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Forming the Scrum

Scrums are an act of physical strength and human engagement. It is a painful contest of pushing and enforced movement by a pack of eight powerful bodies locked together.

FORMING A SCRUM IN RUGBY UNION: Three rows of forwards tightly interlock their arms and heads binding in unison to face their opposite team numbers.

They scrummage to try and win possession of the ball.

The referee signals for a formation of the scrum to restart the game as fairly and swiftly as possible following a player’s minor infringement of the rules, typically after a knock-on, a forward pass, or a game stoppage.

When both packs are wedged in their correct positions, a player feeds in the ball to the vacant tunnel space between the forward rows. The battle takes place as they all compete for possession advantage for their team.

As sixteen brutes jostle and shoulder-charge against each other, the untrained eye might see it similar to two bulldozers going head-to-head. Let’s make no bones about it.

Scrums are physical and injuries do happen. Nonetheless, forming the scrummage takes more than backbone and brawn. Adhering to the rule book means you should not intentionally cause the collapse of a scrum and throwing the ball into the scrummage must be done correctly.

Forming a Scrum Rugby Union Rule 20.1

An imaginary middle line of the scrummage should be formed in the field of play and at least 5 meters away from any touch line or goal line. Each team sends eight players forward to form the scrum.

They bend down together interlocking heads and arms binding in the scrum and facing the opposition. The scrum half with the play advantage throws the ball into the tunnel formed by the two front rows and then the hookers compete to hook it with a foot.

  • The scrum takes place as close to where the infringement or stoppage happened.
  • It should be in the field of play but not less than 5 metres from any touchline.
  • Neither team should intentionally delay forming a scrum.
  • There must be three players in each front row with two locks forming the second row.
  • Exception: The number of players in the scrum may be reduced (minimum of five) if teams have less than fifteen players on the field.
  • The referee marks the place for the scrum with his foot on the ground.
  • Two front rows come together standing at arm’s length as the scrum half prepares to throw in the ball.
  • They crouch with head and shoulders no lower than the hips and then interlock as the ref calls crouch, bind, and then set.

In rugby union a hooker is the center player of the front row forwards with players on either side of him called props.

The locks form the middle part of the second row and push onto the hooker and the props from behind them. The flankers bind onto the second or third row, one on the left and one on the right side of the pack. The player bringing up the rear is typically the No.8.


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Basics of Rugby: A simple list of the most important regulations of rugby.
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World Rugby Laws of the Game Official Rule Book [PDF Download Option].

Forming a Scrum Rugby Union