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Referees reminded to leave longer pause

23 January 2013

  • Longer pause needed between "touch" and "set"
  • Anything to help the game can only be positive – Morrison

Rugby scrum

Photo: Getty Images

RFU Head of Professional Referee Development Ed Morrison has underlined the importance of referees leaving a pause between “touch” and “set” at scrum time.

Following the introduction of the "Crouch, Touch, Set" instructions for scrum engagement as part of the current set of Law trials, referees have been reminded by the IRB to ensure that they leave a pause between the "touch" request and the "set" request – the pause is required to ensure that the front row players are steady and are able to locate where they will engage.

The Scrum Steering Group and the Laws Representation Group have reconfirmed that the Trial Law 20.1(g) should read:

  • The referee will call “crouch” then “touch”. The front rows crouch and using their outside arm each prop touches the point of the opposing prop’s outside shoulder. The props then withdraw their arms. Following a pause the referee will then call “set” when the front rows are ready. The front rows may then engage. The “set” call is not a command but an indication that the front rows may come together when ready. Please note the Referee must not say the word “pause”.

Morrison said: “Anything that can help the game, particularly at scrum time, can only be positive. There have been occasions when the scrum process has been rushed by referees and we must ensure that there is a clear pause between the “touch” and “set” calls. We have passed this message on to our referees, both at the professional end of the game, and at the grassroots level.”

A video resource available at, Law Application Guidelines.