Tips for the loose head in a rugby scrum

At the most straightforward level, the scrum is merely means of restarting play after a stoppage. In a game of inherent physical one-upmanship, the scrum is, however, a show of strength. The team that dominates the scrum is usually the team that wins the game, so the scrum assumes a greater importance than a mere restart. It is a psychological weapon and a platform to attack and defend.

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Loose head prop

The loose head prop performs a vital role in the front row. He has the role of destabilising the opposing tight head. He needs strength and the ability to move the opposing tight head out of position to gain ascendancy and win the ball.

Previously thought of as mere ballast, the role of the prop cannot now be understated. Consider, for example, the crucial loss of Kyle Sinckler from England’s front row in the first three minutes of the 2019 rugby World Cup final.

Rugby drills

Having a set routine and a rugby drill can greatly help a loose head prop. He can replicate this at every scrum, with a mental checklist of technical points.

1. Have a balanced set up, with your head underneath the tight heads and on the opponents’ chest.
2. Ensure your weight is evenly balanced between your feet with the left foot moving forward, relieving pressure from the opposing tight head if necessary.
3. Stay tight with a hooker, communicating with the tight head to reduce any imbalance in the scrum if one side is more dominant, disrupting the shove and rendering it less effective.
4. Maintaining a flat back prior to and during the scrum, with strong binding, and staying solid throughout the core and entire lower body.

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A rugby drill for the front row is an invaluable part of practice. For example, use 1 v 1 and 2 v 1 to simulate increased pressure, 3 v 3, and 6 v 6 scrum drills to ensure correct technique for engaging, front row binding and ball striking.

Online coaching practices and templates such as https://www.sportplan.net/drills/Rugby/ provide a vast resource of drills and sessions that have all been extensively tested and tried by experienced coaches.

This creates a dynamic environment for coaches and players alike, leading to an efficient, streamlined and innovative way to grow skill sets.