Ask any front rower and they will tell you that without them you would not have a game rugby union.
Ask them what they think of the referee’s and the engagement at scrum time and they will give you a dissertation that belies their rough exterior appearance.
There is no doubt that the IRB had to be responsible in terms of engagement at scrum time, but as with so many laws in so many sports they have left it up to the individual referees in terms of the pauses between instructions.
Watching Super 15 games this season there seems to be an extended pause between the “Crouch” “Touch” “Pause” and “Engage.”
We would like to suggest that if you are going to have the referees take so long between instructions, the “pause” becomes superfluous – or unnecessary for those in the front row.
Referees should also start looking at how long once the two scrums have engaged the half backs are taking to put the ball in. The trouble is at the moment they are looking to see who has a hand on the ground and other infringements by the front row, but do not realise that the delaying of the half back may actually bring on such a penalty offence.
Let us hope that commonsense prevails in the long term