Rugby Scrum - Biomechanics

Topics: Spinal cord injury, Rugby sevens, Rugby football Pages: 46 (14317 words) Published: February 22, 2011

‘Biomechanics of the Rugby Scrum’

Research Project for the International Rugby Board (acting through its operating entity IRFB Services (Ireland) Limited)

Updated February 2010

100218 SA UOB Research Agreement - SCHEDULE 2 - THE PROJECT (Final)


Project Title:

Biomechanics of the Rugby Scrum

Investigators (CVs attached as an appendix): University of Bath: Dr Grant Trewartha (Principal Investigator) Lecturer in Biomechanics Health, Sport & Exercise Science School for Health (E: Dr Mike England (Co-Investigator) RFU Community Rugby Medical Officer Hon. Senior Lecturer, School for Health (E: Dr Keith Stokes (Co – Investigator) Lecturer in Exercise Physiology Health, Sport & Exercise Science School for Health (E: Dr Chris Bowen (Co-Investigator) Reader in Materials Science Department of Mechanical Engineering (E:

Structural Statics Ltd:
Alan Kenchington (Co-Investigator) Managing Director Structural Statics Ltd (E:

Note: Any references in this document to “IRB” shall mean IRFB Services (Ireland) Limited the operating entity of the International Rugby Board.

100218 SA UOB Research Agreement - SCHEDULE 2 - THE PROJECT (Final)


‘Biomechanics of the Rugby Scrum’
Competitive scrummaging is a unique and valued component of rugby union. Effective scrummaging requires a pack of forwards to produce forceful and coordinated actions to ensure dominance over the opposition to provide a platform for launching attacks and to disrupt opposition ball. Unfortunately, due to the physical nature of this phase of play there may be associations of the scrum with chronic degenerative injuries to the spine and on very rare occasions catastrophic cervical spinal injuries do occur. Despite this, little is known about the forces and motions involved in rugby scrummaging, with very little objective data being collected since the advent of professionalism over ten years ago. A need has been identified to re-visit the biomechanical demands experienced by players during the rugby scrum, particularly during scrum engagement, with a view to understanding more about how to maximise performance and how to manage injury risk. This research programme will investigate the biomechanics of rugby scrummaging with a view to delivering objective data regarding the techniques and practices required to perform effective and safe scrummaging. The testing will involve forward packs from many different levels of the game (e.g. school, academy, women, community club, elite club and international) from as many different parts of the rugby playing world as possible. Information will be obtained on the individual and combined forces being generated during scrum engagement and the secondary shove as well as the body motions which accompany effective and safe scrummaging. The testing will look at how the measured variables alter due to different scrum engagement and binding techniques and will also highlight any differences between machine-based scrummaging and live scrummaging against an opposition pack. The Project Outcome Objectives are to: • To establish the biomechanics of different scrummaging techniques to assess potential injury risk • To identify playing, coaching and match official techniques that provide for effective scrummaging with a reduced risk of serious injury to players • To provide data and information to enable Law amendments to be considered in relation to the scrum This research will provide information on the biomechanical demands placed on players during the normal process of scrummaging under different conditions. From this, it will be possible for individual players, coaches and referees along with governing bodies to make informed decisions on how best to perform effective scrummaging whilst appropriately managing any reasonable risk involved.

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