Prop School: education key to front row safety - Green and Gold Rugby

Prop School: education key to front row safety

Prop School: education key to front row safety

We all know that Rugby Union is a popular football code played in Australia and internationally, at all levels and that Rugby is also contact sport with players requiring strength, speed, agility and ball handling and kicking skills.

Rugby Union has always been characterised by the notion that it is a game for all shapes and sizes.  Uniquely, each position requires a different set of physical and technical attributes and it is this diversity which makes the game so accessible to all.

The scrum (used to re-start play) must consist of eight players from each team and in terms of comparing the two rugby codes is the single biggest point of difference.  In rugby union the scrum is a contest and the front row is a highly technical and specialised position that requires a trained and competent player to execute the skills required and to ensure the integrity of the game as per the Laws of Rugby.

Not all parents / guardians are comfortable that their child playing in the front row and we get that.  The C2K Rugby Academy provides a free and workable solution for players, parents, coaches, clubs and schools for eligible players and over the last couple of seasons has been instrumental in educating and coaching young rugby players to play in the front row.

Warm up

Training guru, Ian King, leads the warm up.

C2K has assembled a highly experienced group of former representative players (Wallabies, Reds, Brumbies and many European clubs) that volunteer their time and give back to the game that was good to them, and in the process making the code safer and players better prepared to play rugby in the front row.

Two of C2K’s front row coaches Murray Harley and Tom Court have also been involved with a RugbyAU Front Row Passport Program that is being piloted by the QLD GPS 1st XV, 2nd XV and 16A competitions this season.  The pilot will be extended in 2020 with a national rollout expected in 2021.

The roll out of the Pilot Program was conducted at QRU HQ Ballymore five weeks ago and in the opinion of Murray and Tom the C2K players were standouts technically both on the field and in the gymnasium.  Little things like the correct scrummaging technique; turning on and engaging the core; and ankle flexibility were very evident whereas other players struggled with what they were asked to undertake..

Tom Court

Former Irish international and Queensland Red, Tom Court, is one of many former players passing on their propping wisdom.

The assessment program took place last Saturday at The Southport School as part of the QLD GPS Muster Day after a four-week training program.  The players were assessed in several areas and at the end of the assessment were either deemed competent or not competent to play in the front row this season.  Again, what was pleasing for our coaches was the number of C2K participants displaying the required skill sets but also to hear from players and parents that the C2K Program has been instrumental in getting the player and parents prepared for the front row.

The number of non-front row parents who casually asked what was happening and then when informed commented very encouragingly that it was so pleasing to see the governing body putting in place such rigorous programs and assessment.

The next series of C2K sessions is locked in for 9, 23 and 30 June and hopefully we will see as many eligible front rowers attend at Ballymore as the training you receive is invaluable.

Murray Harley provides some technical coaching for some up and coming props.

  • formerflanker

    Oi! You can’t have dark arts so publicly available!

    Really, what a brilliant idea. Congratulations to all involved and hopefully it will spread far and wide.

  • Nutta

    Sensible stuff. Having the basics down-pat is the right starting point. Grand idea. As risk-mitigation the places you could take it are full of possibilities as well in-terms of governance, insurance, funding etc… Good stuff.

  • AllyOz

    I think one common misconception is that some times big kids (sometimes those carrying a bit too much weight) are mistaken for strong kids. Sometimes that additional weight gives a false idea of the actual muscularity of the frame. Also a stronger boy or girl can get away with bad technique up to a certain level and it’s only when its tested at the later age that we realise they have a problem.

    This looks like a great programme. I think it is better to put resources and focus into educating players on the correct technique from an early age rather than “de-powering” the scrum but having players still relative novices about what actually happens in the scrum at a later age.

  • Who?

    Who’s C2K? I’m in favour of training props, always have been, brought in specialists myself when coaching (because it was undervalued elsewhere). I think the fact we’ve got to have a ‘front row passport’ is an indictment on those who were running the game. The laws specify that players have to be trained for the position, we’ve seen top level props switched from side to side being enough to rule scrums uncontested for the remainder of a match (i.e. two props are injured, both remaining props are listed for the same side on the team sheet, one of the remaining props has played the other side, but given he’s not nominated for the other side scrums are ruled uncontested), I’ve seen club comp games ruled uncontested where the team claiming a lack of props had two representative props on the field at the time. So it beggars belief that coaches would ever risk player safety by playing unprepared players in the front row.
    I’m always in favour of more analysis. But this unedited piece reads as a promotional puff piece for C2K, whoever they are, rather than telling us much. If C2K would like to have such pieces on the site, perhaps it would benefit them to redraft them a bit more for public consumption, rather than sending out the same piece they undoubtedly sent to the GPS schools..?

    • RugbyReg
    • RugbyReg

      and I do like the irony of someone who sprouts negative opinions from an anonymous account proclaiming “who is this mob?”

      Who are you?

      • Who?

        Thanks Reg. I read that original article, but it’s been a good while.
        I don’t have a negative opinion about coaching. I’m in favour of any and all training, I thought I was pretty clear on that. I’m staggered we ever got to this place – that schools taking $$$$$ p.a. in fees need guys coming in for free to teach their kids how to scrum. Especially when I see some of the good the work done in clubland (we wouldn’t ever have sent an unprepared kid into the front row – maybe other clubs did, we didn’t). But I’m not negative about the training, or C2K.
        I’m happy for G&GR to have this up on here – I think it’s a good thing to have more external writers. It’s clearly an external writer, it reads as a promotional piece. But it’s not analysis, and that’s what it’s under (it’s now also bumped under ‘Schoolboys’).
        The author’s credentials are impressive, but there’s no mention of affiliation with C2K in his credentials. I’m guessing this piece isn’t here because all the ‘staff’ at G&GR are being wined and dined at C2K’s expense all week (and wouldn’t complain if they were – not that there’s much money to be made off free training camps!). It’s here as information. If the author’s impressive credentials also stated, “Currently consulting with C2K,” with a link to the company, that might be clearer.
        And I’m anonymous because I’m not trying to promote a product, unlike C2K. Though I’ve been posting under the same moniker for nigh on a decade, and a couple on here (including the odd writer) know who I am.

        • RugbyReg

          consulting indicates payment. He’s supporting the program by coaching as the video shows. As you say, not much money to be made off free training camps.

          I’m supportive of the program because there is so much negativity in Australian rugby and I think this is such a great story. I’ll make no apologies for supporting more articles about it. People will always find a way to be negative about good stories (as you have shown) but that probably shows more about them than the story.

        • Who?

          I’m not being negative. I’m suggesting that the article needs to be better presented (as in, described on the website), and better written/targeted for this audience as opposed to people who have some exposure, likely through school, club, etc.
          I’m in favour of the program.
          Consulting, fair enough, it could also equally say, “is affiliated with”.

  • T.edge

    Really good to see and you can’t argue with the amount of participants showing up. Starting to see a trend towards Scrum safety and would love to be involved if it came over to Perth.


Murray Harley is a retired Army officer who has played and coached all over Australia and represented Army, Services, QLD Country, ACT Kookaburra and ACT Brumbies as well as coaching Australian Services and Universities.

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