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The Scrum by Matt Ryan Singapore Rugby Union Technical Director

Body Position A good, safe body position is the absolute basis of scrummaging. You cannot even begin scrummaging drills until everyone in the scrum can achieve the body position as demonstrated in figure 1. It may take a number of sessions for all members of a junior scrum to achieve a good position, but it is time well spent, it is the absolute basis of safe scrummaging. To find out more information on Smart Rugby especially the Scrum Safety Section contact the Australian Rugby Union at [email protected] or Singapore Rugby Union at [email protected]

Figure 1 The Scrum Body Position Straight back Feet comfortably back and apart Feet pointing forward, knees bent Head straight, chin up Pelvis Back

Remedial Body Position Drills

Figure 2 Remedial Drills Head Straight, Chin Up Chest out, Shoulders Back Bend at knees Feet shoulder width apart Pelvis tilted back

Figure 3 Remedial Drills Push against wall/door Practicing good body shape Can be done at home Home work for junior players


Awareness of Neck Injuries All players should have an awareness of how neck injuries occur in scrummaging. Principally neck injuries occur from the scrum engagement and scrum collapse, so it is a must that coaches show players how to engage safely in the scrum and also how to collapse safely. If you have not covered these areas as a coach you have not shown proper duty of care for your players. Serious neck injuries occur in scrummaging through a combination of flexion and rotation of the neck as shown in figures 4 & 5.

Figure 4 Flexion Chin on chest Dangerous

Figure 5 Flexion & Rotation (Hyperextension) Chin on Chest and rotated to left or right shoulder Very dangerous

Figure 6 Head Straight and Chin Up Safe Neutral Position


Scrum Engagement As a junior coach you must physically check that each member of the front row knows exactly where his or her head position is supposed to be on engagement

Figure 7 Head Positions on Engagement

As a coach you should know exactly where all the front row head positions will be on engagement Scrum engagement is a major cause of catastrophic neck injuries.

Scrum Collapse Scrum collapse again is another major cause of catastrophic neck injuries. It is vital that coaches at all levels of Rugby do at least one session of safe scrum collapse procedure each season. I would strongly suggest that the Mayday Scrum Collapse Procedure is the best. It is part of the Australian Rugby Union's Smart Rugby Program. I feel so strongly on this point that it is my belief that you should not be coaching Rugby Union unless you can coach a safe scrum collapse procedure. This is an extremely dangerous part of the game.

Figure 8 Safe Scrum Collapse Scrum has stayed together on collapse All players head straight chin up All players immediately stopped pushing on collapse All players sink to knees slowly Remain Bound


Building the Scrum The Hooker

Figure 9 Hooker Starting Stance Narrow Stance with Feet Right Sriking foot slightly in front Hands on head Half Crouch

The Loosehead Prop


Figure 10 Senior Loosehead Bind Shoulder behind hooker Hooker left leg crossing prop right leg Props outside foot slightly up High bind below armpit

Figure 11 Under 19 Loosehead Bind Shoulder in front of Hooker Square and self supporting Props outside foot slightly up No crossing of legs

The Tighthead Prop

Figure 12 Senior Tight Head Prop Stance Square and self supporting Leading the scrum in on big angle Outside foot slightly up

Figure 13 Senior Tight Head Prop Stance Square and Self Supporting Outside foot up In front leading the scrum in Low bind with left arm

Figure 14 The Under 19 Front Row All square and self supporting All shoulders popped or forward Straight packing angle across the front row


The Locks

Figure 15 The Perfect Lock Position Good shoulder contact with prop Shoulder directly inline with props spine Good body position Can transfer and receive weight

Figure 16 Taking the Bind (Seniors) Foot up on binding side Not too tight with lock partner Shoulder in line with props spine Tight bind on prop (Hand touching ear)

Figure 17 Ready for Engagement (Seniors) Both feet back square, on toes Self supporting no weight on front row Locked up tight on lock partner Shoulder in line with props spine Nice tight bind on prop (Hand touching ear)

Figure 18 Front View Senior Locks Head straight chin up Tight bind, hand to ear Binding arm not loose

Figure 19 Pre-engagement Position (Side View) Good Body Position Head Straight Chin Up Self Supporting On Toes waiting to launch front row into the scrum Cue is sprinter in the starting blocks waiting for the starters gun


The Locks

Figure 20 Senior Elite Level Front Row Legs crossed loosehead and hooker No apparent Space for locks head

Figure 21 Lock's Head Position If there is no space for normal head position Lock can look straight up and maintain very good shoulder contact and be in a safe position.

Figure 22 Under 19 Binding around Hips (Australia and NZ Only) Take the bind side on Walk around and bind on lock partner Lock thumb into top of props shorts when binding

Figure 23 Under 19 Pre-Engagement (Australia and NZ Only) Locks are down on inside knee Shoulder contact on props is good Bind around hips appears solid, full contact with arm

Figure 24 Front View of Locks Head Position (Senior) Front view showing head position when there is no room for the locks head in between the prop and hooker It is very safe and good shoulder contact is maintained 7

The Back Row

Figure 25 Flanker Positions Good shoulder contact with props Hips in tight with locks hip Good body position Excellent position to generate drive through the front row

Figure 26 Flanker Positions Good body position Both feet up for drive, similar to locks feet position Good shoulder contact Excellent position to generate drive through the front row

Figure 27 Flanker and Lock Position Excellent contact on the prop by both the flanker and lock Both are generating real power through the prop Good body positions also contribute greatly to this driving unit

Figure 28 Number 8 Position Good body position Good Shoulder contact on both scrums Locking in place a very tight cohesive scrum.

Figure 29 Number 8 Pre-Engagement No. 8 must be there for the hit on engagement Start position will be either head in scrum or as shown in photo. Primary aim shoulder contact on both locks on engagement


Loosehead Prop Binding

Figure 30 Short Grip Bind Strong left hand bind on seam of tight head props jersey Head in centre of tighthead prop's chest

Figure 31 Short Grip Bind Left hand position on seam of THP jersey. Head in centre of THP Chest

Figure 32 Long Grip Bind Long left hand bind on the jersey/shorts Head position is in the centre of tight head props chest.

Figure 33 Head on the Outside Useful for beginner props and also 7's props. Grip is on the seam of jersey

Figure 34 Good Loosehead Start Position Arm up ready to punch through quick bind Targeting centre of THP chest area for finish position

Figure 35 Poor Loosehead Finish Position THP is completely in control LHP is twisted and has no control LHP has poor bind, has lost body position and is being overpowered


Tighthead Prop Binding

Figure 36 "The Vice" Position Good strong THP position Right shoulder down, head to head with LHP Short bind on back of LHP shoulder

Figure 37 Poor Tighthead Prop Position Chest exposed, LHP in underneath Right shoulder up Allowed LHP to get a very good bind

Figure 38 Good Tighthead Prop Start Position Leading the scrum up Right arm up trying to restrict LHP target for binding

Figure 39 Good Tighthead Prop Finish Position Restricted the bind of the LHP Not allowed LHP to get under chest Right shoulder down head to head with LHP

Figure 40 Poor Tighthead Prop Position THP has right shoulder up allowing LHP to get underneath his chest LHP prop has very strong long bind THP has very poor body position

Figure 41 Good Tighthead Prop Position Good body position Right shoulder down, chest not exposed Strong bind right arm, restricting LHP bind.


Thanks to the "Boss" Lincoln Tan, the lads from Anglo Chinese Junior College and National Reps Mark Lee and Rong "10 Plates" Jin Xing



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Microsoft Word - The Scrum by Matt Ryan.doc