Scrum laws improving game

2011-03-01 22:00

Jóhann Thormählen

Bloemfontein – The stricter application of the scrum laws have been the major cause of frustration at the start of the Super Rugby competition, but should make scrumming more competitive in the long term.

That is the view of former Springbok prop and Cheetahs scrumming consultant Os du Randt in the wake of the numerous penalties some frontrankers have conceded in the first two rounds of the tournament.

Du Randt believes that the way loosehead props are currently being penalised may lead to a situation where teams can get right shoulders again like they did in the old days.

Referees were also told to referee the scrums strictly in 2011 – much as they did with the so-called daylight rule at the breakdown last year.

Tappe Henning, one of the South African Rugby Union’s referees coaches, and Balie Swart, who trains referees in scrumming, earlier visited all the South African teams to discuss the new developments.

Du Randt noted that teams are struggling in the scrums, but that there may be an improvement soon.

“The reason for all the penalties are bad habits. The guys have to start getting things right. The referees have made a mental shift and are focusing on the scrums a lot, especially with regards to transgressions by the loosehead.

“That may be a good thing because we may get back to a situation where the guys can get a right shoulder and gain an advantage from it. One hasn’t really been able to get a right shoulder for the past 10 or 15 years because looseheads were always advantaged.

“At this point it’s a frustration. There are small technical things that one has to sort out, but I believe things will go a lot better after the third and fourth rounds.”

The former Bok believes the scrums will be more competitive as a result and the notion behind the application of the laws can be to the benefit of the game.

He noted that it won’t help to criticise referees.

“It may feel as if referees are going overboard because they are applying the law more strictly, but they are merely doing what they have been saying for the past three years they are going to do,” said Du Randt.

He said that looseheads are punished predominantly for three reasons.

“The biggest thing looseheads are struggling with is to get their bind right – and the other thing is the hinging.

“The third problem is to get their timing right with the hit. It makes it more difficult when referees stretch out their call. A player stands there and is anxious. Your discipline from the back has to be good and you can’t engage early.

“Hinging is where your loosehead’s shoulder line goes under his hips and then rises again. The referees want a fair contest and for your shoulder line to remain the same on the hit.

“As soon as the loosehead engages with the tighthead, he is not allowed to move upwards again. They believe it is dangerous and can lead to injuries.”


  • jimwat1 - 2011-03-01 22:39

    Surely it is time to do away with the need for a hit, the "crouch, touch, pause, engage" fiasco, and the patently crooked feed into the scrum since these are the source of all the problems and the confusion. Why not have the packs form the scrum in the engaged position and prohibit any shove or forward movement until the ball is fed in "straight"? Or is that too simple?

      kwill16 - 2011-03-02 00:20

      Exactly right

      mike - 2011-03-02 00:35

      I think that would lead to the side putting the ball in having a huge advantage since they would know when the ball is coming in. I also believe that the hit is an art and therefor one of the foundations of good prop play. Would be careful to remove these things we may end up playing league soon. Hell the new breakdown area is already forcing defensive teams into league style thinking.

      Shistirrer - 2011-03-02 11:05

      A large number of scrum penalties can be attributed to the new style jerseys the guys are wearing. The slow-mo's have shown numerous times where a prop attempts a bind on his opponent, but the jersey is too tight fitting, with slippery material, and the attempted bind fails. Now is it really fair to award a penalty for that?

  • Pappa Smurf - 2011-03-02 06:08

    Wicus (gras groen hande) Blaauw suck, nes die Stormers.

  • Claude - 2011-03-02 06:46

    I think too many Refs do not have a clue about what really goes on in the front rows and therefore we get penalties that sometimes go the wrong way. - 2011-03-02 08:37

      Don't you just hate a penalty from a scrum!!!!

  • Hux - 2011-03-02 07:35

    More competitive......Bullshit. unless the ball is put in straight there will never be 'competitive scrumming. Oh Yes....I played loose head for 18 years! - 2011-03-02 08:36

      The put in by the scrumhalf should be straight like a throw in from the hooker for a line-out!

  • buddy jones - 2011-03-02 07:47

    man of a few wise words, with insight into the scrumming machine.....and now he gets fired!!! shame on saru!!!!!!

  • Christo - 2011-03-02 07:48

    Never have a referee srummed in a competion like this or maybe not even ever... So why do they want to give advise or even blow for stuff they have not done themselves...??? they are also taking MUCH TO long to ingage.. playing in the scrum and waiting on a ref to call ingage is frustrating !

  • richwhitect - 2011-03-02 08:24

    crouch (wait 4 seconds), touch, pause (10 seconds), engage... o no wait you engaged early, lets give a short arm, or maybe lets try it all again...crouch (wait 10 seconds), touch, pause (15 seconds), engage..........

  • Bernard - 2011-03-02 08:26

    There seem to be a lot of "experts" here who are second guessing Os's opinions. He has probably been around the block a few times more than you guys have. And remember, this is the opinion of a man who's front row was blown out of the game against the bulls two weeks ago. Despite this he sees the interpretations as a possible positive move. Sometimes I think the "mysteries of front row play" are over-estimated so that people have something moan about and blame a loss on.

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