No granny scrums for Boks

Boks vs Lions 2009 – Uncontested scrum

As the Boks head to the UK to take on Ireland, Scotland and England over successive weekends next month (10th, 17th and 24th) it is not only the opposition that they will need to research, but also a new set of laws that will be applied …

Two are new, having only being applied this year, but another has been in action in the Aviva Premiership since 2009, that being 23 man match day squads …

The 23-man match-day squads must include three front-row replacements as the IRB bid to avoid uncontested scrums. And in a move designed to penalise sides that force uncontested scrums, if all suitable replacements have been used and another front-row injury occurs, a team will be reduced to 14 players.

The other law changes for the UK 2012/2013 season that the Boks will have to get used to:

A new scrum engagement process
The change relates to the engagement sequence and will see the referee call “crouch” then “touch” and then “set” to engage the scrum. The word “pause” has been removed from the engagement sequence.

The ball has to be used within five seconds of it being made available at the back of a ruck with a warning from the referee to “use it”. Sanction – scrum.


  1. Hi Tank, I am so happy about the above-mentioned changes. I’ve been hoping for the 3 frontrow forwards on the bench for a long time. The new scrum engagement calls will IMO help to speed up the scrums or rather help to stop the wasting of time when there are resets.
    The fact about the team being reduced to 14 if there are no more frontrowers available makes sense as well. Is this being tested or has the law been instated for all leagues of rugby ?
    I coach at school level and it has happened so often that we have to go to uncontested scrums. I hate it when we have the opponents under the kosh and we have to go to uncontested scrums. I hope that this can be applied to school boys’ rugby as well. I know the the laws require at school boy level that one side is not allowed to have 8 in the scrum vs 7 of the opponents but if you can still have an extra player on the field, you should use it to your team’s advantage

    1. Shot for the comments Charles. I think the issue at age group level is that by having 23 man squads you might then not be able to field sides all the way down … But I think at school, the bench is still made up from the players in the team below so that should not be too much of an issue.

      If a team loses 3 props, then it goes to granny scrums, but the team losing both props is reduced to 14. So surely 7 vs 8 with granny scrums can’t be regarded as dangerous? Not sure how it will be implemented at school though …

  2. I haven’t watched any games using the C T S scrum engagement calls… I know they used it in the NZ domestic final.

    did it work? seems like it should… no double syllable “engage” to confuse the lads and no awkward pauses.

    1. To be honest it was not great in the ITM final, but the guys in the UK say it has improved things significantly

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