In General

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 teambuilding 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 teambuilding activity would be to let the team match their individual skills with the positions.

Definition is one, to agree with these tasks is important, 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!

Scrum Half (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. Look at my SAQ pages to improve your running technique.


The scrum half 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 scrum halves 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 the scrum half is the distribution of the ball between his forwards and his backs. Like the Fly half he should have vision to put his backrow or backline to work. A scrum half 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 scrum half 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 scrum half should also be able to kick the ball when his fly half (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 scrum half 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

My favorite scrum-half of the RWC 2011

Australia's Will Genia. Great classic skillset + vision + ability to create a lot of confusion for the defense.

General issues

More on the functional role idea: