England's Andrew Sheridan, one of the outstanding players in the recent Rugby World Cup and now established as one of the leading props in world rugby has agreed to become a patron of the SCRUMSMART campaign. For some months now Rhino has been working with a number of partners to put in place an international campaign to promote best practice in the coaching and refereeing of scrummaging. The main feature of the project is a planned roadshow, SCRUMSMART, which aims to stage a series of regional events which would seek to encompass the coaching of scrummaging techniques to beginners at one end of the spectrum through to an collaborative masterclass for professional coaches, referees and players at the other.
Rhino's Phil Keith-Roach, England Rugby World Cup 2003 winning scrum coach, is the director of the programme, and already England Community Rugby and the Welsh Rugby Union have endorsed the project. It is hoped that the roadshow be rolled out further internationally. Phil John, WRU National Community Rugby Manager comments "we are committed to coaching safe and effective scrummaging both for beginners and at the highest level and we will be delighted to participate in the SCRUMSMART project".
"The last World Cup was another great advert for scrummaging which adds its own unique and special dimension to rugby union" says Keith-Roach. "We want to encourage and support successful scrummaging and do all we can to help those involved in the playing, coaching and refereeing of the scrum. Safety is clearly of paramount importance, hence our interest in the further measurement, monitoring and understanding of the forces involved in fully contested scrums".
With that in mind another aspect of the campaign will be a series of academic projects supported by industrial partners, to measure those forces. In France, a link has been established with a project in this area being conducted by the University of Nantes and Allio, supplier to the Airbus project. In the UK, Winchester based structural monitoring specialist Structural Statics are talking to staff at Bath University in an attempt to establish similar programmes linked to the campaign.
The campaign in general and SCRUMSMART in particular plans to stage a launch event in late January, hosted by Martin Johnson and Martin Bayfield, who have already agreed to be patrons of the project alongside Andrew Sheridan.