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Rugby Explained: The Scrum

29 Jan , 2018  

With the Six Nations set to kick off for another exhilarating season this weekend we take a look at one of the most technically specific aspects of the game of rugby, the scrum.

Last year’s Six Nations champions England were renowned for their scrummaging skills. Players like Mako Vunipola and Joe Launchbury lead the charge in their run to Six Nations glory.

England Six Nations 2017 Winners

The England Rugby team celebrate their 2017 Six Nations triumph.

When we look to explain the rugby scrum we must first look at its origins. The word ‘scrum’ is short for ‘scrummage’ which sounds like a mix between a scour and a rummage. This probably isn’t far off explaining it when you’re watching it on the telly.

Here are the basic scrum rules:

  • It’s a way of restarting play after a minor infringement or the ball is out of play.
  • It involves the designated forwards of both teams, which is 16 burly players in total (8 from each side).
  • The ball gets fed in the middle of the scrum towards the hooker, who tries try to win possession by kicking backwards towards their team mates, who then put all the force together to drive the scrum forwards.

Now, I could explain all the different situations in play that could lead to a scrum but this would take an age. Therefore here’s a picture of a pretty good scrum instead!

scrum from above

Great scrummage from above.

 

So far it sounds pretty easy and looks pretty awesome, but Rugby Union rules make it even tougher by allowing both teams to attempt to push the opposition so they get the ball. This is what makes scrums so amazing to watch and also pretty dangerous.

Below is an example of an old style scrum. The players would collide at great speeds, which looked great for the spectator but ultimately was outlawed as it put too much strain on the forwards.

scrummage

Scrum, old style.

With rugby trying to decrease the injury rate changes had to be made. Players must now follow a set of orders from the ref that includes their shoulders touching and a pause to prove the players are steady before they engage with that beautiful brute force.

Here’s the new method in all its glory:

safe scrum

Safe to scrum, until it’s not.

The new method of starting a scrum reduces the impact on players and also means the scrum is less likely to collapse. Stats say injuries received during scrums have been dramatically reduced thanks to the changes made to this process of engagement.  But as you can see from how that scrum collapses, it’s still pretty rough and just the strength of the players alone can force it to tumble.

What Is A Scrum Machine?

In order to win the ball from the opposition, or keep the ball when you have the put in, rugby teams benefit from countless scrum training sessions.

The physical impact of practicing the rugby scrum can be very exhausting for forwards. Therefore most clubs tend to opt for a scrum machine to perfect their techniques.

Scrum machines allow the forwards in your rugby club to practice the set piece time and time again until it becomes second nature to them. The Static Sled Scrum Machine comes in 4 sizes to ensure both junior and senior rugby players can train hard on their game.

Rugby Scrum Practice Tool

Practice Your Scrummaging Safely With A Scrum Machine

Meanwhile the Reactive Kiwi Sled Scrum Machine is aimed at turning your pack into a well-oiled scrummaging machine! All of its four pads react differently making scrum practice more realistic. Improve strength, posture and scrum technique all with this one piece of rugby equipment.


There you have it, my scrum-educated fanatic, now go forth and enjoy more rugby! If you plan to watch any of the games over the weekend we’d love to hear from you. Who do you root for and who do you think will win it all this season? Will England reign victorious again or will the likes of Scotland, Ireland or Wales come out on top?

Let us know your predictions for the upcoming Six Nations via the comments section below. Alternately you can contact us via our Facebook or Twitter pages. 

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