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Where to from here? The high forces during scrum engagement in the modern era is potentially the result of: – A change in scrumming technique – Bigger,

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Presentation on theme: "Where to from here? The high forces during scrum engagement in the modern era is potentially the result of: – A change in scrumming technique – Bigger,"— Presentation transcript:

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4 Where to from here? The high forces during scrum engagement in the modern era is potentially the result of: – A change in scrumming technique – Bigger, heavier players – Faster engagement speeds i.e. the “Hit” Given the very high forces, heavier packs and faster engagement, it is imperative to control the engagement sequence to avoid direct impact on the head What is the purpose of the scrum according to Law? – “to restart play quickly, safely and fairly, after a minor infringement or a stoppage” – Are we doing this with the original intent? Modern scrumming involves a high initial impact or “hit” on engagement, followed by sustained pushing forces throughout the scrum – Is this safe, and does this serve the original purpose of the scrum? – Is this indeed in line with the Laws intended?

5 Where to from here? On 1 January 2007, the CTPE Law was implemented – this was designed to “standardise the distance between opposing packs and to reduce the forces at engagement” – Is this what we are currently doing? – Have the forces at engagement been reduced? – Does the current execution of the scrum limit or increase the risk of catastrophic cervical spinal injury during the “hit”?

6 Where to from here? Some interesting scrum stats: – 1995 – WC Final game was played over 100 minutes – ball in play 32min – 2009 – average Super Rugby ball in play 38 min (14 years to add 6 min!) – Current Super Rugby Average time 3-4 min ball out of play because of resets and penalties due to the scrum – IRE vs. ENG 6N 9 penalties in SCRUMS, total cost to ball in play more than 5 min – What brings people back to watch?

7 Where to from here? According to the IRB Game Analysis Group: – between scrums per game – between 14-29% tries scored from scrum possession – teams retain 83-91% of their own scrum possession With such high retention of ball and so few scrums, is the “hit” still justifiable? And given the risk of permanent catastrophic cervical spinal injury? Especially in the amateur game, which is mass participation based? The Law’s also state: “Each player in the front row and any potential replacement(s) must be suitably trained and experienced” – Is this so? Do we see that at Amateur level rugby? – Who exactly determines this?

8 Where to from here? Reaching a high impact velocity leading to the “hit” at engagement is a result of coaches and players to “beat the opposition to the middle” or generate high force to attempt to limit the opposition’s forward motion (Bath Univ. IRB Scrum Research group) Keep in mind the rebound- or damping effect that a larger “hit” creates, which results in suboptimal force production for a short period of time, before a sustained pushing force has been achieved To a certain extent, the “hit” on engagement is initially counterproductive to sustained pushing forces that follow, especially in an event where domination is determined over the initial few seconds of the ball being put into the scrum An important part of scrumming should be to maximise scrumming force, after the engagement; this would increase the chances of pushing the opposition off the ball

9 Where to from here? Sustained force generation during the scrum is a function of player technique and forward pack cohesion, whereas the force during the engagement is more related to pack weight and speed to the “hit” Sustained pushing force manifests after the ball has been put into the scrum, and largely determines more or less effective scrumming

10 Where to from here? There is great need to manage catastrophic injury risk, and simultaneously maximise performance of the scrum Even though scrum injuries are few, they are the most severe The risk of injury per event in the scrum is the highest of all contact events in the game Because the scrum is a controllable event, it should be more amenable to intervention and to look towards reducing the risk of injury further Preventative strategies of the game must be maximised towards preventing permanent disability or death, and therefore the “hit” should be removed from Amateur rugby

11 Where to from here? Injury prevention should be direct at the following: – The Laws of the scrum (both Amateur and Professional separately) – Techniques of scrumming (both Amateur and Professional separately) – Correct Law interpretation and enforcement by the referees – Coaching of the correct Laws, and interpretations by the coaches – Player skill development – Progressive Long Term Coaching, Refereeing and Player Development Pathways

12 Where to from here? What is the proposed way forward? – Remove the “hit” – Bring back the “scrum” – Relook at what the Laws originally intended – Move to Passive engagement across the board = first prize And if not, then in the interim, at least to the majority of Amateur levels – Passive engagement does not diminish the scrum, it should make it safer, and place more emphasis on scrumming – Should the “hit” be maintained at certain levels, then there should be an abridged version or mini-hit to transition from “no hit” to “full hit” I.e. bring the front rows closer together i.e. ear-to-ear, and have them pre- bound and in their respective channels before the engagement – Clothing modifications?

13 Where to from here? Advantages of Passive engagement: – It removes the hit out of the equation, which will remove a large portion of catastrophic and permanent cervical spinal injuries – Significantly lower compressive forces (about 50% reduction, and potentially more, with a closer setup position) – Significantly lower downward forces (about 20-40% reduction, and potentially more, with a closer setup position) – this will reduce the chances of collapse, and associated catastrophic cervical spinal injury – Less horizontal angle deviation at high and peak forces, which lowers the hazard index – Players are better in alignment to sustain and accommodate the forces generated – Passive engagement can remove high initial impact forces, and does not negatively impact the power generating capacity of the scrum during the actual pushing phase, in fact the sustained pushing forces generated are generally higher than most impact engagement techniques – Passive engagement leads to less angled lateral head, neck and torso movement, and also less downward angles of the head, neck and torso

14 Acknowledgements The Bath University IRB Scrum Research Group – Dr’s Trewartha, Preatoni, Stokes and England The IRB The SA ‘Scrum Smart’ working group – Wayne Viljoen, Clint Readhead, Dawie Theron, Balie Swart, Tappe Henning, Andre Watson, Justin Durandt, Hilton Adonis, Nico Serfontein, Graham Bentz The University of Cape Town and Vrije Universiteit Research groups – Prof Mike Lambert, James Brown, Dr Evert Verhagen, Prof Willem van Mechelen The SARU Medical team The Chris Burger/Petro Jackson Players Fund


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