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J Sports Sci. 1990 Spring;8(1):47-60.

The kinetics of rugby union scrummaging.

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Department of Human Movement Science, University of Wollongong, Australia.


Two rugby union forward packs of differing ability levels were examined during scrummaging against an instrumented scrum machine. By systematically moving the front-row of the scrum along the scrum machine, kinetic data on each front-row forward could be obtained under all test conditions. Each forward pack was tested under the following scrummaging combinations: front-row only; front-row plus second-row; full scrum minus side-row, and full scrum. Data obtained from each scrum included the three orthogonal components of force at engagement and the sustained force applied by each front-row player. An estimate of sub-unit contributions was made by subtracting the total forward force on all three front-row players from the total for the complete scrum. Results indicated the primary role of the second-row appeared to be application of forward force. The back-row ('number eight') forward did not substantially contribute any additional forward force, and added only slightly to the lateral and vertical shear force experienced by the front-row. The side-row contributed an additional 20-27% to the forward force, but at the expense of increased vertical forces on all front-row forwards. Results of this investigation are discussed in relation to rule modification, rule interpretation and coaching.

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