The biggest scrum of all
They came, they stood, they lined, they crouched, they bound and they set.
Unofficially, there were 1758 ‘‘scrum-huggers’’ who, in brilliant sunshine on the boggy grounds of Palmerston North Boys’ High School, were aiming to set a new world record.
That number was more than enough to break the official record for the world’s largest scrum set last year in Fukuroi, Japan, with 1565 participants, and enough to sneak past a pending record set in April this year, at Limerick, Ireland of 1740.
Reffed by Duncan Liengme, Black Ferns fullback Selica Winiata put the ball into the scrum, where it was hooked, and then it was all over.
The record attempt’s oldest participant was Pauline Scott, 84, ardent rugby fan from Rongotea.
The diminutive Scott found herself in a locking position in the second row of the ’’black’’ scrum.
‘‘I just love the game,’’ Scott said, a bit bemused by all the attention being paid her.
While waiting for the attempt to get under way, she was befriended by Doug Price from South Wales, wearing a black Ospreys jersey, and part of a contingent of Lions supporters who turned up for the event.
Some had driven up specially from Wellington, some were still making their way south for the second test on Saturday. Others had been staying in the area where they had passed the time white water rafting, watching Wednesday’s King’s Cup rugby match, checking out the New Zealand Rugby Museum, and golfing.
The scrum attempt’s youngest participant was Oliver Silver, 2, who came with his brother Finlay, 4, and rugby fan mum Nicola Silver.
‘‘I wasn’t going to come, but I heard they were short of people,’’ she said. She and her boys packed down in the back row.
While Boys’ High propped up most of the scrum, not all of the school’s 1793 pupils took part.
The numbers were supplemented by soldiers from Linton Military Camp, members of the Turbos squad, and others who came along to see what it was all about.
Event co-ordinator Karen Heaphy said putting the the record attempt together was something quite special.
‘‘I’m pretty shattered. I feel as if I’ve played a game of rugby, actually.‘‘
More than a thousand people attempt to break the record for world’s biggest scrum at Palmerston North Boys’ High School.