The kinetics of rugby union scrummaging

J Sports Sci. 1990 Spring;8(1):47-60. doi: 10.1080/02640419008732130.


Two rugby union forward packs of differing ability levels were examined during scrummaging against an instrumented scrum machine. By systematically moving the front-row of the scrum along the scrum machine, kinetic data on each front-row forward could be obtained under all test conditions. Each forward pack was tested under the following scrummaging combinations: front-row only; front-row plus second-row; full scrum minus side-row, and full scrum. Data obtained from each scrum included the three orthogonal components of force at engagement and the sustained force applied by each front-row player. An estimate of sub-unit contributions was made by subtracting the total forward force on all three front-row players from the total for the complete scrum. Results indicated the primary role of the second-row appeared to be application of forward force. The back-row ('number eight') forward did not substantially contribute any additional forward force, and added only slightly to the lateral and vertical shear force experienced by the front-row. The side-row contributed an additional 20-27% to the forward force, but at the expense of increased vertical forces on all front-row forwards. Results of this investigation are discussed in relation to rule modification, rule interpretation and coaching.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Athletic Injuries / prevention & control
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Efficiency / physiology*
  • Football*
  • Humans
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Physical Exertion / physiology*
  • Spinal Injuries / prevention & control
  • Sports Medicine