Rugby Coaching – Scrummage


This activity is perfect for practising speed of disengagement from the scrummage and support when attacking from the back row.


Groups of 13 players with 8 forwards, a scrum half and 4 pad holders are positioned in a grid as illustrated. On the teacher/coach/referee’s command of ‘crouch-touch-pause-engage’ the forwards engage the scrum machine. The scrum-half feeds the ball into the scrum, which is hooked to the No. 8’s feet. The No. 8 (player 8) calls “ready” twice before calling “drive”. The scrum machine is driven backwards and wheeled in a controlled manner counter clockwise. Option 1: The No. 8 picks up and runs to the right at approximately 45 degrees to the scrummage. The first pad moves to obstruct. The No. 8 makes to pass to the right but turns and makes an inside pass to player 6 who has moved to support. Player 6 makes a pop pass to the supporting player 7 who makes contact with pads held by blue 3 and 4. Player 7 sets up the ruck, where player 5 executes a pick and drive to score at the end of the grid. Players return to the start and repeat for a set time or number of repetitions. Option 2: The No. 8 picks up and runs to the right, close to the scrummage. The first pad moves to oppose and the no. 8 goes to ground to simulate a tackle, as the 2nd pad also moves to oppose. Players 6 & 7 ruck out the pads and the scrum-half pops to the right side lock (player 4 shown) in support. The forwards now execute a pick and drive on the remaining pads to score. Players return to the start and repeat for a set time or number of repetitions. Contact pad holders and forwards change roles regularly. (Note: Moves can be practised using a quick channel 1 ball directly to the hands of the No. 8).


Communicate; provide information; scrum half moves early to support position after put in; disengage quickly after No.8 picks up; No.8 adopts wide or narrow running line as required maintaining a low body position; in contact pump legs quickly to generate drive; forwards run deep support lines to come onto the ball from depth; in contact adopt low working positions; disengage quickly after No.8 pick up; aim for quick delivery of the ball from the ruck; Scrummage — Crouch-touch-pause-engage on command of coach/referee; be in position early; bind as one prior to entry; ensure correct binding, feet and body positions; strike ball through correct channel; maintain bind and body position; drive dynamically with legs; disengage quickly after ball has left scrummage, scan and move as required for the team to be effective.


Increase difficulty: Increase size of grid; introduce live scrum opposition and defence; increase number of pads; use small balls. Decrease difficulty: Decrease size of grid; remove scrum machine – binding only; reduce number of players; start with back row only.

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