Dominating the Scrum: Exploring the Best Rugby Teams at Scrummaging

In the dynamic sport of rugby, the scrum is a pivotal aspect of the game that tests the strength, technique, and cohesion of a team’s forward pack. While all teams strive for scrummaging excellence, some have established themselves as dominant forces in this area. In this article, we will delve into the best rugby teams known for their exceptional scrummaging skills, examining why they are so formidable. We will also highlight the influential props and hookers who contribute to their success.

  1. New Zealand All Blacks: The New Zealand All Blacks have a storied history of producing world-class scrummaging units. Their scrummage dominance can be attributed to a combination of factors. Firstly, the All Blacks prioritize technical proficiency and precision, ensuring their forwards master the fundamental techniques of binding, engagement, and body position. Secondly, they emphasize fitness and strength training, enabling their players to generate power and endurance in the scrum. The likes of Owen Franks, Carl Hayman, and Keven Mealamu have played crucial roles in the All Blacks’ scrummaging prowess, anchoring the scrum with their technical prowess and physicality.
  2. England: England’s forward pack has consistently displayed strength and effectiveness at scrum time. Their success can be attributed to a robust emphasis on set-piece dominance, meticulous preparation, and attention to detail. England’s props, such as Jason Leonard, Phil Vickery, and Dan Cole, have been renowned for their power, technique, and ability to control the scrum. Alongside them, outstanding hookers like Brian Moore and Jamie George have provided stability and precision, ensuring a solid platform for the team’s attacking game.
  3. South Africa Springboks: The South Africa Springboks have long been recognized for their physicality and strength in the scrum. Their approach is characterized by a relentless focus on scrummaging as a weapon to gain territorial advantage and control possession. The Springboks’ props, including Os du Randt, Tendai Mtawarira, and Jannie du Plessis, have exemplified the team’s scrummaging excellence with their formidable strength and technical proficiency. Accomplished hookers like Bismarck du Plessis and Malcolm Marx have added stability and accuracy to the set-piece, contributing to the Springboks’ scrum dominance.
  4. Wales: Wales’ scrummaging prowess has been instrumental in their success on the international stage. Their scrum technique emphasizes stability, unity, and synchronization. Props such as Adam Jones and Gethin Jenkins have epitomized the Welsh scrummaging tradition, displaying exceptional technique, power, and durability. In the hooker position, players like Matthew Rees and Ken Owens have provided the necessary precision and leadership, ensuring a solid foundation for Wales’ forward dominance.


Dominating the scrum is an art form in rugby, and the best teams in the world have honed this skill to perfection. The New Zealand All Blacks, England, South Africa Springboks, and Wales stand out as exemplars of scrummaging excellence. Their success is a result of meticulous attention to technique, physical preparation, and an unwavering commitment to set-piece dominance. The influential props and hookers within these teams have played crucial roles, anchoring the scrum, providing stability, and exhibiting outstanding skills. While the scrum is just one facet of a rugby match, the teams renowned for their scrummaging abilities leave an indelible mark, underscoring the importance of this fundamental aspect of the game.


What is a scrum in rugby? A scrum is a method of restarting play in rugby after certain infringements or when the ball becomes unplayable. It involves the forward players from both teams binding together and engaging with each other in a coordinated formation to contest for possession of the ball.

How is a scrum formed? A scrum is formed when the referee calls for it or when certain situations arise during the game. The teams’ forwards come together in a formation, binding with each other, and the scrum-half from the team with possession of the ball feeds it into the scrum from the side.

What is the purpose of a scrum? The primary purpose of a scrum is to restart play and provide a fair contest for the ball after certain rule infringements or when the ball becomes unplayable. It allows both teams to compete for possession, typically in situations such as knock-ons, forward passes, or when the ball is held up in the goal area.

How does a team win the ball in a scrum? Winning the ball in a scrum depends on several factors, including technique, physical strength, and teamwork. The team with the put-in (the team awarded the scrum) aims to secure possession by using their collective power to drive the opposing team backward and gain control of the ball with their feet. The scrum-half from the team with the put-in can then retrieve the ball from the back of the scrum.

What are the roles of the players in a scrum? The key roles in a scrum are the props, hookers, and locks. The props (loosehead and tighthead) provide stability and support the hooker. The hooker’s main task is to strike for the ball with their foot once it is fed into the scrum. The locks (second row) provide power and support the props. Other forwards in the scrum, such as the flankers and number eight, assist in driving and securing the ball.

Can a scrum collapse or be penalized? A scrum can collapse or be penalized if there are infringements or safety concerns. Common reasons for penalties include collapsing the scrum, improper binding, early engagement, or lifting a player in the air during the scrum. The referee closely monitors the scrum to ensure safety and fair play.

How long does a scrum typically last? The duration of a scrum can vary, but typically it lasts around 5 to 10 seconds from the moment the ball is fed into the scrum until the scrum-half retrieves it. However, if there are complications or reset scrums due to infringements or collapses, the process can take longer.

How many scrums occur in a rugby match? The number of scrums in a rugby match can vary depending on several factors, including the style of play, teams involved, and the nature of the game itself. On average, a match can see anywhere from 10 to 20 scrums, though this can differ.

Can a team gain an advantage from a scrum? A team can gain an advantage from a scrum. Winning a scrum can provide an opportunity to gain territorial advantage, retain possession, create attacking opportunities, or disrupt the opposing team’s plans. The effectiveness of a team’s scrummaging can significantly impact the flow and outcome of a match.

Are scrums only important in the forward aspect of the game? While scrums primarily involve the forwards, they have implications for the entire team. A successful scrum provides a solid platform for the backs to launch attacking plays, as it offers a quick and controlled release of the ball. Additionally, scrums contribute to the overall flow and structure of the game, impacting strategies, field position, and momentum.

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