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Scrum Experts Push Irish Scrum Development

Scrum Experts Push Irish Scrum Development

The IRFU Coach Development Department recently held a Scrum Expert Symposium. The participants included scrummaging experts and coaches from Ireland and abroad.

The IRFU Coach Development Department recently held its first Scrum Expert Symposium on May 17 and 18 at the Grand Hotel in Malahide. The symposium was facilitated by Bryan Hyland.

Participants were required to provide recommendations to the IRFU with regard to how to develop the scrum (coaching & playing; domestic game & elite game).

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On the first day, strengths & weaknesses of scrum play in Irish rugby were discussed in small groups and presented to all. The second day the experts were tasked with examining their findings and generating recommendations to be considered by the IRFU.

Over the two days, participants made presentations on related topics which they wished to share with the group.

All presentations stimulated discussions which contributed to the overall direction of the symposium and in some cases added great humour to what was a focused and intense two days.

Dr. Michael Molloy (IRB Director Medical services) presented ‘Current research on injuries & particular serious injuries relating to Scrum’, and Didier Retiére (National Forwards coach – FFR) presented ‘FFR Scrum Academy’ & ‘Scrummaging the French Way’. Both presentations were invaluable in providing research and projects in other Unions.


1. To bring experts together to provide guidance with regard to developing aspects of the scrum in Irish rugby.
2. To provide the experts an opportunity to rekindle old acquaintances and establish new friendships
3. To get an insight into what other Unions have done to develop a world class scrum & scrummagers

The participants included a number of former Ireland international front rowers turned coaches as well as acknowledged experts in scrum coaching:

Phil Orr, Roly Meates, Allen Clarke, Reggie Corrigan, Justin Fitzpatrick, Dan McFarland, Terry Kingston, Bryan Hyland and Clem Boyd.

Recommendations for consideration were sent to the IRFU following the weekend which considered the following areas:

1. Establishing co-ordinated expert support & technical advice for all scrum related projects.
2. Formal monitoring of player competence to play in the scrum
3. Coaching initiatives for specialist scrum coaches & referees
4. The issue of law application & coaching in developing better scrummagers
5. Increase profile of front row players to promote specialist areas

Stephen Aboud
National Coach Development Manager
May 2008

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