12 The Scrum

When formed 1. A scrum is formed to restart play whenever play is not being restarted with a kick off, a drop-out (Section 8), a penalty kick (Section 13) or a play-theball (Section 11).

Formation of Scrum 2. To form a scrum not more than three forwards of either team shall interlock arms and heads and create a clear tunnel at right angles to the touch line.
The forward in the centre of a front row (i.e. the hooker) shall bind with his arms over the shoulders of the two supporting forwards. Not more than two second row forwards on each team shall pack behind their respective front rows by interlocking arms and placing their heads in the two spaces between the hooker and his front row forwards. The loose forward of each team shall pack behind his second row forwards by placing his head in the space between them. All forwards must pack with their bodies and legs at right angles to the tunnel and the upper parts of their bodies horizontal. Once the ball has been put in the scrum no other player can lend his weight to it.

Scrums Both prop forwards- on the side where the ball is put into the scrum, MUST have their outside feet forward and the halfback must feed the ball into the scrum using the space between their feet. All players must remain in the scrum until the ball is out of the scrum.

Number of backs and players in scrum 3. No more than six players on each team shall assist in the formation of a scrum and when the ball is in the scrum no more than seven players of each team shall act as backs.

Pushing 4. It is permissible for forwards to push once the scrum has been correctly formed but if it moves an appreciable distance to the disadvantage of any one team before the ball is put in then the Referee shall order the scrum to reform in its original position.

Loose Head and Put-in 5. (a) At the scrum, the non-offending team shall have the loose head and put-in.

(b) In the case of a mutual infringement, the attacking team shall have the loose head and the
put-in.

(c) Where the ball is kicked from the start or a restart of play and finds touch other than on the full after travelling the prescribed distance the kicking team shall be deemed to be the non-offending team.

(d) Where a player kicks the ball in general play from any point in the area bounded by his own dead ball line, 40 metre line and the touch lines and the ball finds touch, otherwise than on the full, at a point on the touchline between the opponents’ 20 metre line and goal line the kicker’s team shall be deemed to be the non-offending team.

(e) Where a player kicks or passes the ball in general play and the ball enters touch after accidentally striking an opponent the team of the player who passed or kicked the ball shall be deemed to be the offending team.

Put-in or Feeding the Scrum 6. (a) The ball shall be put into the scrum from the Referee’s side by holding it in a horizontal position with a point in each hand and rolling it along the ground into the tunnel formed by the opposing front row forwards.

(b) The ball shall not be put in before the scrum has been correctly formed.

(c) There shall be no undue delay in putting the ball into the scrum.

(d) The player putting the ball in shall not hesitate or dummy and after putting it in he shall immediately retire behind his own pack of forwards.

Other players 7. The scrum half of the team not having the put-in shall retire immediately behind his last row of forwards. All other players outside the scrum, other than the scrum half putting the ball in, shall retire five metres or more behind the last row of forwards of their
respective teams in the scrum and shall remain so until the ball has emerged correctly from the scrum.

Forwards in 8. When the ball is in the scrum it can only be played Scrum with the foot. The front row forwards shall not advance their feet into the tunnel or have one foot raised before the ball is put in or strike for the ball before the hookers.
A hooker may strike for the ball with either foot once it has contacted the ground in the tunnel.
After the hookers have struck for the ball the other forwards in the scrum may kick or heel the ball.
No player shall wilfully collapse a scrum or wilfully have any part of him other than his feet in contact with the ground.
A player shall not wilfully delay the correct formation of a scrum.

Ball in Play 9. To be in play, the ball must emerge from the scrum after first emerging from between and behind the inner feet of the second row forwards.
If the ball does not emerge correctly and the fault cannot be attributed to any one team then it should be put into the scrum once again.

Where formed 10. If a scrum is ordered it shall normally be formed where the breach of Laws occurs. If such breach is within twenty metres of a touch line or ten metres of a goal line the scrum shall be brought in twenty metres from the touch line and ten metres from the
goal line.

Scrum wanders 11. If a penalty kick is awarded relating to a scrum offence and the scrum has wandered from its original position, the mark is where the scrum was first
formed.

Scrum wheels 12. If the ball emerges correctly from the scrum it is in play even though the scrum has wheeled. Any forward can detach himself from the scrum to gather or kick the ball. Any back can similarly play it provided he remained behind the scrum until the ball emerged.

NOTES

Attacking player 1. When an attacking player, in possession of the ball, is unable to ground the ball in the opponent’s in-goal, play is restarted with a play-the-ball ten metres from the goal line opposite where the player was held. The attacking player held up will play the ball and the tackle count will continue except after the fifth play the ball when play will restart with a handover (Section 11, Law 7).

Loose Arm 2. Referees must ensure that a hooker does not pack with a loose arm.

Depleted pack 3. The 3-2-1 formation is compulsory if six forwards pack down. If injuries deplete the team, the back three forwards may be withdrawn to give 3-2-0, 3-1-0 or 3-0-0 formations (subject to there being no more than seven backs – see para 3 above). There should always be at least three forwards packing down.

Forward withdrawing 3. A forward may detach himself from the scrum at any time provided there are not already seven players acting as backs on his team. If the ball emerges from the scrum between the legs of the second row forwards, the loose forward may detach himself from the scrum and pick up the ball.

Pushing 4. To avoid unnecessary reforming of scrums, the Referee should restrain the opposing packs from joining together until the ball is available and can be put into the scrum without
delay.

Offending Team 5. The ‘offending’ team is the team which stops the play by a forward pass, knock-on, kick to touch, etc.
If, following a mutual infringement, a scrum is formed exactly on the halfway line the team last in possession of the ball in play is deemed to be the ‘non-offending’ team.

Referee’s side 6. (a) The Referee may stand on either side of the scrum at his discretion. It is advisable to favour the blind side.

Retiring Scrum half (d) Assuming the ball has been correctly scrummaged it is permissible for the scrum half to pick up the ball in the act of retiring providing he commenced to retire
immediately after putting the ball in. As the scrum half who puts the ball in must retire behind his own forwards it should, in the event of the opposing team winning possession, normally give him very little chance of tackling the opposing scrum half. If the latter is tackled in possession the Referee should ensure that the scrum half who puts the ball in is indeed retiring behind his forwards.

Hookers 8. Hookers striking prematurely is one of the more common scrum offences. If one hooker strikes prematurely and escapes penalty the other hooker will be tempted to commit the same offence. Referees should endeavour to detect and punish the initial offender.

Handling in scrum 9. The players’ feet are continually moving in a scrum and it is not easy to define accurately the exact moment when the ball can be considered to be truly “out” of the scrum.

Offending Pack take up correct position 10. It is the responsibility of the pack of the offending team to take up the correct position for a scrum. The opposing pack of forwards will then move up to form the scrum.
In the case of a scrum following a mutual infringement it is the responsibility of the defending pack to take up the correct position for the scrum.

Butting Front Row Forwards who butt violently in the course of forming a scrum should be penalised.

40/20 rule When a kick in general play and from inside a team’s 40 metre zone, finds touch (other than on the full) in the opposition’s 20 metre zone, the resulting scrum will be fed by the kicking team which will also have the loose head.