Rethinking the scrum in rugby


Sir, – Scrummaging is often described as the dark art of the game of rugby. The reason for such an “infuriatingly unsatisfactory component of the game”, as Conleth Feighery puts it (January 2nd), is more often than not the inability of the referee to understand or interpret what is actually taking place on the field of play. A perfect example of this was Ireland’s second test against the All Blacks in New Zealand during the summer, when Nigel Owens made a critical mistake in awarding a penalty against Ireland.

All referees should undergo mandatory scrum training where they actual participate and not just watch. The majority of rugby referees played in the backs and really have no idea of how the scrum operates. I have played in the front row for over 20 years and have yet to come across a referee who played as a prop forward or hooker. I would really enjoy watching Wayne Barnes, Roman Poite and Nigel Owens pack down in the front row against any J3 team and see how they get on. – Yours, etc,


Ridge Hall,

Ballybrack, Co Dublin.