Are we just like America hanging on to their gun laws from the constitution.
Are we so patriotic and traditional that we cannot get past history and see the obvious solution? So why do we keep it and what is the alternative?
Scrums have always been a part of rugby league since its inception. The scrum provided both teams an opportunity to contest possession whilst giving an advantage to the team feeding the ball. During the 1970s, scrum penalties for feeding the ball into the legs of the second row, packs moving off the “mark” or collapsing the scrum were seen as unattractive. The ability of teams to win a game purely on goals from scrum penalties was also seen as unfair. In an effort to improve this situation, changes to rules and their enforcement were made.
Since these changes there has been less emphasis on scrums, resulting in teams incorrectly taking the loose head, halves feeding the ball through the 2nd row and neither team contesting the scrum.
So what do scrums provide in the modern game other than a rest for the players. Removing the forward pack and providing the backline with open space can make for entertaining football. Teams rarely take full advantage of attacking from the scrum, with a forward often opting to stand outside the scrum and take a hit up on the first play. With structured play more prevalent and a focus on completing sets, teams rarely try to score from scrums outside of the opposition 20.
Whilst many deep down realize the scrum is dead I believe the hesitation for replacing scrums comes from not knowing what they will be replaced with. If a player knocks on, should the ball just be handed to the opposition? This would speed up the game and turn over the advantage immediately to the attacking team, but should the defending team not have an opportunity to win back possession?
Vossy has been campaigning for numerous years to remove scrums from our game, defining them more often than not as a joke. Whilst I agree they hold no purpose in the modern game, I am a traditionalist and couldn’t imagine our game without them. If our reluctance truly comes from traditionalism we should look at why the scrum was included and what its purpose was. If it was to provide an opportunity for both teams to secure possession than perhaps we should focus on replicating that in a more modern way.