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A scrum (short for scrummage) is a method of restarting play in rugby that involves players packing closely together with their heads down and attempting to gain possession of the ball. Depending on whether it is in rugby union or rugby league, the scrum is utilized either after an accidental infringement or when the ball has gone out of play. Scrums occur more often, and are now of greater importance, in union than in league.
Major teams: New South Wales Country: Australia Test span: 1984-93 Test caps: 63 (62 starts) Test points: 37 (9T). Nick Farr-Jones was part of the Wallabies’ ‘Holy Trinity’, alongside his half-back partner Michael Lynagh and David Campese. Indeed, it was even said that the quick-thinking No 9 created 46 of Campo’s 64 Test tries. Brought up in Sydney, where he only took up the game at 13, Farr-Jones made his debut on the 1984 Grand Slam tour
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The scrum serves to concentrate all the forwards and the scrum halves in one place on the field, providing the opportunity for the backs to mount an attack using the space created elsewhere. Signals for scrum awarded (left) and forming a scrum (right). The ball is thrown into the middle of the tunnel between the two front rows, at which point the two hookers can compete for the ball, attempting to hook the ball back in the direction of their team mates. The team who throws the ball into the scrum usually retains possession, because the hooker and scrum half can synchronise their actions.
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Scrum-halves also tend to be some of the biggest personalities, a trait required for their pivotal role. They also need to boss a bunch of much bigger and usually much hairier forwards. Matt Dawson, England. Terry Holmes started his international career at the tail-end of a glorious era for Wales rugby. Holmes' strength and power saw him selected for two Lions tours-in 1980 and 1983-but he was restricted to just one cap due to injury. Although Holmes may not have achieved quite as much as others on this list, he was as effective and feared as any scrum-half in rugby history.
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One of the most exciting scrum halves in world rugby, Barlow has done exceptionally well to come back from injury and force his way into Steve Hansen’s plans for the Rugby Championship and subsequent World Cup campaign. Testament to how highly he is rated, Barlow is in the extended squad without playing a minute of Super Rugby in 2015. If back to full fitness in time for the World Cup, he has the ability to push Aaron Smith for the All Black No 9 jersey, with his creativity and physicality among his greatest attributes. 6: Ben Youngs (England).