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Scrums, Lineouts, Rucks and Mauls

Jean-Baptiste Elissalde of France passes out of the ruck during the RWC 2007 match against New Zealand

Photo: Getty Images

Across the 48 games of RWC 2007 there was an average of 19 scrums, 31 lineouts and 144 rucks and mauls, giving a total of 194 phase transitions or set pieces per match. According to the data from RWC 2007 a team can expect to be involved in between three and five rucks or mauls per minute of possession.

The exception to this average was the New Zealand team which, during the semi final against France, initiated a record breaking 165 rucks alone. The All Blacks ultimately lost the game despite having comfortably beaten France just nine months earlier in a match where they created just 43 rucks. It is no coincidence that New Zealand were knocked out in their semi final match when 83% of the tries at RWC 2007 were preceded by three or fewer second phases.

Scrums and Lineouts

England and South Africa scrum down during the RWC 2007 final

Photo: Getty Images

The average number of lineouts per game was 31 with a range between 21 and 45. The forwards at RWC 2007 also had to pack down an average of 19 times per game, with a tournament high of 35 scrums in one match, and a low of 12.

Compared to RWC 1995, the number of lineouts in RWC 2007 fell by 16% while the amount of scrummaging was down by 33%. However, this was countered by a 107% increase in the average number of rucks and mauls per game from 69 in 1995 to 144 in 2007.

The data in the table below shows average in-game impact for an elite player and is taken from An Evaluation of the Physical Demands of Elite Rugby Union Using Global Positioning System Tracking Software (PDF 210kB). It first appeared in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research and was authored by Brian Cunniffe, Wayne Proctor, Julien S. Barker and Bruce Davies.

Game impact data by position and half

Variable Back (1st half; 2nd half) Forward
Light impact (5-6g) 349 (168; 169) 563 (201; 317)
Light-moderate (6-6.5g) 328 (152; 171) 398 (174; 188)
Moderate-heavy (6.5-7g) 55 (25; 30) 143 (37; 97)
Heavy (7-8g) 38 (15; 23) 101 (24; 71)
Very heavy (8-10g) 24 (15; 9) 56 (19; 35)
Severe (>10g) 4 (2; 2) 13 (6; 7)
Total no. of impacts 798 (377; 401) 1,274 (461; 715)
 

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