The scrum is an important means of restarting play and gaining control of a game. Using correct technique will not only reduce the chance of injuries, but will ensure teams can compete safely in this crucial area of the game. The key points of scrummaging that all coaches, players and referees should know instinctively are:
How to Build a Front Row
(Use Scrum Machine)
- Before the two front rows come together they must be standing not more than an arm's length apart.
- Props bind with the hooker anywhere between armpit and hip (Hookers bind anywhere between armpit and hip or on top of Prop's shoulder-blades.)
- Position correctly on referee's call.
- Sink down into a crouch position, face up, eyes open.
- The front rows must interlock (ear to ear) so that no player's head is next to the head of a team-mate. Crouched and bound.
- Feet, hips and shoulders are all square.
- Bend at the hips and knees.
- Shoulders above hips at all times.
- Face up, chin off chest.
- Back straight - spine in line.
- Weight off the heels and on balls of feet.
Referee will call "BIND"
- Using their outside arm each prop must bind.
- A loose head prop must bind on the opposing tight head prop by placing the left arm inside the right arm of the tight head and gripping the tight head prop's jersey on the back or side.
- A tight head prop must bind on the opposing loose head prop by placing the right arm outside the left upper arm of the opposing loose head prop and gripping the loose head prop's jersey with the right hand only on the back or side.
- The props must not grip the opponent's chest, arm, sleeve or collar.
The "SET" call
- Following a pause the referee will then call "set" when the front rows are ready.
- The front rows may then engage. (The "set" call is not a command but an indication that the front rows may come together when ready)
- Transfer scrum's weight to the opposition by maintaining body position with a straight back, face up, shoulders above the level of the hips forward of the knees. Maintain pressure until the ball is out by sinking and pushing forward by extending knees. Take small steps to maintain balance and apply pressure until ball is delivered.
The players must listen to the referee at all times as they are in control of the scrum engagement.
If for any reason the player is not confident with the situation they must not engage with the opposition, and yell out, "Not ready Ref".
- Safe technique is the most effective technique.
- You must have a positive attitude and a strong frame of mind for all scrummaging.
- Warm up and build progressively to allow the player to gain confidence.
- Key factors for engagement.
- Feet, hips and shoulders square.
- Face up and chin off chest.
- Eyes focused on target area.
- Bend at knees and hips
- Weight on balls of feet
- Tummy and chest pushed out
- If not ready - yell, "Not ready Ref", then front row comes together.
Referees will want to speak to your front row players and halfback before the game to discuss the engagement process, and to ensure all front row forwards are of sufficient experience and strength for the grade of game being played.