TOPIC: The role of the loose-head prop’s outside arm. 
 
DISCUSSION: Having watched an enormous amount of rugby, including the recent World Cup, I am surprised at the lack of attention paid to the binding position of the looseheads left arm. 
 
By definition the loose-head starts each scrum with a handicap, having only one binding shoulder in comparison to the tight-heads props two shoulders. The laws of the game recognise this fact by stating that the outside (loose-head) prop must either (i) bind his opposing (tight-head) prop with his left arm inside the right arm of his opponent, or (ii) place his left hand or forearm on his left thigh. The tight-head prop must bind with his right arm outside the left upper arm of his opposing loose-head prop etc... 
 
In practical terms the tight-head prop can only vary the height of the scrum with the use of his right arm, often taking advantage of the weakness in the binding position of the loose-heads left arm. The common tendency is for the loose-head prop to start with his left arm mistakenly in the weakest position, that is when the left elbow is pointing downwards. 
 
TOP TIP: The loose-head should grip the opposing tight-head immediately on contact of the two front-rows; even if he delays the contact, the left elbow should always be at right angles, with the upper arm parallel with the shoulder line, putting the arm in its strongest position. The law requires the opposing tight-head prop to go for a higher grip where he is at his weakest. 
 
Tagged as: Rugby Coaching
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