SCRUMHALF – now here is where many a match is won or lost, not always because the scrumhalf was poor. Well sometimes this may be true, but because of various reasons beyond a Scrumhalf’s control, many times we say the flyhalf should control the game as he is normally the play maker, this although true to a degree, it is not always the case in the modern game where a more complete rugby is played.
Here is what a Scrumhalf is and what his functions are:
When you want to create a high performance team you need to look at the team assets and individual strengths of players. Piecing together the optimum position for the players is one of the great team building activities of the coach and his players.
I think a lot of coaches underestimate the motivational power that will develop when you start working with the players and discussing where their competences will benefit the team the most.
With these players specific pages I hope to identify the main tasks that come along with the position. A great team-building activity would be to let the team match their individual skills with the positions.
Definition is one, to agree with these tasks is important, and performing the tasks is the third thing. Doing all three with all the players in the team is an elementary step to a successful team!
Good luck in developing your team spirit!
Scrumhalf (Number 9)
(Also known as Inside Half and Half Back)
This player has to be an all-rounder, an excellent passer off both hands, an effective kicker with both feet, a good defender around the fringes and in cover, and a nimble elusive runner who can sniff a gap and ‘snipe’ from both set and broken play: lateral movement, explosive steps, agility.
The scrumhalf is the one who has the ball the most of all players! Make sure you put your best overall player here.
Speed and accuracy of passing is more important than length. Many scrumhalves slow their backline down (less time and space) by winding up to throw long passes: no back-swing.
Avoid reaching away for the ball; this will cause imbalance and a difficult swing. Try to get above the ball, or take a step back after the pick-up.
Adapt the type of pass to the situation: dive – pop – spin.
The main task of thescrum half is the distribution of the ball between his forwards and his backs. Like the flyhalf he should have vision to put his back-row or back-line to work. A scrumhalf who can make breaks, on the blind side or past the ruck or maul is a potent weapon because it forces the opposition to focus on several areas of defense, both physically and mentally.
The scrumhalf is also the coach of the forwards in organizing their body positions in mauls and rucks. Demand they clear the ball for you, either drive over or pop it.
Yes, the scrumhalf should also be able to kick the ball when his flyhalf (the principal kicker of the team) is under pressure. Kick behind line-outs and scrums (“in the box”).
Rhythm: Step – Step – Kick: you do not have much more time, so you need to be able to kick facing many different directions.
The scrumhalf needs to have a good tactical perspective on defensive lines to play an important role. Most of the time he is the second or third line of defense.
Key issues for the scrum half: Quick accurate passing Speed of the mark Kick with either foot Tackle Communication Pace.
Can a Scrumhalf cost a team a match?
This should explain how important the scrumhalf position is and for example how it can cost a team when this player cannot perform his natural duties.
I want to take the Sharks here as an example and how this reveals why the Sharks lost the 2012 Currie Cup Final, due to not so much with the scrumhalf being poor, but poor selections and bad option-taking broke a player’s natural game down and forced poor decision making which of course filters down the line.
In the Currie Cup Final the Sharks firstly was without the services of Springbok star Bismark du Plessis at hooker, now I mention this as it was without Bismarck’s lineout throwing that the Sharks lineouts were poor, this not only caused lineouts to be lost but lineouts won were scrappy and the player the bor the brunt of this poor ball was the scrumhalf.
Next problem came at ruck time, here on most occasions the ball was slowed down by the opposing team and again caused for slow scrappy ball for the scumhalf to work with, and again a scrumhalf was made to look poor and this again took the fire power out of a backline. The rest as they say, is history!
Charl was born on 5 August 1983 in Johannesburg, was schooled at Wonderboom High School in Pretoria and after a short stint at Western Province, the Lions and the Valke, the Sharks lured him to Durban where he has been since, and although a very good scrumhalf, Charl has had his up’s and down’s as form let him down from time to time.
On 18 November 2010, whilst the Springboks were already two matches into their November tour of Ireland, Wales, Scotland and England, Charl received the call to join the squad. This was after an extremely successful Currie Cup campaign where the Sharks were the deserved champions, many might feel this wa just reward.
On form though he is a very good player and plays with a lot of fire and is a dangerous runner that can at times tear the defending team’s defenses to shreds.
His career portfolio is as follows:
- 2012 – The Sharks ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division – Sharks Vodacom Super Rugby
- 2011 – The Sharks ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division – Sharks Vodacom Super Rugby – South Africa Castle Tri-Nations
- 2010 – South Africa Outgoing Tours – Springboks Outgoing Tours – Sharks ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division – Sharks Invitational XV Absa Currie Cup Compulsory Friendlies – Sharks XV Vodacom Cup – The Sharks Vodacom Super 14
- 2009 – Sharks ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division – Sharks Invitational XV Absa Currie Cup Compulsory Friendlies – Sharks British & Irish Lions Tour – The Sharks Vodacom Super 14 – Sharks XV Vodacom Cup – Sharks MTN test
- 2008 – The Sharks ABSA Currie Cup Premier Div – The Sharks Absa Currie Cup Compulsory Friendlies – Wildebeest Vodacom Cup – The Sharks Vodacom Super 14
- 2007 – Golden Lions XV Absa Currie Cup Compulsory Friendlies – Valke ABSA Currie Cup Premier Div – Golden Lions ABSA Currie Cup Premier Div – Valke ABSA Currie Cup Qualifiers – Lions Vodacom Cup -
- 2006 – Maties Fidentia National Club Championships – Vodacom Western Province ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division – Vodacom Western Province Vodacom Cup
- 2005 – Investec Western Province ABSA Currie Cup Qualifying Round – Investec Western Province Vodacom Cup
Cobus is the son of the late Springbok flyer and national 400m sprinter, Jaco Reinach, and boy can one see his son in him! Cobus was schooled at Grey College in Bloemfontein and like his father has a very good rugby brain and all the attributes to one day follow in his father’s footsteps in wearing the Green and Gold.
This young man has been hugely impressive so far for the Sharks and the likes of Charl McLeod and Conrad Hoffman will really have to lift their game. Cobus is hungry to play and advance his game and will not be making it easy for any other player to replace him, also with the likes of Patrick Lambie, Frans Steyn and Paul Jordaan alongside him, 2013 could be a bumper year for him.
His career portfolio is as follows:
- 2012 – The Sharks ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division – Sharks XV Vodacom Cup – Sharks Vodacom Super Rugby
- 2011 – Sharks ABSA Under 21 Competition – The Sharks ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division – Sharks XV Absa Currie Cup Compulsory friendlies – Sharks XV Vodacom Cup
- 2010 – ABSA Under 21 Competition – Sharks XV Vodacom Cup
- 2009 – Sharks ABSA Under 19 Competition
- 2008 – Free State U18 Academy Week
Conrad was schooled at Paarl Boys High and played Craven week for Western Province and made SA trials at Under 19 level, sadly though this promising young player was hampered by many injuries and has never really had the chance to show his true ability. He is known to be a very versatile player and although he mainly plays scrumhalf, he is very able at flyhalf as well as center.
- 2012 – Sharks ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division – Sharks XV Vodacom Cup – Sharks Vodacom Super Rugby
- 2011 – Sharks ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division – Sharks XV Vodacom Cup – Sharks Vodacom Super Rugby
- 2010 – Western Province ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division – Western Province Vodacom Cup – Stormers Vodacom Super Rugby
- 2009 – Western Province ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division – Western Province Vodacom Cup – Stormers Vodacom Super Rugby
- 2008 – Western Province ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division – Western Province Vodacom Cup – Stormers Vodacom Super Rugby
- 2007 – Western Province U21 Absa Competition
- 2006 – SA U19 2006 WP U19 – Western Province A Inter-Provincial Sevens
- 2005 – WP U18 Craven Week – SA U19 Trials
The 4th choice and will probably only play Under 21 matches for the Sharks or play Vodacom Cup unless injuries necessitate for him to be called up to the premier side.
Hanco was schooled in Witbank and although there is not really too much information widely available regarding this young player, I do know he has come through the Sharks Academy with a lot of success and played Sharks Under 19 and Sharks Under 21, where he has been rated very highly and is a nippy scrumhalf with a good boot.
He has also played a few games at flyhalf when injuries occurred within the Under 21 team this past season.
The one good thing about making a call for the starting scrumhalf is the fact that unlike at the loose forward choices there are only two men to really call upon, either Charl McLeod or Jaco Reinach.
Either way the Sharks will have a solid 9 to start the match but my guy feel is John Plumtree will start with Jaco Reinach, as he finished stronger the past season and had been very solid. Again much will depend on conditions for the match on hand as well as who they are facing.
I can only see Conrad Hoffman or Hanco Venter coming into the picture if and when injuries occur.