Pre-binding prior to full engagement improves loading conditions for front-row players in contested rugby union scrums

Ezio Preatoni, Dario Cazzola, Keith Stokes, Michael England, Grant Trewartha

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We investigated the effect of a ‘PreBind’ engagement protocol on the biomechanics of contested Rugby Union scrummaging at different playing levels. ‘PreBind’ requires front-row props to take a bind on opposing players prior to the engagement, and to maintain the bind throughout the scrum duration.
Twenty-seven teams from five different playing levels performed live scrums under realistic conditions. Video analysis, pressures sensors, and inertial measurement units measured biomechanical outcomes as teams scrummaged following different engagement protocols: the CTPE (referee calls ‘crouch-touch-pause-engage’); the CTS (‘crouch-touch-set’); and, the PreBind (‘crouch-bind-set’) variants.
PreBind reduced the set-up distance between the packs (-27%), and the speed at which they came into contact by more than 20%. The peak biomechanical stresses acting on front rows during the engagement phase were decreased in PreBind by 14-25% with respect to CTPE and CTS, without reducing the capability to generate force in the subsequent sustained push. No relevant main effects were recorded for playing level due to within-group variability and there were no interaction effects between playing level and engagement protocol.
Pre-binding reduced many mechanical quantities that have been indicated as possible factors for chronic and acute injury, and may lead to safer engagement conditions without affecting subsequent performance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1398-1407
Number of pages10
JournalScandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports
Issue number12
Early online date26 Nov 2015
Publication statusPublished - 23 Dec 2016


  • Impact biomechanics
  • injury prevention
  • sports performance
  • scrummaging technique
  • wearable sensors
  • pressure


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