The International Rugby Board Council has announced the implementation of a global trial of the “crouch, bind, set” scrum engagement sequence, which is aimed at enhancing player welfare by reducing impact on engagement by up to 25 per cent in elite competition.
Approval of the sequence on player welfare grounds, is coupled with a call for Game-wide commitment from law-makers, match officials, coaches and players to ensure a fair and positive attitude is applied to deal with scrum issues facing the elite level of the Game.
Implementation will begin at the start of the next season in both hemispheres and follows extensive evaluation of the sequence during the recent IRB Pacific Rugby Cup, which indicated the possible delivery of a more stable platform leading to fewer resets and more successful scrums.
In a revision of the ‘crouch, touch, set’ engagement sequence currently being trialled, props will be expected to bind using their outside arm after the referee has called “bind” in the sequence.
The IRB site has text and video to describe what players/coaches and referees should be expecting at each step.
Should this trial become incorporated into Law, the text for Law 20.1(g) and (i) would read:
(g) The referee will call “crouch” and then “bind”. The front rows crouch and using their outside arm each prop must bind. A loose head prop must bind on the opposing tight head prop by placing the left arm inside the right arm of the tight head and gripping the tight head prop’s jersey on the back or side. A tight head prop must bind on the opposing loosehead prop by placing the right arm outside the left upper arm of the opposing loose head prop and gripping the loose head prop’s jersey with the right hand only on the back or side. The props must not grip the opponent’s chest, arm, sleeve or collar. Following a pause, the referee will then call “set” when the front rows are ready. The front rows may then engage. The “set” call is not a command but an indication that the front rows may come together when ready. The sanction for any infringement will be a free kick.
(i) Charging. A front row must not form at a distance from its opponents and rush against them or pull them.