This week, in the seventh episode of our video series ‘Rugby 101,’ pro player Neets Gericke teaches us about the scrum, a set piece where the forwards bind together in an ordered formation to push over the ball against an opposing pack. With arms interlocked and heads down, both groups may only push forward when the ball has been put into the scrum.

With help from his fellow forwards, Neets takes us through the setup of each forward as the group packs down to scrum. Beginning with a high and tight bind from the hooker around both props, the front row assures that they will not be split apart by their opposition as the pushing begins. As the locks put their shoulders on and bind to their respective props, they engage tightly to keep the pressure on their front rowers. With flankers, positioning will change depending on who is the blindside flanker, the number six, and who is the openside, the number seven. That being said, their body profiles will stay constant: a tight bind must be made with your lock, along with a brace onto your prop with the shoulder, before the initial hit is made. Flankers must help stabilize their props before the scrum, as well as being aware to break away after the ball has been played. Finally, the Number Eight commands the scrum, controlling the locks before the initial hit. As the ball is put in, the Eight will routinely control the ball at their feet, to inevitably be cleared by a pass, or kept in and driven to earn a penalty.

In a match, the referee will only start his cadence when both packs are square, stable, and stationary. Both forward packs have to stay this way through the cadence, and must not use their hands when the ball is in. All front-rowers must push straight, and the scrumhalf must put the ball in down the middle of the channel. Not abiding by these laws to the scrum will result in either a free kick or a full penalty to the non-offending team.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our masterclass on the game of rugby so far, please be sure to watch the next video of our ‘Rugby 101 series,’ as we go over the backlines role after the set-piece.