Get ready to hear ‘crouch, touch, set’ at rugby very soon
The days of ‘crouch, touch, pause, engage’ are almost over as the International Rugby Board (IRB) have finally agreed to trial a new way of organizing scrums.
The familiar cry from rugby referees of ‘crouch, touch, pause, engage’ as they try to control 16 men into one point of contact is about to be put to retired, albeit only on trial.
On the back of other law changes announced last month, a new scrum set up and engagement have now been cleared for trial too and it is hoped they will clear up an area of the game that many supporters find frustrating.
In a bid to speed up the scrum, and to ensure there are less collapses, the new call will be just ‘crouch, touch, set’ and the packs will crash together after the ref says ‘set’.
The IRB statement on the change quotes IRB Rugby Committee Chairman and former New Zealand captain Graham Mourie.
“Most people accept the scrum is currently a problematic area of the game, accounting for roughly 17 per cent of match time in elite Rugby and with more than 50 per cent of scrums resulting in collapses or resets.”
Anything that can improve those stats will be a huge help. They also quote England scrum coach Graham Rowntree, man who knows a thing or two about the dark arts that go on in scrums.
“We need to have less collapses and resets and anything that can improve this vital part of our game should be applauded. I will be very interested to see how the trial goes.”
So will we Graham. While some traditionalists may see this is yet another step to make the game faster and move it away from its traditional skills, we just hope it leads to a better spectacle for fans, as there are few things more dismal to watch than reset after reset eating the clock.
The trial is expected to begin in the November internationals later this year and if, as expected, it is a success then ‘pause’ and ‘engage’ will be permanently retired.