The Scarlets prop offers advice on an area that should never be neglected 

How to get your binding right – by Phil Price

A scrum forms with eight players binding together and that binding is crucial to the effectiveness of the set-piece. Here Scarlets prop Phil Price gives his top tips on how to get your binding right…

Stay tight

“Binding is important not just for the props but throughout the whole scrum. It keeps everyone connected and tight. The art of scrummaging is to get eight people to be together and pushing in the same direction as one unit. So good binds are very important, especially when there’s a lot of pressure coming on.”

High elbow

“For me as a loosehead, the golden rule basically is to have as tight a bind with the hooker as possible. And then with my binding arm on the opposite prop, I want to keep my elbow high because it paints a good picture to the referee.

“If the scrum collapses and my elbow is high, it shows I’m not pulling it down. Tightheads tend to bind a bit differently as they like to have more movement, to be able to keep a loosehead out or attack into a hole.”

Loose or tight

“As a loosehead, I want to be level with my hooker so I’ll bind higher on his back, and that gives our tighthead more room to get his bind and get in the right position. By binding high I get that good connection with the hooker’s hips and shoulders.

“But it’s specific to the person and position. Some second-rows like to bind on the shorts, others use the forearm and bicep to connect to the prop in front of them. It takes time to find the bind that suits you.”

Specific tactics

“At the start of scrum sessions or in individual work-ons, we’ll practise bindings. Potentially we’ll adjust them depending on how our next opponents tend to operate.

“In the past I’ve done exercises where a tennis ball has been attached to the opposition prop and you’re working to try to grab on the tennis ball to improve your grip.”

For more skills advice from professional players and coaches, look at our Pro Insight section.

This article originally appeared in the December 2020 edition 0f Rugby World magazine.

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