In one of the roughest sports in the world we are fed images of clothesline hits, thunderous tackles and, of course, the mob of ogres, none of which appear to be going for the ball. That mob is known as the rugby scrum and can lead to the possession that wins or loses a match. Here’s how it all goes down, with the help of CSU’s 8-man, Logan Collins.
When does it happen?
When a player loses the ball on a tackle, drops a pass while running or makes a forward pass, it is called a “knock on.” The opposing team may have a window of time for an advantageous move, but if possession is not gained in time the whistle will blow indicating a scrum. The team that did not commit the knock on will be able to put the ball into the scrum.
“The point is to pass back and gain possession,” Collins said. “It’s basically 50-50, but really the team putting the ball down has the better chance of gaining the possession.”
Who are the players?
Eight players from each team engage in the scrum. This leaves a ninth player, called the scrum-half, and six backs (there are 15 players per side on the field during play). The eight involved; a front row of three, a second row of two, a pair of flankers and an 8-man, all have specific tasks.
“It’s a combo of pushing the other team back and kicking the ball back to your teammates,” Collins said.
The front three are the props, which will bind on to either side of the hooker.
“All of the weight is on the hooker,” Collins said.
Behind them are the two locks who will first engage with each other then fill the gaps of the front line as they bind on to them.
On the sides of the locks are the flankers.
“The flankers will bind on to the locks with their inside arm and push the props with their outside shoulder,” added Collins. “They are key for defense; if the other team wins, they need to be able to tackle.”
The 8-man is generally the only player to pick the ball up in a scrum. But before any possession is controlled, the 8-man will push behind the locks.
“Set plays can come out of the scrum where the 8-man can either run, or pass to a back,” explains Collins.
This was just an introduction to the scrum. To see the real thing check out the CSU men’s rugby team as they battle the Denver Highlanders Sunday at 11 a.m. on the intramural fields.