Q. What is this man doing?
A. He is strenuously tackling a ‘Scrummaging Machine’ developed at the University of Pretoria, South Africa.
Q. Why is he doing that?
A. In order to assist with an experimental study into the effect of variations in the alignment of the feet on scrum kinetics during machine scrummaging.
Q. What were the findings?
A. “ […] a non-parallel foot position may be useful in moderating the natural clockwise wheel or producing a tactical rotation of the scrum. However, this would result in decreased compression force that may allow the opposition to drive the pack backwards and increased lateral shear forces that may have a negative impact on players’ cervical spinal health. Teams must therefore consider all positive and negative implications of changes in foot position during scrummaging when deciding how and when to utilise such technical variations.”
See: The influence of foot position on scrum kinetics during machine scrummaging Journal of Sports Sciences. 2018 Dec;36(24):2836-2842
Research research by Martin Gardiner