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pieces are a way of restarting the game after the ball has gone out of
play or an infringement has occurred. As the major winners of
possession, the forwards are involved in the set pieces.
a player kicks, fumbles or carries the ball off the field of play –
into touch – a lineout is awarded to the opposition. The forwards then
form two opposing lines a metre apart, where the ball went out, and the hooker
throws it back into play. The hooker must throw the ball straight
between the two lines and deliver it from behind the head, so players
from both sides can compete equally for possession by jumping for the
ball. It is one area where towering second rows and back row forwards can dominate.
scrum is one of the purest examples of teamwork and confrontation in
rugby. Each team’s eight forwards bind together and try to push the
opposition eight backwards in order to gain possession. The scrum half of the team with possession puts the ball into the channel between both sets of forwards and as the teams push, the two hookers
compete for the ball, attempting to hook it back to the rear of the
scrum using their feet. Once it reaches the back of the scrum, the
scrum half can retrieve it and continue play. Meanwhile, the forwards
must stay fully bound to each other until the ball is out.
be successful in the scrum, a team’s pack of forwards must combine
flawless technique with an abundance of raw power. At international
level, each team will be applying around three and a half tons of
pressure during the scrum.
Photo: Getty Images
To form a scrum, the hooker binds by taking hold of a prop under each arm, while the second rows place their heads in the spaces between the props’ and hooker’s hips. In the front row, the loose-head prop has one side of their head free when engaging opposition front row, and the tight-head prop has both sides in the scrum. The flankers – the open-side flanker on the side of the pitch with most space and the blind-side flanker on the side with less space – then bind onto either side, with the No.8 binding by placing their head between the two second rows’ hips.
team with possession are said to 'have the feed' in the scrum, which is
an advantage. The scrum half puts the ball into the channel between the
opposing front rows from the side of their loose-head prop. This makes
it easier for his hooker to hook the ball back to his side of the scrum
with the right foot. Once the ball comes out of the back of the scrum
at the No.8’s feet, he or she can pick it up, or the scrum half
will retrieve it and open play resumes.