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Barnes holds scrum law masterclass

19 December 2006

December 19, 2006

International referee Wayne Barnes will be guiding coaches and front-row players through the new scrum laws in Surrey before the first league games under the new rules take place on January 6.

The Internnational Rugby Board's new laws for the adult game come into force on January 1 and will see the implementation of a four stage "crouch, touch, pause, engage" sequence for the initial scrum engagement.

Barnes became England's youngest full-time referee at the age of 25 in April 2005 and is one of four RFU officials on the IRB panel this panel along with Tony Spreadbury, Chris White and Dave Pearson.

The former criminal law barrister will make his case at Sutton & Epsom on Wednesday, January 3 from 7.00pm.

The new rules of engagement are supported by World Cup winner Jason Leonard, who made 114 appearances in the front row for his country and assisted the International Rugby Board's lawmakers.

"This new engagement sequence will standardise the distance the two sets of forwards are apart, reduce the collision at engagement and will assist in ensuring that both sets of forwards are at the best horizontal height possible. This is crucial to the successful engagement of the scrum," said Leonard.

"With the reduced impact and forwards at the correct height we will see an associated improvement in the bind. This should also assist in minimising collapsing of the front row. It also ensures that the scrum remains a true contest which is important for the game."

Anyone who wants to attend the Wayne Barnes workshop at Sutton & Epsom is asked to register with the Surrey Rugby Development Office by emailing

In addition to the masterclass, Surrey Rugby are holding 4 new ELRA courses during the coming months. The first of which is on Sunday 25th February and Sunday 4th March at Surrey University again if anyone is interested contact by email at this again will be attended by a Premiership referee.