Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Reviews Personal views

Rugby union should ban contested scrums

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: (Published 25 May 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:1281

Rapid Response:

Rules of Engagement

As the father of three junior rugby players, a keen rugby fan and a
junior referee I can confirm that Dr. Bourke is quite wrong in stating
that contested scrums are not allowed in under 19 rugby. Contested three
man scrums start at under 10 and full eight man contested scrums from
under 13 years. There are however some differences and the chief one from
Dr Bourke's perspective is not the distance a scrum can be pushed or
wheeled but the rules of engagement. In junior rugby the command from the
referee is "Crouch and Hold", "Touch", "Engage". At the command "Touch"
the props must bind on the arm of their opposite number. As they must be
less than an arms length away from their opponents to do this it prevents
a forceful engagement. There is no valid reason why this should not be
adopted for the senior game. This would reduce engagement injuries without
destroying an essential element of the game.

Competing interests:
Junior Rugby Referee

Competing interests: No competing interests

01 June 2006
Ian Verber
Consultant Paediatrican
North Tees TS19 8PE