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The scrum half is the key player in the team. He is at the center of all that happens. He is the link between the forwards and the backs, the coordinator who dictates when the ball goes and what happens next. He is the key player in deciding the calls at lineout and scrums, an accurate passer of the ball, a good tackler, quick off the mark, an evasive runner, a motivator, a decision maker, a reader of the game and a tactician

He should attack from good ball, convert bad ball into useable ball as much as possible and consolidate play from the remaining possession

Professional coaches rate a scrum halves running ability with ball in hand before their passing. Aim to fix the defense near the rucks and to straighten them when it is clear they are shifting across too easily

Scrumhalf is one of the spine of the team – 15, 10, 9, 8, 2

Major Requirements

-Must have good judgment

-Must have fast reactions

-Must be able to pass well and accurately to both sides

-Must be able to kick very well with both feet

-Must be able to put pressure on opponents

-Must have a high work rate

-Must have very good communication skills

-Must be able to break well

-Must be a good defender

-Must be able to read the game very well. Work hard at understanding the game and develop tactical knowledge. Seek as many resources as possible

-Must have good anticipation

-Must be unselfish

-Must have a high level of fitness

-Must know the laws of the game! Especially the offside rule at scrums

-Be very vocal in organizing the players in front of you (forwards) and behind you (backs)



-Must be able to pass with a variety of passes under pressure effectively

-Must be able to pass left/ right with no back wing in a single movement. Two Thirds of passes are made with the left hand as the predominant hand

-Be adaptable: Use the pass most appropriate to the situation

-Demand that the forwards drive past the ball so that the pass can be made without interference from opponents

-Ensure the pass to the receiver is sympathetic: He must be able to catch the ball easily to continue the attack

-The dummy pass must be practiced and be part of your skills

*Clearing pass:

-The reason for this pass is used for clearing from a congested area to a less congested area. Normally used in your 22m so the flyhalf can kick out

*Spiral Pass:

-The reason for this pass is used to clear the ball from a congested area to a less congested area at speed. This pass travels greater distances at speed. Normally used at most rucks/tackle/scrum/lineout to the backline

*Dive Pass:

-The reason for this pass is that it gets the scrumhalf out of trouble. It clears the ball from a congested area into space. By doing this pass it is difficult to tackle the scrumhalf in possession. Normally used at scrums and rucks where the opposition are moving forward.

*Lob Pass:

-Also called the pop pass, this pass is used to pass the ball into the space that the scrumhalf has moved away from, the ball is passed in such a way that the player running onto the ball has time to catch it. Normally used in close contact situations but can be used if scrumhalf has made a break for example. It promotes continuity

*Pass through the tackle:

-The scrumhalf should be able to pass out of the tackle to any support player to promote continuity


-Must be able to deal with good and bad ball, must be able to pick a ball up at speed and must have an understanding of the requirements of a good pass (Correct hand and feet positioning, body balance ect)


-Must be able to execute a kick accurately with both feet

-Must be able to use a variety of kicks (Box, grubber, chip, up and under, drop kick)

-Must be able to judge the success of the box kick by the time the chasing player has to challenge for it

-Must be able to make the desired kick while facing in any direction

-Must ensure a good knowledge of the 10mtr offside law requirements when doing a kick over the forwards

-Must have an ability to create space before kicking (Step Back)

-Understand your kicking responsibilities on wet or windy days


-Ability to run with speed and strength

-Ability to accelerate quickly over a short distance

-Ability to reorganize and react to opportunity

-Ability to attack the defense at all times

-Ability to fall on the ball and quickly regain feet

-Must understand defensive options

-Ability to maintain continuity

-Ability to set up play to maintain the forward movement

-Must develop combinations with loose forwards and inside backs

-Always be aware of the blind side, look for space there and take it if the opportunity arises. Communicate with the wing when this happens. Essential to develop these skills 


-Understand the stance to be taken before receiving the ball in order to make a good pass

-Ability to stay close as possible to ball in open play

-Ability to be alert at all times

-Be able to develop defensive understanding with backline


-Read the game so that decisions are made and action taken without hesitation

-Vary the options based on the game plan so that they complement it

-Talk to the flyhalf about the defense habits and how to counter them

Role at 1st Phase Attack & Defence

1st Phase Attack

-Coordinating options (getting forwards in place ect)

-Distributing quality ball when required

-Dictating patterns of play

-Support ball carrier on attack

-Use box kicks and chips for the wings to chase

-Run around the fringes to keep the defence from shifting

1st Phase Defence

-At lineouts coordinate the defence and cover

-At scrums, close down options of the opposition very quickly

-Know when to pressure opposition scrumhalf and when to cover the blindside

-Use kicking to relieve pressure of the flyhalf when we are deep in our own half

Role during 2nd phase Attack & Defence

2nd Phase Attack

-Same as 1st phase

-Work with flyhalf or the receivers to choose the appropriate options (find space)

-Know when to use grouping attack and when to spread the ball wide

-Manipulate the defence in the close contact areas

-Communicate effectively with the forwards

2nd Phase Defence

-Organise forwards

-Fill gaps in defensive line if needed

-Cover chip kicks over ruck

Role during penalties/free kicks


-Get to the mark, sum up the situation and select the appropriate option as quickly as possible


-Organise the defence very quickly

What my unit does

-My unit = scrumhalf, flyhalf

-Should possess vision

-Should have good communication

-Provides linkage between the backs and forwards

-Makes decisions as to how the ball is distributed

-Absorbs pressure and places pressure on the opposition

-Makes decisions which lead to implementation of desired patterns of play

-Drives the forwards, gives direction to the team as a whole

Who can help me do my job better?

-Forwards as a unit by providing quality go forward ball

-The set phases (Scrums, lineouts) and 2nd phase ball (rucks, mauls ect) giving quality ball

-The 8th man in the scrum by channelling the ball well

-The flyhalf and other receivers by communicating options clearly

How do I measure my performance?

-By doing the basics (perfectly)

-By my work rate and mobility around the field

-By filling in my performance charts- reaching my performance goals

-Communicate successfully (Discuss with team mates, coaches and mentors)

-The team sacrifices I make