Today, we’re going to look at the scrum, a common method for restarting play in rugby. A scrum consists of 8 players from each team pushing against each other, using their feet to retrieve the rugby ball, which has been placed between the 2 pushing groups by the scrum half. These 8 players are called the forward pack. A scrum is a way of restarting the game after a stoppage. There are many reasons for forming a scrum, but the most common reasons are as follows:

  • A player makes a mistake, like passing the ball forward (forward pass) or dropping the ball in a forward direction (knock on).
  • The ball becomes trapped in a ruck or maul and can’t be released..

Forming a scrum:

Each forward pack forming the scrum consists of the following:

  • The front row:  two props (No’s 1 and 3) and one hooker (No. 2). The hooker is in the middle and props are either side of the hooker. They link shoulders and lean forward. The hooker grabs hold of the props around their backs and waists. The props also take hold of the hooker’s back and waist.
  • The second row: two locks (4 and 5) and two flankers (6 and 7). The locks join shoulders and hold each other by the waist. They place their heads in between the props and the hooker. The flankers go either side of the locks and hold onto their waists.
  • The back row: the number eight  (No. 8), who is positioned between the two locks and puts an arm over each lock.

The scrum rules

When the referee blows the whistle, the two teams bind together. This means that the front row players lock heads together, and the props grapple their opposite players by the arm. This creates a tunnel.

The scrum half (No. 9) then puts the ball into the middle of this tunnel. This is called a put in.

To win the ball, a team must push the other team away from the ball. When the ball rolls out of the scrum behind the number eight, the scrum half may pick it up and continue play. However, there are some basic rules that players in the scrum must obey:

  • When the players in the front rows lock heads, they create a line. This is called the middle line. The middle line must be parallel to the goal lines.
  • Players not in the scrum must stay on their side of the middle line, and they must stay five meters away from the number eight’s feet. 
  • Players in the scrum must stay on their feet.
  • Players in the scrum must keep their heads parallel with the hips.
  • Front row players may not kick the ball out of the scrum.
  • The hooker from the team that won the scrum must use his feet to pull – or hook –  the ball backwards. This is known as striking for the ball.
  • The front row and second row cannot touch the ball with their hands.
  • Players in the scrum must not kick the ball.
  • Players in the scrum must not collapse the scrum on purpose.
  • The scrum stops if a player is pulled up or pushed down.
  • A scrum is reset if it turns more than 90 degrees.
  • A scrum is reset if neither team wins the ball.
  • A scrum is reset if a player accidentally kicks the ball out of the scrum.


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