Guest writer David van der Merwe shares his views on the new scrum laws and how it will affect the players and refs.
Having watched the weekend's Currie Cup action and the introduction of the new scrum laws, I was quite surprised. The new laws are not that new after all.
Yes the sequence have changed once again and it makes it easier to set the scrum. It does take away from the hit, but it makes it more steady. Also gives the referee the opportunity to check on the scrum feed. This does take away from the hit and gaining advantage from it.
It is however not much different from how scrums were set in the 70's & 80's. The two packs of forwards in those days would just bind and get the scrum steady for the scrumhalf to feed. No sequence from the referee, but essentially the same us today. More emphasis was given to the front-row's actual technique than pure strength. The feed of course played a big role as well back in those days.
Well today we are moving back to that. Technique playing a role and how good the hooker really is. It was on how well the scrumhalf could place the ball under his own team's feet.
One thing that referees should look at is how the teams actually scrum. As far as the laws go it is still illegal to scrum up. Something the Bulls did well in their match against Western Province. They would dip down and on the second push go up. Pushing the WP front row up and forcing a penalty. Another thing to watch out for is the Hooker lifting his leg before the ball is in.
In essence scrummaging is again an art and not just based on brute strength and size. It is how I remember it when I played rugby. Yes, I played hooker. All 50kg and 1.65m of me at the age of 16-17. My props were a bit bigger but we were not the biggest. Still we were a scrum to reckon with. Because we had the technique of scrumming down to a T. Seldom had a heel against the head, but won at least 2-3 a match.
One thing is sure we will spend less time on resetting of scrums. And we will see more turn overs as teams refine the art once again.
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