30 minutes to put together a scrummaging session

You have only 30 minutes to put together your scrum for your new rugby team’s first game of the season. What can you realistically focus on in such a short time?


First, you need to make sure the whole scrum can maintain the right pushing position. If you have a scrum machine, then line the players up and get them to engage. Otherwise, use two players standing up for a player to bind on to.

The picture below gives you the ideal body positions.

Scrum session body position tips


The engagement holds the key to a good scrum, so it is likely that most of your time will be spent making sure your front three are happy and secure with this skill.

An efficient scrum needs the hooker in a position to strike the ball through the loose head (left hand side) prop’s feet.

Experiment with the binding and engagement for five minutes with all the options being tried out. As a rule of thumb, both props’ inside shoulders should be promoted in front of the hooker to protect him on engagement. A couple of strikes at this stage would be useful.


Building a scrum means that a good front row needs four square shoulders from the back row and locks. In which case, a good tip is to build the scrum with these players binding together before binding on to the front row.

How players approach the scrum is something for you to decide. Some rugby coaches prefer the locks to go down on one knee, others to be on their haunches before engagement.

At this stage it is worth swapping around a few players to cover possible injuries, substitutions and perhaps sin bin offences.


The number 8 has an active role to play at the scrum, driving in the lock forwards and keeping them square.

An efficient scrum can bind and be ready for engagement quickly. A couple of minutes of practice, moving around to different parts of the field and binding up, can create cohesion.

If you have the facility, then some cohesive drives and strikes would be helpful, but not too many. Iron out a few deficiencies, but longer term problems will have to be put on hold.


If you make safety implicit in all your scrummaging, then you don’t have to stop and discuss safety every time.


Push or strike? This is the key defensive question at this stage. A powerful hooker may prefer to strike, otherwise your side may opt for an “8 v 6-and-a-1/2”!

That is, you can push with all eight players. Meanwhile, they lose some of their pack-strength since their hooker is striking for the ball and their loose head prop is preoccupied by the gap between their legs for the strike.


You will need one back row move. If you have a well-established back row from previous years, then a couple of rugby moves might be revised.

Otherwise, it is a case of checking that your number eight can pick and drive correctly.


  • Is the front row satisfied with the engagement?
  • Can the hooker strike the ball efficiently?
  • Have the middle four (4, 5, 6, 7) bound effectively to provide the front row with push and stability?
  • Have you got at least one back row move ready for your first game?

Click here for rugby coaching tips to run a great scrummaging session.


Share this
Follow us