Have scrums become a 'boring' waste of time?
SPOTLIGHT: The question has to be asked: Have scrums become a ‘boring’ waste of time?
A resounding YES, according to Sale Sharks director of rugby Steve Diamond.
Diamond has set out changes he would make to scrums in order to make them less “boring” in the hope that the sport catches the attention of the watching public.
The Sharks lost 22-32 to Premiership leaders Exeter this past Friday, after an awful restart to the season when they lost 10-16 to Harlequins the week before.
Now that rugby has returned and with many of the fans watching on TV due to the COVID-19 lockdown conditions preventing them from going to the stadium, Diamond maintains that entertainment has to be at the forefront of the action.
“People want to see the ball in play, the ball in Chris Ashton’s hands, or Denny Solomona’s hands or Manu Tuilagi’s hands, that’s what they want to see”
“They want to see skill at high pace and they want to see collisions, end of story. They don’t want to see line-outs, they don’t want to see Morris dancers. They don’t want to see it. Get it in, get it out, and off we go”
In their game against Harlequins, Sale managed to give away eight penalties in the first 20 minutes of the game and there were 29 in total during the match. This made the game a very fitful stop-start affair and the former Sharks hooker is convinced changes to the scrum would help eradicate this.
“There’s no other sport in the world where you have something like a scrum, so either we take it out of the game, which takes all the odd-shaped people out the game, or you’ve got 15 seconds to get your set-up sorted and you get on it”
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“There’s far too much time setting scrums up, the scrum hitting shoulder to shoulder and the ball coming out. It must be five times the length of time in set-ups (than before). How many clean scrums do we see? Not many”
After spending hours going over old footage the 52-year-old feels that speeding up the process would result in a better game and he has sympathy for the officials. “I’d put a time constraint on it,” Diamond said. “This waiting period, the referee’s telling you: the cadence will be slow tonight. It beggars belief. It’s not the referee’s fault, it is a directive from above”
“It is the King Herod of entertainment in sport. What King Herod was to babysitting, scrums are to entertainment in rugby – it is absolutely boring! I am not the first person to say it and I’m a hooker.”
Source: PA Media & RugbyPass