Hooker's 'brake foot' in the spotlight due to new scrum law for Six Nations

A free kick will be awarded if the "brake foot" is not applied.
Hooker's 'brake foot' in the spotlight due to new scrum law for Six Nations

The Ireland forwards prepare for a scrum in the U20 Six Nations clash with Wales in 2021. Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

A trial scrum law for the upcoming Six Nations aims to reduce the pressure on the necks of hookers and decrease the number of collapsed scrums. 

The law focuses on the 'brake foot' of the hookers.

Both hookers will be required to ensure one foot, the ‘brake foot’, is extended towards the opposition during the crouch and bind phases of the engagement sequence in a scrum,

A free kick will be awarded if the "brake foot" is not applied.

The trial is focussed on advancing scrum stability and player welfare, Six Nations says. 

It will be trialled during the Guinness Six Nations, TikTok Women’s Six Nations and U20s Championship.

Both Six Nations Rugby and World Rugby are looking to understand whether this minor adjustment can have a positive impact on the number of scrum collapses and resets and potentially welfare outcomes, by aiding hooker stability.

Commenting on the introduction of the scrum law trial during the Men’s, Women’s and U20’s Championships, Julie Paterson, Director of Rugby at Six Nations Rugby, said:

"The game is constantly evolving, and the interests of player welfare are at the centre of decision making, when considering the laws of the game. As Six Nations Rugby we feel such trials are essential in providing informed feedback which will hopefully take the game forward. As such, to collaborate with World Rugby and introduce this law trial during each Six Nations Championship this year, is a great opportunity for both parties to work together for the good of the game."

World Rugby Chief Executive Alan Gilpin added:

"We want rugby to be the best it can be for those playing and watching the game and this trial will enable us to understand whether we can positively impact both game and welfare outcomes during the three Six Nations Championships.

"This builds on voluntary adoption by teams and greater vigilance by match officials in recent elite competitions and we would like to thank Six Nations Rugby and all the participating teams for embracing the trial and we look forward to seeing the results." 

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