Whether you are a rugby supporter or a total newcomer to the sport, the scrum may well still be something of a mystery. This article will attempt to explain what the scrum is, when it happens and what happens during it.
According to research, the force of a scrum is similar to the impact of charging musk oxen, with just one player able to exert as much as 20,000 Newtons of force at impact. This would partially explain the number of neck and shoulder injuries sustained in rugby.
What is the purpose of the scrum?
The scrum is used as a way of restarting play after a stoppage caused by a minor infringement. These occurrences include:
• when the ball has been knocked-on
• when a player ends up in an offside position, accidentally
• when the ball has not emerged from a ruck or maul. A ruck is where players from both teams close around the ball when it is on the ground and use their feet to try to win/keep possession. A maul is when players are bunched together to try to stop the player with the ball in hand from moving towards the try line.
The scrum is always formed where the initial infringement occurred.
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The ball is thrown in between the two front rows, with the two hookers attempting to get the ball back towards their teammates. Once possession is secured, a team can either try to drive their opponents downfield or they can bring the ball to the back line and resume open play.
Which players contests the scrum?
Only eight players from each team are permitted to take part in the scrum, and it is usually contested by the eight forwards from each side.
What isn’t allowed?
Players aren’t allowed to grab the sleeve of the upper arm or the collar of an opponent’s shirt and any excessive dipping, twisting or collapsing of the scrum will lead to a penalty being given. Penalties can also be awarded for any gouging, prodding, grabbing, or any other conduct considered unsportsmanlike by the referee.