Scrum Engagement Trial- Notes from Richard Every

Positioning on the far side allows you to manage the defensive loosehead.

Positioning on the far side allows you to manage the defensive loosehead.


The New Scrum Trial process has proven to have some teething problems. USA Rugby High Performance Referee Manager, Richard Every, who was the manager for the IRB Women’s Nations Cup recently held from July 30th – August 10th, has the following to share with referees.


Ensure both teams are level. If not bring up the lower team that is normally the defensive team as it is more difficult to hook the lower the scrum is. MANAGE / Free Kick

The Loosehead has to be facing forward and square (not with feet and body at a 45º angle. Mostly this is the defensive Loosehead. MANAGE

Loosehead right shoulder must be “out”/”square”, not tucked under the hooker. MANAGE


Loosehead must not bind low on the Tighthead’s body and pull them out. Penalty Kick

Tightheads will bind short (by the Loosehead’s armpit) to protect themselves.


Have to have patience and ensure the scrum is square and steady before you say “Yes 9” – your instinct will be to “get on with it”, but say “hold”, or “square” or “steady” to get compliance.

Often the defensive scrum will work a 15º left shoulder, straighten it up. Free Kick

The Scrumhalf has to be in the middle, where the 2 front rows meet, not on their team’s side of the scrum. MANAGE PRE-PUT IN / Free Kick

Defensive Scrumhalf sometimes leans on the putting in Scrumhalf – keep them apart. MANAGE PRE PUT IN/ Free Kick

“YES 9”

It appears that the Loosehead has all the power and it’s easier for the scrum to wheel/turn clockwise, and very easy to walk the scrum around/illegally wheel the scrum. Penalty Kick

Allow the Scrumhalf a moment to put in the ball (1-2s, not 5s). If you expect the Scrumhalf to put it in immediately when you say “Yes 9”, the defensive scrum will read this and push immediately on “Yes 9”. Free Kick

If you see the defensive scrum move forward at a 45º angle you should notice the defensive Loosehead boring in and possibly the attacking Tighthead’s back bulging or they will pop out of the scrum. Penalty Kick

The TH can still bring their arm in to twist the Loosehead and take the scrum down. Penalty Kick

Note : As the defensive Loosehead seems to be the biggest issue I would suggest standing on the non putting in side, but give yourself room to monitor the feed.

The key is to have patience and make sure that all comply in each process, especially being square and steady before allowing the put in.


RICHARD EVERY | High Performance Referee Manager | USA Rugby

Also review the 2013 SCRUM TRIAL – Notes for Referees and Coaches


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