Four years in the making, Rhino introduces the all-new Rhino Scrum 360, a revolutionary new training machine that closer replicates the real movements of a scrum and maul.
The brainchild of Rhino's long-term collaborator and founder of Global Sports Innovation (GSI), Richie Gray – a coach who has worked with the Springboks (7s and 15s) Scotland and joins Vern Cotter at Montpellier next season – the Rhino Scrum 360 has moveable head pads, a maul attachment and a circular base to reflect both scrum and maul movement.
"My company GSI has now developed over 20 products for Rhino rugby over the last seven or eight years, and I always wanted to create something that could make it easier for scrum and maul," explains Gray. "Why are all scrum machines on a rectangular base? It doesn't bring around the desired movement effect. We worked with the engineering team at a top Scottish university – Edinburgh's Heriot-Watt – to look at the concept of force, power and movement and the end result was the Scrum 360."
For the past two years, prototypes of the machine have been constantly tested, with Gray engaging rugby players and coaches from international level right down to club. Constantly tweaking his design in line with feedback from the players and coaches, the Scrum 360 is unlike any other machine out there. "It replicates straight drives, wheels and even the work that has to be done at the front end of that scrum to keep it steady and safe," explains Gray. "On the spring system, if one prop works hard the other prop has to counter it, so it brings in a good dynamic. From a core stability point of view, all the players that have used it said that, in a build-up or as a full eight, they have to work harder to be synchronised with each other. As a scrum coach that's what you want – all eight working together to move as one."
Hand-made at Rhino's base in Somerset, UK, the Scrum 360 is as tough as you'd expect it to be. "That’s where Rhino are way ahead," says Gray. "Their machines last forever which, in some ways is a bad thing, because you want turnover! But it has to be well made because we’re dealing with young people – male / female – and if it’s not made properly to stand up to rigours and be kept outside, then it's going to be dangerous."
Three key highlights
1. Circular base
The Rhino Scrum 360 has a circular basis as opposed to a traditional rectangular one. This means it closer replicates the movement of a real scrum, which can twist and turn. It challenges your players to keep it straight, otherwise it’ll wheel.
2. Maul attachment
There’s never been a proper maul attachment for a scrum machine. You did use to see a flat pad attachment, but this one shares the circular base to replicate maul movement. In addition, the pads can be up moved and altered to set up different formations and training practices.
3. Fixed heads that can also move
While you have the fixed head pads first and foremost, you can then release them and the three-spring system means they move – your scrum will have to drive straight to stay straight. There are also adjusting settings whether you’ve got one prop packing down or the whole eight. The heads can also be adapted to ensure you have the right shape for your tighthead and loosehead. There are also binding pads on the side to make it as match-like as possible.