Rugby league great Phil Gould has urged the NRL to follow in the footsteps of the English Super League and eradicate the scrum from the current game.
The Rugby Football League (RFL) confirmed the Super League will temporarily remove the scrum when the competition resumes after its COVID-19 shutdown later this year.
The RFL also confirmed the Super League will also be adopting the NRL’s ‘six-again’ rule which enables tackle sets to restart for various ruck infringements.
The Super League’s decision to scrap the scrum has Gould urging the NRL to do the same due to it being an “embarrassment” to the current way the game is played.
“It’s inevitable,” Gould on his podcast Six Tackles With Gus for Wide World of Sports.
“I’ve been saying it for a few years, it’s a waste of time in our game at the moment.
“Get the forwards together and then the backs can score a try – this doesn’t happen very often. We don’t get the forwards in the scrum anyway, we put for forwards in the backline
“I think the whole scrum situation now is a farce for our game. I think it’s an embarrassment to our game.
“We should do away with it because that’s not how I ever wanted our game to be perceived.”
Unless scrums can go back to the way they were formed during the 1970s and 1980s, where players would push and contest the ball once it entered the tunnel, Gould said he can’t see any reason why it should remain in the modern-day game.
“You’ve got two thoughts, you go back to the scrums the way they were the 70s and 80s – we can’t go there it’s lovely to romance about it, I used to love it, but those days are gone,” he said.
“We can’t officiate it for a start, players are at risk anyway. It’s not the technique or skill of our game anymore.
“The scrum is a no-brainer, it’s a no-brainer. It no longer belongs in our game, it has no place in our game, it’s a farce.
“What I see with our scrum, what is the point? Let’s get rid of it.”
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Gould took particular aim at how the modern game doesn’t see players making a push in the scrum unless they’re in a do-or-die situation.
The former NSW Origin coach simply believes the scrum is just “no longer an art” in the current rugby league format.
“I don’t think our game will miss the scrum in way shape or form. Scrummaging is no longer an art in our game. There is no effort, no skill, nothing,” Gould added.
“Until we get to the semi-final, there’s a minute to go and one team needs the ball they haven’t got the feed, they will push them over and that will be first push we’ve seen in six months.
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“It happens every year and we don’t know how to deal with it then so we just pack the scrum down again.
“What we have now is, we have a centre feeding the scrum who rolls the ball back to the hooker who is playing lock – who passes to the winger playing five-eighth – who passes it on to the backrower who’s playing in the centres. It’s farcical.
“No one pushes, everyone stands around has a bit of a giggle. They just lean on each other. You’re not even allowed to strike for the ball.
“What’s the point of the scrum, there is no point!”