Hurricanes’ Scrum Dominance: The Rise of Xavier Numia and the Tight-Knit Prop Partnership

Hurricanes’ prop Xavier Numia and his tight-knit partnership with tighthead Tyrel Lomax have been instrumental in the team’s scrum dominance, leading to Numia’s call-up to the All Blacks XV. Discover how the young forward has found the balance between aggression and control at the set-piece, and how his development has been shaped by the guidance of coach Jamie Mackintosh.

Hurricanes’ Dominant Scrum Sets Up Victory over Chiefs

Prop Xavier Numia Reflects on Key Factors Behind the Performance

On April 13, the Hurricanes’ dominant 36-23 victory over the Chiefs in Wellington exposed the visitors’ scrum as a weak point. In the 14th minute, the Hurricanes’ powerful scrummaging pinned the Chiefs on their own 5-meter line, relentlessly pounding their opponents for a prolonged 5-minute period. This onslaught culminated in a try by Hurricanes’ halfback TJ Perenara, a merciful outcome for the Chiefs, who were facing the prospect of a penalty try and a yellow card.

Hurricanes’ loosehead prop Xavier Numia, one of the key figures in the scrum’s demolition, humbly explained that the performance was not necessarily part of a pre-planned strategy. “The Chiefs will be a different breed this time round. We must focus on our processes and what we’re good at,” Numia told RugbyPass ahead of the rematch.

Numia, a promising young player who progressed through the Oriental-Rongotai junior system and helped St Patrick’s College, Wellington win the Premiership title in 2015, has grown up immersed in rugby culture. Transitioning from the backline to the front row, Numia made the New Zealand Schools side in 2016 and has since become a fixture in the Wellington Lions and Hurricanes setups, earning a call-up to the All Blacks XV in 2023.

While consistency has been an area of focus for Numia, he credits Hurricanes’ forward coach Jamie “Whooper” Mackintosh for helping him strike the right balance between aggression and control at scrum time. “There is a balance between attacking a tighthead and controlling a tighthead. Sometimes I’ve tried to attack too much and left the hooker too much work to do,” Numia explained.

With injuries impacting the Hurricanes’ hooking resources, Numia has forged a strong partnership with tighthead prop Tyrel Lomax, who he credits for elevating his game. “We’ve got strong chemistry on and off the field. I’ve learned a lot from him; what he needs from me and what gets under the skin of a tighthead.”

Despite the Hurricanes’ recent dip in form, Numia remains focused on the team’s overarching goal of winning the championship, emphasizing the importance of building on their learnings week by week.

Meanwhile, Numia’s partner, Marcelle Parkes, will make her Test debut for the Black Ferns as a loosehead prop against Australia on Saturday, a testament to her hard work and development in the position after previously playing as a loose forward.

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