IRB: New scrum ‘engage’ trial

2012-06-14 00:00

DUBLIN — A revised scrum engagement sequence will be trialled globally following unanimous backing from the IRB’s expert scrum steering group.

The IRB website said the trial, which will incorporate the sequence “crouch, touch, set”, was approved at a meeting of the specialist group — made up of union and players’ representatives, former players and other experts — in Bristol last month.

The revised engagement process will be trialled alongside the five law amendments announced in May, from the start of the next season in each hemisphere. It is part of the IRB’s ongoing commitment to improving the scrum phase of the game.

The sequence will see the front rows crouch then touch; using his outside arm, each prop touches the point of the opposing prop’s outside shoulder; then they withdraw their arms. The referee will call “set” when the front rows are ready. The front rows may then set the scrum.

This sequence was one of six that were extensively researched at six different levels of the game, including women’s rugby, as part of the initial trial process. “Crouch, touch, set” was found to be the most successful and will now be trialled on a global level.

IRB rugby committee chairperson and former New Zealand captain Graham Mourie said: “Most people accept the scrum is currently a problematic area of the game, accounting for roughly 17% of match time in elite rugby and with more than 50% of scrums resulting in collapses or resets.”

He said the work done so far was a positive first step to addressing these issues.

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