Hooking, once the most important job at scrum-time has been left behind in the advances of modern rugby. Players such as Keith Wood, Brian Moore and Sean Fitzpatrick had perfected the hooking technique which proved vital during their playing years. However, due to pack size increasing in modern rugby there has been more pressure on hookers legs and therefore they are unable to hook the ball cleanly without collapsing the scrum in the process. As a result, hookers have now bulked up to be more like props to withstand the pressure of opposing scrums.
Hooking may be dying due to new scrummaging laws which have gotten rid of the first hit at scrum time. This leaves no time for them to hook as they come under immediate pressure instead of having the initial hit to create a chance for them to strike the ball. In the modern scrum, props have been forced to re-invent their scrummaging approach as technique rather than power has proved crucial. Therefore, hookers have taken responsibility for leading the push rather than striking the ball.
Below is an example of pressure denying the hook:
As we see in the GIF above, Munster’s Guinazu is unable to hook the ball initially due to the force which the opposing loosehead applies. However, Munster hold off the Glaswegians onslaught as the accomplished front three of Kilcoyne, Guinazu (an ex prop) and BJ Botha show great technique. This gives the Argentine the opportunity to hook the ball back to his scrum-half.
These points all conclude that hooking is a dying art of the game. Have your say in the comments below and vote in our poll.
Do you think hooking is a dying art? Is hooking that important? Can you think of any current players that are still capable of hooking well? Tell us below.
– Admin Paul