Rhino founder Tim Francis engineered the world's first mass-produced scrum machine, the Powerhouse, in the late 1970's. Rhino's scrum machines quickly became a staple in rugby training, with the England squad using the Powerhouse in the 1981 Five Nations championship. Gaining international acclaim, Rhino's innovation was then adopted by the victorious 1984 Australian 'Grand Slam' team and was integral to the Rugby World Cups of 1991 and 1995.

Rhino has been at the forefront of scrum machine innovation for over four decades, and we’re still world number one todaya testament to our dedication to rugby excellence. 

In this article, we'll explore the significance of scrum machines, how they're utilised in training, and the wide range of options available from Rhino.



What is a scrum machine?

A scrum machine is a padded and weighted machine that allows rugby forwards to practice the art of scrummaging. The main objective of a scrum machine is to safely simulate the physical contact of a scrum during a rugby game, to allow players to develop their strength, technique and coordination in a controlled environment.

Using a scrum machine will allow you to perfect your hit and drive, actions that are crucial during a scrum. Practicing coordination and the timing of applying force collectively can give your team a competitive edge on the field.

Do you need a scrum machine?

Deciding whether you need a scrum machine comes down to the ambitions and training rigour of both individual players and clubs. For anyone serious about mastering scrum techniques or a club aiming to boost their team’s competitive performance, a scrum machine is essential. It offers a consistent, safe, and effective training experience, allowing players to practice and refine their scrum skills under controlled conditions. With a scrum machine, players can work on their strength, technique, and coordination, all crucial elements for success in rugby. 

What are the different types?

There are several types of scrum machines designed to meet different training requirements. Ranging from machines for individual skill development to full-size scrum machines for team practice, each is engineered to replicate the real-world scrummaging experience.

  • Sled: This is the most common type of scrum machine and can cater to full teams or individual players. Designed with a heavy frame and pads, they remain stationary while players push against them to simulate the resistance of an opposing teams scrum. 
  • Roller: Another popular choice and similar to the function of the sled, the difference being that this machine has rollers on the base which move backwards when pushed.

  • Indoor machines: These machines are designed to be used indoors as well as outdoors, causing minimal damage. These machines are often lighter and may have additional features to protect indoor floors.

  • Junior: Junior scrum machines are scaled down in size and weight to allow younger players the full advantage of using a scrum machine, as safely as possible.
  • Solo machines: These scrum machines are designed for individuals, especially forwards, to practice without the need of a full team or pack.
  • Portable machines: Portable scrum machines are typically foldable, and are often used by clubs who may not have permanent training facilities.


  • Water tank: Water tanks are designed to add ballast to a scrum machine. They're designed to add up to 250kg of additional weight, reducing the number of players needed to generate resistance and allowing more players to actively participate in training sessions.

  • Adjustable Binding Arms: Rhino has designed new adjustable binding arms, in partnership with Mark Irish, Bristol Bears Scrum Guru. These Binding Arms will be available as a free upgrade on any new Scrum Machine and an optional upgrade for any existing machines.

    This piece of kit revolutionises
    the bind phase by closely replicating live scrum scenarios, allowing props to effortlessly tailor the handle positions according to their arm length, promoting authentic gap maintenance. The result is the most realistic scrum training experience on the market, encouraging precise technique, body positioning and angles. 

  • Spring Adjustable Binding Arms: Similar to above, you are now available to upgrade to the spring-mounted arm option, giving your props an even more authentic test. Our new Spring Adjustable Binding Arms are tested and developed with England Scrum Coach Tom Harrison, alongside Mark Irish, and is available for any Rhino Scrum Machines.


Scrum machines are an investment and should last a very long time, and Rhino machines do. There are many Rhino scrum machines that are still being used by clubs today that were made as far back as the 90s. As long as your machine is being serviced and looked after, you shouldn't have to continue replacing it.

This is why we have our Scrum Repair Shop. You can book a scrum machine service through our repair shop and buy additional parts for anything that may need replacing. 

Professional endorsements

Rhino’s scrum machines are used by professional and grassroots players all over the world, our machines are celebrated for their design, manufacturing quality and durability. We’re trusted by athletes and coaches across the globe including Wales, England and New Zealand. Our machines have also been endorsed by the likes of Joe Marler and Adam Jones.


Rhino’s impact

Rhino pioneered the world-first mass-produced scrum machine over 40 years ago and we’re now world leaders in rugby scrum machines. We continue to set the bar high with our wide range of machines tailored for different training needs, from youth development to professional training sessions. Rhino’s legacy in scrum machines has been built on innovation, quality and an in-depth understanding of rugby. 
Our range

We are leaders in designing and manufacturing scrum machines to help enhance power and performance whilst scrummaging, which is why our machines are world number one. All of our machines are also proudly made in the UK. 


As used by England rugby

World’s No.1

New Zealand favourite

Solo Sled
As used by Joe Marler

Solo Powahouse
As used by Adam Jones

As used by Wales

Junior Rebel 3
Our Junior machine

Rhino Staff
Tagged: Scrum Machines