The Official Online RBS 6 Nations Store is open. The store has everything you need to get behind your team during the RBS 6 Nations, plus the store is now fully stocked with a much wider range of rugby merchandise.
Only seven scrums were awarded in the 24-16 RBS 6 Nations defeat to Wales and a fortnight earlier the much-anticipated battle between Castrogiovanni and England debutant Alex Corbisiero failed to materialise with just five scrums in the whole match.
So while Mallett was quick to acknowledge the IRB’s attempts to improve the situation, he warned the game was in danger of losing its front-row forwards.
“I’m disappointed with the way rugby is going with regards to scrums,” said the South African, whose Italy side fell to their third straight defeat against Wales.
“It is a vital area of the game and we don’t want to see it disappear, otherwise you might as well just play converted loose forwards in the front row.
“The problem is it seems to take five minutes just to set a scrum up these days and most of them end up with a penalty or a free kick rather than any rugby.
“But if the scrum goes down every time the refs have to blow up and they don’t want to do that.
“We see players turning the scrum, dropping their bind, driving the right shoulder so there are so many things a ref can penalise at every scrum.
“The IRB are working very hard and we’ve seen the difference with refs who are clearly doing a lot of work behind the scenes. We had Chris Pollock in his first game for our Test against Argentina in the summer and he was very good.”
Meanwhile Mallett was quick to pour cold water on the suggestion that Italy are about to shake their tags as perennial Wooden Spoon winners any time soon.
After a third defeat in three games on Saturday, Italy seem set for a showdown with Scotland on the final weekend to avoid finishing bottom of the pile for the ninth time in 12 Championships.
The introduction of Treviso and Aironi into the Magners League has led to increased expectations, but Mallett cautioned that Italy were still several years behind their Six Nations rivals.
He added: “The reality is we don’t have the players and we’ve wasted ten years trying to get a national league to work and only now have we got two teams in the Magners League.
“The quality of rugby in the Super 10 is very poor and even though Treviso have started quite well in the Celtic League, Aironi have lost 14 out of 14.
“We’re still five to ten years away from being able to compete. Some people thought we should have more teams in the league, but I think this shows how thin the talent is.
“We have players like Sergio Parisse and Martin Castrogiovanni but people have to be patient with Italian rugby.
“It’s up to us to prove we deserve to be involved in the Six Nations but at the moment we go into every game as underdogs.”