“AVIVA Premiership to be key scrum testing ground”

ESPN Staff

29 August 2013

The forthcoming Aviva Premiership season will be the latest testing ground for the global scrum trial with any permanent change to the engagement sequence set to be confirmed next year.

IN BOLD: Replies by Enrique TOPO Rodriguez

Reality is: This is a global trial, if you and people around you are not happy just say it, loudly!

From the start of the new season next month, referees will instruct players to “Crouch, Bind, Set” at scrum time in a bid to limit the number of resets and in doing so improve player welfare.

Everybody can try to prevent any accident but nobody can claim or assure you that accidents will not happen!

Props will now be expected to crouch on the referee’s call. Bind using their outside arm after the referee has called bind. The front rows will maintain the bind until the referee calls set. At that point, the two packs will engage.

Implementation of the new sequence, a revision of the ‘Crouch, Touch, Set” sequence that was trialled last season, follows extensive evaluation during the recent IRB Pacific Rugby Cup, which showed the potential for a more stable platform and more successful scrums.

I don’t think the “evaluations” were extensive enough or qualitative enough, the team that player under those rules were quite sub-standard. The real test is at the moment taking place with The 4 N Championship and the Aviva Premiership, not before!

The new sequence has since been adopted in the Rugby Championship, South Africa’s Currie Cup, New Zealand’s ITM Cup and France’s Top 14.

It has been adopted as part of a global trial!!! Yet, Not a final solution!!!

The results of this trial, along with another involving the television match official protocols, will be considered by IRB Council at its annual meeting in 2014 with any law amendments set to be approved next summer to ensure they are in place a year ahead of Rugby World Cup 2015.

IRB chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “The scrum is a fundamental and dynamic part of our game. It is important that we continue to promote the best possible player welfare standards and this trial process is about putting players first and delivering a reduction of the forces on engagement, which could have significant positive effects on long-term player welfare. I would like to thank all Unions for their support and enthusiasm throughout this process.”

I don’t know if the French have an equivalent of “throwing the baby with the bath water” but we hear this SAFETY hobby horse being flogged like the last race and apart from the HIT being eliminated (great thing) I’m not convinced they are that concerned with player welfare but turnover ($$$) and popularity stakes!

The IRB will also instruct referees to ensure that the ball does not enter the tunnel unless the scrum is square and stationary and that a straight throw-in is strictly policed.

One can’t be helped thinking: Why on earth for the last 15 years or so have the referees enforced the law as it was? SQARE, STATIONERY and in the MIDDLE. This is as old as Mathuselah!

Lapasset added: “The implementation of the revised sequence alone is not about overcoming all the challenges of the scrum but it is a forward step. There is a collective responsibility for coaches, players and administrators to make the scrum a positive, fair and, above all, safe contest. Match officials will be stricter when refereeing the existing law.”

Here, Monsieur Lapasset is very correct. The responsibility is of ALL stakeholders.  I’m glad to hear “match officials will be stricter, Will they?

RFU Community Rugby Medical Director Dr Mike England, a member of the advisory Scrum Steering Group, said: “The RFU puts a high priority on the welfare of our players at all levels of the game. As with our recent Headcase education programme about concussion injuries, this announcement is an excellent example of how our scientific research into injury prevention can help inform developments in the laws of the game in a sensible way – without affecting the spirit in which rugby is played.

“The RFU is proud to be a key part of this work on the scrum engagement technique as part of its wider programme of player welfare and safety initiatives.”

The RFU has no idea about what technique to apply to the new EXPERIMENTAL RULES? At the moment coaches of the Aviva Premiership Competition are up in arms about these changes. How could anyone claim that the mother union is on top of the situation?

I think it would be much better (as in alcoholism, mental illness, etc) to admit not having a clue instead of claiming a false leadership!

I have predicted in March 2013, “In 18-24 months time we will have to go back to the drawing board. Not that I am a defeatist but a realist, have seen the signs since the Pacific Cup Trials (Not good my friend!)

Its’ about time to admit the wide consultation has not been wide enough. Ask the true practitioners (like myself, just one) and study the problem from the four cardinal points not just the welfare which in fact is enforced by the insurance industry.



Enrique Topo Rodriguez ·  Top Commenter · Works at “The ART of Scrummaging” (TAOS)


About toporod

Triple Rugby Union International (1977-1991) The ART of SCRUMMAGING - 2013 Gold Medal Winning Author - [IPPY] - 2014 Silver Medal Winner [eLit Awards] - Enthusiastic writer on Rugby and Bipolar Disorders - International Rugby Consultant and Public Speaker - www.expertrugbyconsultants.com
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s