The Scrum – Part 1 – Setting Up

In order for an exciting kind of rugby to be played, where there is a lot of running, passing, handling etc. there needs to be a platform or foundation built. The scrum is that platform and is likely the most important of all the set pieces or platforms in the game.  The 8 players that make up a scrum are often referred to as the ‘Pack’.  These players must  be bound up and ready to engage before the referee calls the two Packs together.

The referee will call “crouch” and then “bind“. The front rows crouch and using their outside arm each prop must bind. A loose head prop (Player to Hooker’s left) must bind on the opposing tight head prop (Player to the Hooker’s right) 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 loosehead 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. 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. The penalty/sanction for any infringement will be a free kick.

Tips for the Scrum formation

During “Crouch

  • Form the scrum early
  • Try to keep feet, hips and shoulders square
  • Think “big chest” – open and forward
  • Try to establish a good angle on the hips with knees slightly behind
  • Spines in line even if you sacrifice some tightness in bind
  • Torsos parallel to the floor and definitely not shoulders below hips
  • Keep chin off chest and head in a neutral position
  • The second line of four players – the locks and flankers – should be fully bound at this stage too
  • A strong pre-engagement position is important but there is no need for a hit, as ball cannot be put in immediately and the scrum will need to be stationary
  • Aim for ear-to-ear position
  • Make sure the front row players do not set up “head-to-head” – try to “sight the slot”, i.e., have heads opposite the space they will be engaging with

During “Bind

  • Bind high and long if possible
  • Maintain good shape throughout
  • Keep head in neutral position; it will almost be “ear-to-ear” to opposition
  • Maintain balance

During “Set

  • Positive transfer of power: strong engagement without charging
  • Props may need to adjust the feet after engagement, i.e., move them backwards to establish a pushing position
  • Reshape, then hold the new position
  • The hooker may need to adjust the feet in order to contest for the ball
  • When the ball comes in, players can have a driving and pushing contest
  • Keep the core tight and spines in line throughout
  • Engage straight and stay straight
  • Don’t change the bind once engaged

Video on how a Hooker binds to their props.

Video on a Hooker’s foot positioning.

Prop Set up Video

Prop Binding Video

Prop Foot Position Video

Lock Binding Videos. how to bind to each other and how to bind to the front row.

Now.. a video on the full scrum and the cadence the referee uses to bring the scrums together.


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