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How To Dominate The Scrum: 3 Fundamentals you have to coach to dominate the scrum

The scrum is a means of restarting play after a stoppage which has been caused by a minor infringement of the laws (for example, a forward pass or knock-on) or the ball becoming unplayable in a ruck or maul. The scrum serves to concentrate all the forwards and the scrum-halves in one place on the field, providing the opportunity for the backs to mount an attack using the space created elsewhere.

Over the years the scrum has become much more than just a restart; it has become an attacking platform for many teams.

Why has the scrum become an attacking platform ?

Well if we think about rugby, the objective for the attacking team is to create an imbalance between the attack and defense. While the scrum itself does not create an imbalance, it could lead to one. A team with a dominating scrum can force an error onto the opposition that can lead to a penalty. A player that is penalized multiple times for an infringement could be yellow carded and thus creating an imbalance in play for 10 minutes. So, this is one reason why the scrum has become an attacking platform for certain teams over the years. A perfect example of this would be the last Rugby World Cup. If you think back to the last world cup a big part of South Africa winning the world cup was thanks to their dominating scrum.

Now I will share 3 fundamentals a team needs for a dominating scrum:

  • Technique

  • Cohesion

  • Alpha

Number 1: Technique

Technique in my is very important if not the most important part of the scrum. I think a lot of players and coaches think a player has to be very strong, but in my personal opinion it is not the only thing a prop needs, without good technique you might never be the best. I would even go as far as saying someone with good technique would probably be better in the scrum than a player who is very strong but has no technique.

A player should have excellent technique and a good understanding of the scrum to successfully dominate his opponent. If, on top of that you have a player that is well conditioned, you have a winning recipe.

Number 2: Cohesion

A scrum is not won by a single individual. To start off you want to build cohesion between your front rows. If they can communicate clearly and work well together, they will become good at problem solving. A well-gelled front row is a dominating front row. Now they alone won’t win the scrum, they need the rest of the pack to follow and work hard behind them. A scrum can only be dominating if all 8 players are working together in perfect harmony.

Number 3: Alpha Mindset

The last point I want to talk about is “A Alpha Mindset- the willingness to dominate”. A player with an Alpha mindset will always want to dominate. That is a valuable trait only if the player can control it. A coach's job is to teach his player to have controlled emotions.There will be occasions where the player can dominate a scrum and there will be occasions where the player has to just ‘hit and stick’. An Alpha will know when to do what, because he has controlled anger.

Now if you want to have an above average scrum. If you want your team to dominate and completely destroy teams, make this your criteria to build yourself a dominant scrum. If you have a scrum with these 3 criterias I guarantee you, your scrum will be a force to be reckoned with.