How to transition back into live scrums

For most of us, it’s been more than 3 months since we’ve had the opportunity to stick our heads into a scrum. Given that it’s only a matter of days before we can technically start to pack live scrums again, it’s important you know how to transition your body and mind back into the process, and what you should be focussing on.


The age old saying ‘you need to crawl before you can walk’ is applicable for your return to scrummaging. Just because you can pack live scrums again, doesn’t mean you should right from the start.

Most domestic competitions in the southern hemisphere are about to resume with as little as 4 weeks from now until round 1. That’s not a lot of time to progress players. If you have 4 weeks left until the competition starts, chances are you’ve really got 3 weeks until you play at least 1 trial game with live scrums.


For those who have been putting in the work, the progressions below will not apply. The more time these teams have spent over the past 3 months working on their individual body shape, the faster they can get back into any types of live scrummaging drills. For these teams, your scrum coach seems to have a good plan in place for you to progress.

The outline below is for teams and players who have done NOTHING during the break.

Week 1 – Total time 90 minutes (split amongst team training and on their own)

Focus is on individual body shape (4 key principles)

  • All players: Individual body shape drills

  • Props: Individual set up vs machine / sled / post

  • Hookers: Individual set up vs machine / sled / post with ball strike

Week 2 – Total time 90 minutes (split amongst team training and on their own)

Introduction to live scrummaging focusing on the 4 key principles

  • All players: Individual body shape drills

  • All players: LIVE 1v1 body shape drills

  • Props: Individual set up vs machine / sled / post

  • Hookers: Individual set up vs machine / sled / post with ball strike

  • Front row: LIVE 2v1 body shape drills

  • All players: Scrum machine set up process

Week 3 TRIAL – Total time 60 minutes (split amongst team training and on their own)

Focus on the 3 different connections of live scrummaging

  • All players: Individual body shape drills

  • Tight 5: Live 2v2 body shape drills

  • Front row: Live 3v3 body shape and hit speed drills

  • Tight 5: Live 5v5 body shape drills

  • All players: Live 8v8 static holds

  • Scrum machine: Working on timing and connections

Week 4 ROUND 1 – Total time 60 minutes (split amongst team training and on their own)

Focus is on quality of movement

  • All players: Individual body shape drills

  • Front row: Live 3v3 body shape and hit speed drills

  • Tight 5: Live 5v5 body shape drills

  • All players: Live 8v8 static holds

  • Scrum machine: Working on timing and connections

The program above is only a guide and should be adapted in a logical way if you have a longer or shorter lead up to your competition. The longer you have, the more time should be spent working on individual technique, as any problems will only be amplified if you progress to quickly. The less time you have, the more priority you should be placing on allocating time during your sessions to quality technique drills, as well as encouraging players to be getting through a large amount of work on their own and in small groups.

It should go without saying, but we’ll say it anyway – all your players should be training their neck. If you don't know how to approach this, Neck Protech is a resource we put together with some of the brightest minds in the medical and strength and conditioning fields to improve player safety and performance. It’s available in hard copy and Ebook.

Players who haven’t spent at least 90 minutes split over 3-4 sessions working on their individual body shape are most at risk of an injury. The more time that can be spent working on your individual shape, the less likely a player is going to put themselves in a compromised position once you progress to live drills.

Lastly, if you think you’ve got all the right drills covered in your own program [or the program above] we highly recommend you film them using a smart phone or tablet so that you can review them yourself, or have our expert team review them for you and give you feedback on each and every drill.


If you’re unsure about any of the drills we’ve mentioned in the plan above, get in touch via email or social media, and we will help point you in the right direction.

Yours in scrum,

The Team at Scrum Strong

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