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The Danger of Axial Loading

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In London at the end of June 2018, World Rugby held a two-day conference at the end of which they issued an immediately effective law change to the front row of the scrum to avoid potential catastrophic injury.

By Paul Dobson, Moonsport

In the interests of player safety, World Rugby has banned "axial loading", a process of concentrating scrum power on the opposing hooker instead of allowing it to be diffused along the length of the shoulder of players in the front row, which is seen as the axis of the scrum.

The message is as follows:

During the scrum cadence, a hooker will not be allowed to lean and “deload” the weight of the entire forwards onto the shoulder of the opposition hooker at the “BIND” call from the referee.
There must be a clear GAP with longer binding if necessary

While non-compliance will result in a FK on the first occasion, any further offending of this nature, will result in an upgrade to a penalty, which will apply for the rest of the match. The implications of further repeat offending also carry with it the sanction of a yellow card as is customary in our laws. We must be firm in discouraging this practice! advert