Thursday, 17 February 2011
Whatever happened to: Backrow moves?
This time I would like to focus on a phenomenon very close to my heart - I am referring of course to the long lost art of backrow moves.
Those of you under the age of 25 may be wondering what the old fool is wittering on about now but I can assure you that, back in the day, it was not uncommon to see the number 8, two flankers and scrum half all break from the scrum together in any manner of combinations to bamboozle the opposition fringe defence and either create space for the backline to flourish or, on a good day, charge over to score themselves.
Be honest now, when was the last time you saw that happen, if ever? These days very occasionally the number 8 might pick and go from the base of the scrum and once in a blue moon he may pop the ball to his scrum half or inside to a supporting flanker but it's probably decades since I saw a backrow move worthy of the name.
Back in my unversity days (undoubtedly as a consequence of having way too much time on our hands) our college team probably had up to a dozen or so variations from the base of the scrum. While it's true that on occasions we felt the need to run through our entire repertoire during a match with the (mostly) unintended consequence that our three quarters were starved of possession, that's really besides the point. The fact is we had attacking options from the scrum which kept the opposition backrow 'honest'.
I'm sure that the shambles in which scrummaging currently finds itself doesn't help, but this can't be the only reason that the art of the backrow move has disappeared. A new generation of players appears to have grown up without recognising the attacking possibilities that a scrum can provide, especially in this day and age of 5 metre gaps behind the rear foot.
Coaches, please take note!