New Scrum Machine used by French

Monday, August 15th, 2011

The 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand is fast approaching and with teams from all over the world coming to compete, there will inevitably be many differing styles of rugby on display. Be it clinical backs plays that cuts through the defence or solid forward play that bludgeons the opposition up front, one thing remains constant throughout is the need to obtain good platform of possession from the set piece. The French Rugby Union has unveiled a new secret weapon that it hopes will allow it to compete with the rest of the world in scrummaging situations.

Using the same technology as flight simulators, French simulation engineers have come up with the ‘worlds most versatile scrum machine’. The machine is able to emulate twisting and collapsing scrums in a way that accounts for player safety and the pace of modern day rugby. Sensors on each of the players heads take approximately 1000 measurements per second, identifying angles of force and player reaction speed.  One of its main developers, Serge Couvet, states: ‘The machine was originally used to understand accidents in the scrum and has also been used to find out why scrums collapse. Measuring player forces showed that players tend to knock each other out of the way with their shoulders, thus making scrums collapse.’ Less game time that is wasted on collapsing scrums, will provide a better spectacle for the audience as teams have more time to put their game plans into place.

Scrum machine rugby

The use of the machine has now progressed and is used by the French national team in live scrummaging situations for a small period of time a week. The machine can be used to simulate the characteristics of opposition packs, allowing the team to practice in game situations, with pushing and instability. For example, it can be set up to cause a large impact and be unstable making the props jostle for optimum position and balance.

The machine has allowed training sessions to be optimised, reducing the problems of having to scrummage against opposition. The sessions are shorter and more effective, with more precise skills being honed, as the machine will do exactly what the coaches want it to do.  Potentially the biggest critics of the machine would be the players, but it has been well received, France & Castres tighthead prop Luc Ducalon likes it claiming that; ‘It lets you put targeted pressure on props and allows you to working on blocking and creating pressure. It is really useful for all of the pack and allows them to work together as one unit.’

The machine has been used in player development for the young and old, with technique and force production in scrums being better than ever across all age bands. The French authorities hope that this machine will help to make them one of the best scrummaging sides in the world for may years to come.

Article by James Jones

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This entry was posted on Monday, August 15th, 2011 at 10:28 am and is filed under James Jones, Rugby. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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