Murphy: Never-say-die Gloucester adapted well in scrum
ONLY the adaptable will survive the Premiership's new scrummage law interpretations, believes Dan Murphy.
The loosehead prop hailed Gloucester for reacting quickly to referee Martin Fox's officiating in Saturday's last-gasp 26-24 Northampton Saints victory.
The Cherry and Whites failed to fall into line with Andrew Small's scrum vision in the season-opening 22-16 home defeat to Sale Sharks on September 7.
But after a sticky start against the Saints at Kingsholm in round three of league action, Murphy and Co caught on to what Fox was after.
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Despite conceding three early scrum penalties, Gloucester rallied and secured scrum parity, reckons former London Irish front-rower Murphy.
And now the 27-year-old has challenged Gloucester to carry that flexibility into Sunday's testing league trip to Kingston Park to take on Newcastle Falcons (kick-off 3pm).
Murphy believes the scrum penalty that allowed Billy Twelvetrees to win Saturday's match with the game's final kick underlines Gloucester's ability to master the set-piece – but only when they analyse mid-match.
He explained: "Because those changes have come in this year, it's a learning curve for everyone: referees, coaches, players.
"We're all learning at the same pace, people are learning in different ways and taking different interpretations, so it's about finding a level ground across the whole board.
"We had three penalties go against us early on against Saints on Saturday, in the first 10 minutes – and then we get a scrum penalty to win the game. It just shows what we can do.
"A massive emphasis on our pre-season was 'adapt to survive': we did that on Saturday."
Murphy had already been substituted by the time Jamie Elliott raced in for a converted try that almost stole the victory for Saints.
The Romford-born front-rower admitted it was hard to watch as British Lions wing George North ploughed through three defenders to send his counterpart wing in for a 79th-minute score.
But Murphy said despite the scare, he always backed Gloucester to conjure another chance – because of their Nigel Davies-era trademark resilience.
Calling on Gloucester to kick-start their campaign after defeats to Sale and Saracens, Murphy said the Cherry and Whites can still trouble the top-end of the Premiership table.
He continued: "When a game gets turned on its head in two minutes, it's going to be tough.
"Watching George North skittling players, on the bench we had heads in hands and we were thinking 'oh no'.
"But the lads on the field were focused, they kept with it, and that never-say-die attitude came back and it gets us results.
"Shaun Knight, Yann Thomas and Koree Britton winning that penalty, Elliott Stooke after 80 minutes pushing in those scrums, it's huge.
"Against Sale we let ourselves and everyone connected to the club down, and we knew it.
"We went to Sarries trying to prove the point that the Sale game wasn't us, we wanted to get out, fight for the shirt and fight for the game.
"Unfortunately circumstances went against us. We dealt with it the best we could.
"On Saturday we carried on where we'd left off at Saracens, fighting hard and being physical.
"It's time to build momentum now.
"This is the start of our season now, and we just need to start marching into teams week on week."