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Worcester Warriors boss Richard Hill slams ‘nonsense’ of modern scrummaging
WARRIORS chief Richard Hill has launched a damning indictment of the ‘lottery’ that scrummaging has become in the modern game.
The Worcester head coach feels the introduction of the ‘crouch, touch, pause, engage’ system — which he describes as ‘nonsense’— has ruined the art of scrummaging.
Hill also believes rugby chiefs would be well advised to look back into the past when referees were encouraged to keep the game flowing wherever possible rather than the constant trail of reset scrum that is fast-becoming the scourge of today’s game.
Hill said: “It is very frustrating — I really don’t know what is going on.
“How many times can a team get a three-quarters move from a scrum? We hardly ever work on moves from a scrum because you just don’t get them.
“Every scrum is a free-kick, a penalty or a complete mess — it’s so hard and I have no idea why. I think it started when the health and safety hit us with this ‘crouch, touch, pause, engage’ nonsense. Every time a scrum goes down, the referee has to reset. In the old days, if it went down, it went down and you just used to play on.
“It drives me up the wall when free-kick after free-kick is given. If a scrum is dominant and one team is clearly shunting the other back, then if they concede a penalty, I don’t think you can argue.
“When the scrum just goes down without either side going forward, then how can anybody tell why it has gone down? The only people who know are the front rows — referees, the touch-judges and coaches don’t know — it is just those six blokes who will know who’s done what.
“So, in my view, don’t blow for a free-kick, just let the game flow and it would be a much better game if we just did that. The whole idea of a scrum is to keep 16 forwards in a huddle so there is a bit more space to play.
“When free-kicks are awarded, you have 30 blokes on their feet and back into the defensive line, which defeats the whole object.
“It has got to be sorted out — I think referees are just blowing for free-kicks all the time. They look at one thing on one side of the scrum — one team might be committing an offence there, but often the other side are committing an offence on the other side and don’t get spotted.”
The Sixways boss has called for the sport’s powers-that-be to look at altering the laws relating to scrummaging in a bid to restore what used to be a key component of the game to its former glory.
Hill added: “There has to be a change to the laws because, I’m not being funny, it is a lottery at the moment.
“Any coach, player, forward or forwards coach will say to you that you might as well toss a coin to decide what happens at a scrum.
“One week you will do one thing in the scrum and not get penalised, but the next week you will do exactly the same and get penalised.
“Every scrum in a game is literally a lottery — you always think ‘there will be a free-kick here’ but you have no idea who it is going to go to. That cannot be right — you have to play a little bit more advantage and let the game flow.”