The ACT Brumbies are looking to put the international experience of their forward pack to good use in the coming Super 14 season with coach Laurie Fisher flagging a more attacking mindset with his scrum in 2007.
Eight forwards have Test experience, including the all-Wallaby front row of Nic Henderson, Jeremy Paul and Guy Shepherdson, and Fisher intends to make better use of the scrum in terms of pressing home an advantage rather than getting out of trouble.
"Our scrums have always been serviceable, but it’s probably been more of a defensive-type scrum," he said. "We’ve focused on providing quick ball, but I think with some of the size we’ve got now we need to try to develop more of an attacking scrum and provide a better platform.
"We need to get away from this get-it-in, get-it-out mentality and be willing to scrimmage. We’ve got to work on delivering the ball going forward. Our mindset has been of a defensive nature. We need to turn that around and realise we can go forward through our scrum engagement and continue to drive forward. When we have the correct mentality, it’s just a matter of getting the mechanics right.
"The scrum still has that aura about it – if you can dominate a side at scrum time, then you can transfer that into other aspects of the game."
New rules introduced by the International Rugby Board, on advice from its medical committee, could have a profound effect on the scrum, but Fisher was adopting a wait-and-see attitude on the safety initiatives.
"It’s a bit of an unknown at this stage," he said.
"It might take some of the sting out of the hit by getting front rowers a little closer together and get them engaging at the same height. But while it may de-power the hit, a lot of the time it’s what you do after the initial impact that’s most important."
The two key rules affecting scrums are the four-stage "crouch, touch, pause, engage" process that will bring packs closer together to cut the force on impact when engaging and the banning of front rows from engaging with their head and shoulders lower than their hips to reduce the number of collapsed scrums.
The 2001 and 2004 winners begin next year’s campaign on February 3 when they travel to New Zealand to take on the Waikato Chiefs.