Scrum Engagement Update for Players, Coaches & Referees
Since the decision by the International Rugby Board (IRB) to trial an amendment to the scrum engagement process, a number of developmental training sessions have and are taking place around the country for players coaches and referees.
From these sessions, requests for clarification were sought, which are now listed below:
1. COMMANDS: Crouch-Bind-Set:
a) Crouch: Interlocking – when teams crouch, heads must already be interlocked (i.e. in the space created by the opposition). Ear to ear is acceptable.
b) Bind: Before the Set: What is acceptable ‘Binding?’
— Tight head: Grip the jersey of the opposing LH on the side or the back. No downward pressure on the loose head, and stay off the LHs arm (right arm, outside arm bind)
— Loose head: Grip the jersey of the opposing TH on the side or the back. Stay square. (left arm, inside arm bind)
— Props can rebind as long as the ‘new bind’ is legal, the bind should remain legal throughout the scrum.
c) Between Bind and Set, the referee must see (before saying set):
– Both “Front Rows” are stable and at the correct height.
– All Front Row Players must have their weight on at least one foot in a position to make a drive/shove.
– Each stage clearly complied with before moving on to next stage - This may take some moments = ‘Cadence’
– On the call ‘Set’ the Front Rows should engage and hold. There should be no drive/push on or after the “Set” call. Sanction for early push / drive: Free Kick
2. Before the ball is introduced:
— The scrum must be square, stable, and parallel to the touchlines.
— There should be no pushing before the ball comes in.
— Head and shoulders must be above the hips
— No binding should take place between the Props on the elbow.
3. The Ball
a) The Referee says:”Yes 9” which is an invitation not an instruction to put the ball in the scrum.
b) Saying “Yes 9” is not a signal for teams to push, the signal to push is when the ball enters the scrum. Sanction for early push: Free Kick
c) The Scrum Half must stand in middle of tunnel and part of ball must hit the middle of the tunnel.
d) The Scrum Half can tap the Hooker and then put the ball in the scrum to enable them to time the entry of the ball.
e) The Scrum Half should put the ball in immediately. Sanction for undue delay: Free Kick
f) The ball to be put in straight. Sanction for ‘not straight’: Free Kick
• Repeated identical offences should be sanctioned by a Penalty.