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Man of Kent

The Slow Death of the Rugby League Scrum

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Super League will resume next month without scrums, ostensibly on health grounds.

The fact rugby league can ditch them even temporarily shows how peripheral to the game they are these days. 

In truth, the scrum is a glorified play-the-ball. They are no more than vestigial, a coccyx bone, evidence of our ancestors and evolution.

My view is rugby league is Homo sapiens and rugby union is Homo neanderthal, and further evolution of our game away from the other code should be welcomed.

I expect they won’t be missed.

But should they return? 
If so, why?

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8 minutes ago, Man of Kent said:

Super League will resume next month without scrums, ostensibly on health grounds.

The fact rugby league can ditch them even temporarily shows how peripheral to the game they are these days. 

In truth, the scrum is a glorified play-the-ball. They are no more than vestigial, a coccyx bone, evidence of our ancestors and evolution.

My view is rugby league is Homo sapiens and rugby union is Homo neanderthal, and further evolution of our game away from the other code should be welcomed.

I expect they won’t be missed.

But should they return? 
If so, why?

I'd not miss them if they didn't come back. But it does mean the game will have far fewer natural pauses and that will make it even more demanding to play.

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Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life. (Terry Pratchett)

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7 minutes ago, gingerjon said:

I'd not miss them if they didn't come back. But it does mean the game will have far fewer natural pauses and that will make it even more demanding to play.

Can`t imagine League without them. There is still occasionally the big push to win one against the feed ,which is quite exciting to see.

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i think they should be brought back with a few changes 

1 all  six forwards  named should pack down instead of hiding stand off who cant tackle  at loose forward 

2 ball should be put in tunnel not back of second rows leg so you can have  push to win one against the feed ,

3  when #### awarded should always pack down on a imaginary line in the middle of the park  running between the posts    so teams have two sides to attack and defend instead of all lining up on one side of the scrum

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I haven’t kept up with the scrum issue but I understand it as been removed for virus related purposes which imo is hogwash.  If it’s safe to play then that’s it.  There will be enough close contacts to breath in airborne globules and virus (if any) on skin/hair/shorts/boots/ball etc.

Take the scrums away and the game would become too quick and frantic.

 

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Haven't we had a few of these scrum threads in the last couple of months? Maybe we should kill off the scrum permanently to stop threads about them.

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I'd prefer them back, all-be-it with changes.

Game seems to be slowing moving towards (below head level) basketball... wonder were it will be in 5-10 with more tinkering to speed play and keep it flowing up and down the pitch

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1 hour ago, Man of Kent said:

Super League will resume next month without scrums, ostensibly on health grounds.

The fact rugby league can ditch them even temporarily shows how peripheral to the game they are these days. 

In truth, the scrum is a glorified play-the-ball. They are no more than vestigial, a coccyx bone, evidence of our ancestors and evolution.

My view is rugby league is Homo sapiens and rugby union is Homo neanderthal, and further evolution of our game away from the other code should be welcomed.

I expect they won’t be missed.

But should they return? 
If so, why?

It's the other way around, the play the ball is a lesser scrum. Always was in a sense as the play the ball was initially introduced as a 2 man (tackled player opposed by marker defender) scrum with the marker defender being able to strike for the ball with the foot like the hooker in a full (6 v 6) scrum. Only later was the ability to strike for the ball outlawed. The previous method of restart before the play the ball was introduced following a tackle had been to form a full scrum each time.

The degeneration of the scrum to the non-contest it is today is a factor that may lead to it never coming back as it is no longer a key factor in competition for possession as once it was. I suppose it will depend on what effect the removal of scrums has on the games in practice during the remainder of this season as to whether it is decided to either bring them back or make the removal permanent.

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The scrum has been allowed to disintegrate into a complete farce by the authorities and officials . It’s an embarrassment because it’s been allowed to be . Coaches have joined in by the positioning of players at them .So here we are . A scrum was a contest for the ball , if there’s one of those now the refs head explodes and he doesn’t know what to do . A scrum should be a contest again with a proper feed and actual proper forwards in it .... and backs who are set up to make something of an attacking chance , but if noones bothered and it continues as this joke then it will wither away not to be missed . We now have Junior Paulo at stand off . We’ve let it get to where we are

Edited by DavidM
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My personal view is that older supporters, such as myself, tend to look back on scrums as being from some sort of golden age. My recollection of the last c20 years of scrums, however, is that they were a complete shambles, almost impossible to referee properly without the game lasting for 2+ hours and penalised seemingly arbitrarily. They were, in fact, detrimental to the whole RL spectacle and, certainly via televised games, a source of ridicule of the game.

Wind forward to the present day and I also believe that the sheer athleticism of the modern day RL player would make "proper" scrums pretty well impossible without there being some very serious injuries as a result.

I would like to see scrums retained, albeit in our current artificial form, as they do provide a brief pause from the usual frenetic progress of the game. Without them and with the advent of the "six more" rule we will be in danger of becoming a glorified form of touch rugby, in my opinion, of course.

Edited by Blind side johnny
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Sport, amongst other things, is a dream-world offering escape from harsh reality and the disturbing prospect of change.

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Good riddance to an archaic restart thats no longer relevant in Rugby League.

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Personally, I don't see that scrums as we currently have them add anything much to the game - a chance for a small rest is about it. Therefore I don't think we will miss them as the rest of this season plays out - but let's judge that as we watch the season and at the end of it.

There's a big but coming though... BUT, we all know that as far as rule changes go the English game these days tends to just fall into line with whatever the NRL does, and no-one seems keener on that than Robert Elstone. So, even if we play out this season and decide it was a positive change, unless the movers and shakers in the NRL see it and decide to adopt the change as well, I think we'll be back to 'as you were' on scrums come next season.

 

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4 hours ago, redjonn said:

I'd prefer them back, all-be-it with changes.

Game seems to be slowing moving towards (below head level) basketball... wonder were it will be in 5-10 with more tinkering to speed play and keep it flowing up and down the pitch

Always thought that basketball needs tackling to make it more interesting.

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8 minutes ago, mrfranco said:

There's a big but coming though

Franco , what`s with the picture of the moose on your profile?

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5 minutes ago, The Rocket said:

Franco , what`s with the picture of the moose on your profile?

It's due to time spent in Scandinavia (and Canada) when I was a much younger man!!

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3 hours ago, Blind side johnny said:

My personal view is that older supporters, such as myself, tend to look back on scrums as being from some sort of golden age. My recollection of the last c20 years of scrums, however, is that they were a complete shambles, almost impossible to referee properly without the game lasting for 2+ hours and penalised seemingly arbitrarily. They were, in fact, detrimental to the whole RL spectacle and, certainly via televised games, a source of ridicule of the game.

Wind forward to the present day and I also believe that the sheer athleticism of the modern day RL player would make "proper" scrums pretty well impossible without there being some very serious injuries as a result.

I would like to see scrums retained, albeit in our current artificial form, as they do provide a brief pause from the usual frenetic progress of the game. Without them and with the advent of the "six more" rule we will be in danger of becoming a glorified form of touch rugby, in my opinion, of course.

People used to have belief in the premise of the scrum like they did the tooth fairy. And some still do despite abundant extant footage graphically illustrating the debacle they mostly were.

Quite apart from the nonsensical mess, the scrum as a contest for possession never fitted with limited tackles. The combination all but guaranteed a stoppage and an eyesore after every six plays, either by law or by the ball being routinely banged over the sideline.

If, after the introduction of limited possession, we had defined the contest differently, similar to that of the RU scrum, where it was about pushing against the feed rather than striking against the head, things might not have degenerated to the uncontested futility we now have.

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6 hours ago, Lowdesert said:

I haven’t kept up with the scrum issue but I understand it as been removed for virus related purposes which imo is hogwash.  If it’s safe to play then that’s it.  There will be enough close contacts to breath in airborne globules and virus (if any) on skin/hair/shorts/boots/ball etc.

Take the scrums away and the game would become too quick and frantic.

 

Agree on both points, mate. If it's not safe to have scrums it's not safe to play.

Disappointed that when the game resumes it's going to be as Rugby League Lite but the scrum will be back I'm sure of that.

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Old Faithful we never lose at Wembley

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Less scrums = less stoppages = better for the fitter players = advantage Australia !

I think scrums should remain but not in the modern style of just passing the ball from scrum-half to loose-forward and with the rest of the forwards breaking from the pack as soon as the ball is put in so they are back in the defensive line for the first tackle.

I have said before that I think that if ONLY the scrum-half was allowed to pick up the ball at the base of the scrum then it would take more time for it to emerge (beacuse the scrum-half would have to get to the back of the pack after putting the ball in) and the opposing forwards would have to stay packed down until it did. Furthermore we might also see more of the former tactic of keeping the ball inside the scrum at the loose-forward's feet and pushing forward - that would again also mean the opposing pack couldn't break away too early in case they did.

It would also mean that forwards actually have to push in the scrums and hence use up some strength.

 

Edited by RL does what Sky says
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7 hours ago, POR said:

i think they should be brought back with a few changes 

1 all  six forwards  named should pack down instead of hiding stand off who cant tackle  at loose forward 

2 ball should be put in tunnel not back of second rows leg so you can have  push to win one against the feed ,

3  when #### awarded should always pack down on a imaginary line in the middle of the park  running between the posts    so teams have two sides to attack and defend instead of all lining up on one side of the scrum

I fully agree with the first two points but not the third.  The advantage of a scrum is greatest when it's closest to one sideline, because then there's more space for the team which wins the scrum to use.

 

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18 minutes ago, Big Picture said:

I fully agree with the first two points but not the third.  The advantage of a scrum is greatest when it's closest to one sideline, because then there's more space for the team which wins the scrum to use.

 

disagree if you force the six players not involved in the #### to split into  two and cover 30 yards or so on either side it will give you a lot more space to attack and unlike now  the defence wont know which side the balls going to be run

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I have to admit I miss the proper scrums ,but these uncontested things are an embarrassment. Why didnt they abolish the scrums instead of having this charade . What concerns me though if they do permanently abolish the scrums would it end there ? Would they then start to look at reducing the teams from 13 to say 11 ? 


 Soon we will be dancing the fandango
FROM 2004,TO DO WHAT THIS CLUB HAS DONE,IF THATS NOT GREATNESSTHEN i DONT KNOW WHAT IS.

JAMIE PEACOCK

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49 minutes ago, Big Picture said:

I fully agree with the first two points but not the third.  The advantage of a scrum is greatest when it's closest to one sideline, because then there's more space for the team which wins the scrum to use.

 

  Me too.Scrums give a team chance to regroup and canny coaches often had moves from a scrum.What was better than seeeing a Scrum Half work the blind side.But when he tried it again the loose forward clattered him.Never mind scrums there are not many proper Loose Forwards in todays game.

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7 hours ago, wiganermike said:

It's the other way around, the play the ball is a lesser scrum. Always was in a sense as the play the ball was initially introduced as a 2 man (tackled player opposed by marker defender) scrum with the marker defender being able to strike for the ball with the foot like the hooker in a full (6 v 6) scrum. Only later was the ability to strike for the ball outlawed. The previous method of restart before the play the ball was introduced following a tackle had been to form a full scrum each time. 

Absolutely, Mike, but that was 114 years ago.

As you say, the scrum has deteriorated to a point where it is no longer a set-piece contest for possession.

But I would argue that it is the beauty of the modern day rules of rugby league - they compel aides to attack. In that regard, scrums are an anachronism. 

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On 10/07/2020 at 17:11, fieldofclothofgold said:

I have to admit I miss the proper scrums ,but these uncontested things are an embarrassment. Why didnt they abolish the scrums instead of having this charade . What concerns me though if they do permanently abolish the scrums would it end there ? Would they then start to look at reducing the teams from 13 to say 11 ? 

Agreed. Scrums are one of the facets that makes our game different to others although I certainly wouldn't want to return to the way scrums were in say, the 1960s/70s which saw the hookers almost sat on the floor.

However today's scrums have gone too far the other way and are just a farce with the ball just being passed from scrum-half to loose-forward while the rest of the forwards hardly bend their backs and immediately breakaway as soon as the ball is fed.

If we agree that the "non-offending" team should have any advantage at the scrum (as they currently do at every scrum these days) then why not put the ball into the middle of the tunnel but only allow the non-offending hooker to strike for it ?

That would still keep the same advantage as they have now but at least it would make the scrums appear more worthwhile, as would my other suggestion that only the scrum-half can pick up the ball at the base of the scrum - therefore ensuring the forwards stay packed down for longer and are not immediately back in the defensive line before the first tackle is made.

Edited by RL does what Sky says
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8 hours ago, DavidM said:

The scrum has been allowed to disintegrate into a complete farce by the authorities and officials . It’s an embarrassment because it’s been allowed to be . Coaches have joined in by the positioning of players at them .So here we are . A scrum was a contest for the ball , if there’s one of those now the refs head explodes and he doesn’t know what to do . A scrum should be a contest again with a proper feed and actual proper forwards in it .... and backs who are set up to make something of an attacking chance , but if noones bothered and it continues as this joke then it will wither away not to be missed . We now have Junior Paulo at stand off . We’ve let it get to where we are

Would someone who played open-side prop in the good old scrum days explain how it was, when the opposition were supposed to have the loose head, he managed to get himself and his hooker in front and so far forward that the hooker`s boot prevented the ball travelling further than an inch when the half released it. 

Until proven wrong my assumption, based on many painful observations, remains that it happened because the front rows did not bind and everyone in the front row was not where he ought to be.

Scrum believers always insisted that the ball should be put in the tunnel. What tunnel? All I remember was two hookers sat on top of each other where a tunnel should have been.

There still ought to be a value in pushing against the feed, but teams can be forgiven for not bothering when, because of the angle of feed, the ball is in and out so quickly. We went from it being unacceptable to feed your own feet to being perfectly acceptable to feed the loose forward.

There ought to be something in between where we ban striking against the head, but require the half to feed his hooker, so the ball is in long enough to make a push against the feed worthwhile as disruption, and where the hooker has to make contact with the ball for it to be regarded as in play. This encourages the feeding team to pack with proper forwards to resist any push.

If we want something better than we currently have we must finally abandon the contest for possession idea and devise the scrum rules as a contest for the quality of possession.

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