Mike Ross Offers Up Some Incredibly Insightful Expert Scrummaging Advice

Scrum time.

Before the likes of Tadhg Furlong and Andrew Porter came along, there was Mike Ross. The former Leinster and Ireland tighthead pretty much held up the entire Irish scrum from 2011-2016.

He’s one of the best scrummagers Ireland has ever produced, and arguably one of the best the game has ever seen. So if he gives advice on how to scrummage – then you better listen.

The 38-year-old recently took to Reddit to give a detailed tutorial on some of the best practices you can follow. Props – this is your Bible. Take note.

“Usually I try to have the same setup before every scrum, feet shoulder width apart, split stance, with my left foot back where I want it to be on the engagement. I make sure my left arm is bound on the hooker’s shorts or shirt (depending on the width of the hooker!) and my left shoulder is pulled out from under his armpit and my head is ahead of the loosehead’s.

On the “crouch” command I sink my hips down, and on the “bind” I move my right foot back parallel to my left and sink down further. On the “engage” I bind on the back and launch forward, dropping my chest down and through, and trying not to move my feet except to go forward.

Having your legs back at 110 to 120 degrees from your body is the optimum pushing position, so always work to have your feet back sufficiently at the engagement. Think of it this way, is it easier to lift weight from a high or low squat? It’s always easier to lift from a high squat, so don’t get too cramped up.

If the loosehead you’re up against is angling across, fight him for headspace prior to engagement. You do this by moving your head across and getting cheek to cheek, and really forcing his head out to your right. Be obnoxious about it. Now if he wants to angle he has to swing his body out more, which will hopefully leave a gap on his inside that you can come barrelling through.

If the opposition tighthead is angling, it’s actually your job to stop him. If you bore in, it’ll block him from coming across, and allow your loosehead to pick him up and ragdoll him hopefully!

That’s just off the top of my head, any other questions fire away.”