3.1 Scrums

A solid scrum gives a back-line an ideal platform from which to attack. In contrast, a scrum under pressure transfers this pressure to the back-line, if they can even clear the ball at all. This means that a strong scrummaging team can provide their own back-line with quality possession and greatly disrupt the quality of possession the opposition back-line receive. As such, scrums are obviously a crucial area of the game.

The key elements to a good scrum are as follows:

3.1.1 The right personnel

The raw material you start with will largely determine the levels you will be able to achieve. Teams need to be realistic about this when assessing how they will approach scrummaging. If your forward pack contains better raw material than the forward packs you will be playing against then scrummaging should form a key element of the team’s game-plan. In contrast, if your forward pack is realistically going to be facing opponents who are better physically equipped then you either need to try to find better raw material or acknowledge that your scrummaging aims should be more modest – focus on winning possession.

3.1.2 Clarity of purpose

Everyone in the forward pack needs to understand what the team as a whole is trying to do on each scrum and what their individual role in achieving this is. As a general rule, the team in possession usually tries to keep the scrum steady whereas the defensive side usually tries to disrupt the scrum by pushing the opposition back. However, this is not always the case – sometimes the team in possession will want to move the scrum forward, to effect a push-over try for example – so the team’s aim needs to be clarified before each scrum.

3.1.3 Coordinated effort

To be as effective as possible, everyone needs to push together.

3.1.4 Good technique

As a basic overview, each player should be looking to adhere to the following technical points:

  1. Solid base;

  2. Straight back;

  3. Eyes up;

  4. Shoulders above hips.