Here are some thought-provoking words from a Harlequins loosehead prop, and don’t worry—it isn’t a rehash of Joe Marler’s questionable jibes about opponents’ relatives. World Rugby’s New Year’s directives to speed up play include allowing no more than 30 seconds for a scrum to form after the mark is made.
Fin Baxter, a 20-year-old who has taken Marler’s place in Quins’ front row for Sunday’s Premiership match at home to Sale and is a hot tip for future England honors,.
In light of World Rugby’s New Year’s resolutions to speed up play and reduce pregnant pauses, a discussion of the set-piece and its place in modern football is timely.
It has prompted pundits, such as Ben Kay of BT, to consider the possibility that if scrums and line-outs are given too little weight, we might see players with similar build types instead of a game that has traditionally been marketed as being “for all shapes and sizes.”
In the 46-17 loss to Northampton on Sunday, Baxter started for Quins. This game was notable for the frequent verbal hurry-ups that experienced Test referee Luke Pearce gave at scrums and in other areas. Craig Maxwell-Keys, the referee, repeatedly escorted the Saracens from their pre-throw meeting elsewhere in the line-out.
According to my understanding, the referee department of the RFU has reassured Premiership players and coaches that the Pearce strategy will be slightly tempered this weekend.
It’s helpful to quickly go over how we got here. For the formation of a line-out, there has never been a time limit, but after the 2015 World Cup, rugby law mandated a scrum for 30 seconds. Previously, Law 20.1d stated: No lag time. A scrum must not be deliberately delayed by a team. Sanction: Kick for free.
In 2016, it was expanded to include: Within thirty seconds of the mark being made, a team must be prepared for the referee to call “crouch.” In 2017, Law 20 was changed to Law 19.
Anecdotally, delays occur more frequently after the put-in and during resets than when getting ready in the first place;
however, who knows, Marler might not have had time for his sledging if the forwards in Harlequins’ match against
Bristol last month had packed down faster.In November, England was mauled at the scrum by South Africa.
Since then, scrum coach Matt Proudfoot has left, but it’s up for debate whether a faster engagement would help.
Or hurt the red-rose pack.
The shot clock recommendation made by World Rugby only applies to goal kicks; prior to 2015, penalties and conversions.
Had shot clocks of 60 seconds and 90 seconds, respectively.
After playing in the tighthead team at Wellington College and in his first club matches against formidable opponents.
like Racing 92 and Munster, Baxter has chosen to play loosehead. He defends the scrum in all its complexities and quirks.
, fitting for someone who has been taught by three players with nearly 400 international caps between them: his teammate Marler,.
Adam Jones, the scrum coach for Harlequins and a former Wales prop, and Quins and England legend Jason Leonard.
And he adds: I’ve made it clear that I don’t like rugby league; It just doesn’t make sense to me. There is neither a specialty nor a nuance to it. Rugby league will become scrums if we eliminate them. In addition, I have no idea what I would do in that situation. I will never play number nine again
. All of that changed as a result of safety concerns.
He states, “Yes, they [the scrums] looked terrible.” Still, there were breakdowns, which were nothing more than fights and were laughable when viewed in retrospect.
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