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Sorting out scrums

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Sorting out scrums Empty Sorting out scrums

Post by Poorfour Sun 10 Apr 2016, 6:01 pm

The scrum continues to be a problem, with repeated resets and penalties being a lottery. The difficulty is that most collapsed scrums sooner or later result in a penalty, which is a prize worth playing (and cheating) for. But we've also seen that when both teams want to scrummage, we can have games where most of the scrummages are completed.

It seems to me that if we reduced the incentive to cheat, we'd be more likely to have completed scrums and more time with the ball in play.

So my suggestion would be:
- Reduce most "technical" scrum offences to a free kick to the non-offending side. Penalties for dangerous play or clear offences only
- Maximum 2 resets. If it goes down for a third time without a clear offender, free kick to the side with the put-in
- Assistant Refs and TMO empowered to check binding and body angles and advise the referee, with a focus on sequence e.g. first offence counts, so a changed or illegal bind takes precedence over folding
- Referees to enforce the put in.

Do we think that would work, or at least help?

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Post by LondonTiger Sun 10 Apr 2016, 6:40 pm

I think the very first thing they need to do is stop teams pushing before the ball is in. All the wrestling for dominance before the ball is in creates the unstable platform.

Then they can enforce the put in.

I would then create a new penalty award for Technical Offences - like a super free kick, in that you cannot kick for goal but can kick for the corner. After that I would penalise a team whenever they pushed early.

Thus the only full penalties would be for cynical play - ie dropping a scrum close to the line when going back fast (which would be a PT anyway)


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Post by TJ Sun 10 Apr 2016, 8:06 pm

I am pretty much with the op - stop technical offenses being pens and stop the slip being a pen ( for having your feet too far back. One other thing that could be included is a need for both props to have at least one foot forwrd / under their hips so they support their own body weight


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Post by nlpnlp Mon 11 Apr 2016, 1:32 pm

Is there not though complete different interpretation between referees on the scrum - so referee 1 will penalise the loosehead for letting his hips go out and referee 2 will penalise the tighthead for dropping his binding, etc?  Virtually every penalty that is analysed on the telly - the front row 'expert' will disagree with the referee and say the penalised party was hard done to, or it was a 50:50 decision as both players were guilty of an offence.

I am an England fan, but every scrum Mako Vunipola seems to end up flat on his face.  To me it would seem that he is the guilty party, but he somehow ends up getting the penalty at least 50% of the time.

I played in the forwards for many year, so have a slight idea about what is going on in a scrum, but thankfully never played in the front row so don't really understand what they are doing.  I can't think of many referees who are ex forwards, never mind being ex front row players at a decent standard.  Until you get referees and linesman who have a clue what is going on, then scrums will be a lottery.  I don't know whether it is possible to bring on scrum experts for scrums, or use tv images for a scrum expert sitting with the video official - without this then penalties are a lottery as the refs don't have a clue.

I think if you stop penalising 'technical offenses', slips, etc then teams will train to concede that type of offense as they know they probably have a 50:50 chance of winning some kind of free-kick or penalty, and at worse will just give away a free-kick.  The issue that the touch, pause, engage and crouch, bind, set rules were brought in was to get some stability in the scrums before the ball comes in.  This clearly is not working, or the referees are not policing it sufficiently.  Teams are willing to gamble on pushing early as the referee will very often make the scrumhalf put the ball in when the scrum isn't steady to get the game going.  If instead they just said the ball isn't coming in until the scrum is steady and the clock won't be restarted until the ball is in, then there would be no incentive to have unstable scrums.  Currently teams are pushing before the ball comes in, or not taking the hit so it looks like the other team is pushing early - teams seem to spend a lot of time trying to conn the referees, because they don't understand what the front rows are doing.

Another issue is the no 8 holding the ball in at the back of the scrum and waiting for the front rows to collapse, in the expectation that they will get a penalty.  I think there should be more onus on a team to use the ball, and I think too many penalties are awarded because a scrum collapses/breaks up.  Hold the ball in the scrum long enough and there is a very good chance that it will collapse through no fault of anyone.

Unless we can get the officiating right, then I think the only solution is to move to the rugby league pretend scrum, where there is no advantage in the team without the put in cheating as the team with the put in always wins the ball.  At least 16 players would be together in one part of the field to create a bit of space for the backs.  I don't want this, as I believe scrums are a big part of the game, but they need to be fair and competitive, whereas currently they are a lottery, boring and endlessly time consuming.


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Post by robbo277 Mon 11 Apr 2016, 2:53 pm

I think policing the rules we have would be a good start. It's primarily an attitude problem, players and coaches.

It's a set, not a hit. A decent pause after the set and no movement beforehand. Penalise this harshly. If it isn't clear who is doing it, one warning and a reset and then yellow cards (1 for each team) if it happens again.

Get the ball in straight and hook. Simple. Free-kick for the first feed (no warning), penalty for the second, then yellow card. And actually enforce this.

Slight changes I'd introduce are:

If the ball's at the 8s feet and the scrum goes down, call use it. If he doesn't, reset with the feed going to the other team. If the ball's at the 8s feet and the scrum is still, same call (just as you'd call with a stationary maul). The exception to this is when you suspect a deliberate collapse to stop a try, in which case you're calling for penalty tries and yellow cards. Even if you suspect it to be a deliberate collapse 40m out because it was really starting to rumble, just call penalty advantage and say use it.

I'd stop the clock after the first collapse. If both teams are happy to scrum properly, there's no issue and no need to stop the clock, just keep going. If the scrum has to be reset, that's when I'd stop the clock. I'd then restart it when it's out of the scrum.


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