Understanding the Rugby Scrum

Tim Hornibrook, former executive director of the Macquarie Group, has travelled to every continent on earth with the exception of Antarctica. In addition to his home country of Australia, Tim Hornibrook has lived in a number of different countries and as a result has been fortunate enough to experience first hand a variety cultures. Playing the sport of rugby union afforded Tim Hornibrook many of these opportunities.

As evidenced by the nearly half a million players registered with USA Rugby, including nearly 70,000 high school students, rugby is a growing sport that might one day join soccer and basketball as challengers to the popularity of football and baseball. While many Americans are likely unaware of the specifics of the game of rugby, the concept of the scrum may be familiar to some sport enthusiasts. Scrums essentially restart a game of rugby after a rule infraction or some other stoppage of play, provided that neither team had a specific advantage prior to the stoppage.

A scrum is comprised of eight forwards from each team, generally arranged in a tight 3-4-1 formation and lined up facing one another at close proximity. The scrum sequence consists of four parts, each marked by a word. When the match official orders a crouch, players assume their positions. At the command to touch, players on opposite ends of the scrum touch each others’ shoulders, indicating the appropriate closeness. Next, the official will pause, ensuring that both sides are balanced and stable to begin the scrum. Finally, the official calls for the players to engage, and the teams come together to fight for possession.

Having played rugby union at the junior national level for Australia, Tim Hornibrook then had the opportunity to live and play the game in the USA, Japan, and Hong Kong.


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