: Craig Williamson/SNS/SRU

Scotland briefly switched Edinburgh tighthead Simon Berghan to the loose during Saturday’s 32-3 loss to France in Nice and the Glasgow hooker said that may be something that is seen more.

“They [World Rugby] brought in the new rules a few weeks ago on engagement process. A few of the boys have been training both sides and a few tightheads playing at loosehead to see what it is like,” said the 26-year-old, who won his sixth cap off the bench at the Allianz Riviera.

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“I don’t want to blame the pitch but it was not ideal scrummaging conditions [on Saturday]. Simon has done a lot of work at loosehead and has been surprisingly good in training.

“The one chance he got [the scrum] collapsed. He is learning in the role and it is different for him but he has been pretty good.”

Turner admitted that the sheer scale of Scotland’s failure to compete in Nice had left a number of the squad concerned that their chances of making Japan had gone.

“It’s obviously a bit of a stressful time for the players, especially after a performance like that,” he said.

“I’ll just look to get some more game time, focus on my physicality.”

There was certainly a lot of physicality on Saturday with more to come this weekend from the French pack but Turner said the line was crossed by Paul Gabrillagues in his reckless clear-out of Scotland flanker John Barclay, which has led to the lock being banned for six weeks and missing the start of the World Cup.

“That was not really dark arts. That was a red card,” said the hooker.

“It should have been picked up [at the time]. There are ways to be physically legally but there is no room for that anymore.”