Rugby scrum-half

A rugby scrum-half is the vital link between forwards and backs but you do much more. Find out how you will be good in this position.


The scrum-half operates as a link between the 'forwards' (who tend to play as a group) and the 'backs' (who tend to be strung out across the field.

The linking role is played each time there is a scrum, a line-out or a break-down in the continuity of play.

When a scrum is taking place the players form up with the forwards in the scrum and the backs covering the rest of the filed.

Th ball is rolled into the scrum by the scrumhalf like this...

Rugby scrum-half feeds the ball into a scrum Rugby scrum-half feeds the ball into a scrum

Rugby scrum-half feeds the ball into a scrum Rugby scrum-half feeds the ball into a scrum

The scrum-half tends to be one of the smaller players on the field but as always the trend is to bigger players.

You need to be tough,

Physically tough and mentally tough.

You will constantly be taking on bigger, stronger, heavier players in attack and defence.

Scrum-halves need everything...

  • Excellent handling, excellent pass
  • Speed - yes
  • Acceleration - yes
  • Vision - must have

  • Agility
  • Elusiveness
  • Good kicking skills
  • Good decision making ability

At scrum time

Scrums restart play after minor stoppages.

When a scrum is formed the 8 forwards from each team bind together to form their own pack. The two packs then oppose each other by binding together, head to head with a tunnel between the two packs.

The scrum-half of the non-offending team puts the ball in to the scrum but only when the hooker is ready and waiting.

If the forwards do a good job the ball moves through the scrum to the feet of the number-eight. You or the number 8 pick it up

Prior to that decisions about what to do with the ball have been made and confirmed, perhaps by coded signals.

These decisions are now carried out.

They could include

  • a lightening fast attacking run by the scrum-half
  • a move involving the number-eight and the scrum-half

  • a tactical kick by the scrum-half
  • whipping the ball out to the backs

As scrum-half you will be in the thick of it and you must have superior running, handling, kicking and thinking skills.

Play may not go according to plan. The ball may not come out of the scrum cleanly or the scrum may wheel. You must be razor sharp, able to size things up and use your skills to make the best of the situation.

When the other team gets the ball you harass their scrum-half and provide covering defense.

The continuity of play breaks down often.

Players are tackled, fall, drop the ball or fail to catch it. The result is a breakdown where any number of players (usually the forwards) get involved trying to win possession of the ball.

As scrum-half you will make sure you are right there to take the ball from the ball winners and move it on to where it can be used to best advantage.

At lineout time

Lineouts restart play at the touch line.

You must know what has been decided about which player the ball will be thrown to and be able to move it quickly and accurately from the line-out to the backs if that is what is required.

It`s difficult for the forwards to give you the ball cleanly. Often it will be deflected towards you. It may even go to ground.

You`ll take pride in cleaning up the situation, smothering the ball or miraculously sending it out to the backs despite the attention you`re getting from the raging opposition forwards.

Ah yes, another quality - the ability to stay calm under extreme pressure!

In general play

The rugby scrum-half tends to be a smaller, more elusive, skillful, 'cheeky' player.

You work hard to confuse the oppposition with sniping runs and the unexpected kicks and passes.

Slower moving forwards make very easy targets for elusive running, make sure you are able to sidestep - learn about EvtecHs.

Mixing up the options you take - passing...kicking...running, especially elusive running, creates uncertainty for the other team. A great advantage for your team!


It`s a vital position.

Very much about service - a good pass to the fly-half ,agility, handling skills, speed, thinking, vision, kicking, evasion.

No pressure!!! Just make sure you have all the skills!

You'll know more about the build of scrum-halfs after visiting player sizes.

Do many of the players who currently are scrum-halves look back and think being a sidestepper would have been fantastic?

Please be aware.

Now is the time to learn.

Just say to yourself "I`ll find out how". When you believe it`s possible you are much more likely to achieve your dreams :-)

A few famous scrum-halfs...

  • Gareth Edwards - many say the best!
  • Nick Farr-Jones
  • Matt Dawson
  • Joost van der Westhuizen
  • George Gregan
  • Sid Going
  • The-not-so-famous,-but-I`m-working-on-it Peter Dawson

Will you be one.