Analysis: Could new scrum law trial solve rugby’s greatest problem?
The International Rugby Board have come up with a simple, yet hopefully effective, change to the laws.
As South Africans, we tend to assume that we follow the trends of countries such as Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Not so in this case…
The medical section of the South African Rugby Union (SARU) we ahead of their time of using scientific evidence to revise scrum laws within South Africa. Just four months later, SARU’s brave call has been vindicated, with the IRB following suit.
For a full link to the paper where these evidence is outlined, go to the following link: http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/3/2/e002475.full.pdf+html. In short, this paper showed that Rugby-related catastrophic injuries occur more often in adult (senior) players than in junior players in South Africa. The hooker playing position and scrum phase of play also account for a disproportionately large amount of all catastrophic injuries. Given the fact that the scrum occurs relatively infrequently when compared to a tackle event, the scrum would appear to carry a very high inherent risk of catastrophic injury. Almost all of these scrum injuries occurred either in the engagement phase or by a collapsed scrum (caused by a poor engagement).
Reasons for the higher rate of catastrophic injury in adult players could be related to the “weekend warrior” phenomenon. This describes the player who does not attend practice during the week and arrives 10 minutes before kick off on Saturday afternoon. The under-19 scrum law variations, no pushing more than 1.5 metres and no wheeling of the scrum, also make the scrum environment safer for junior players.
See on www.walesonline.co.uk