The Rhino Powahouse has been designed to allow scrum units to maintain pressure after engagement through the use of an innovative head/ram/spring design.
Wales forwards’ coach Robin McBryde, who has won four Six Nations titles during 13 years with the side, was key to testing the machine in the UK, ensuring it met the needs of elite modern scrummaging in the Northern Hemisphere, both on grass and artificial turf. McBryde said: “The Powahouse really tested the boys. The spring systems in the heads means it’s a realistic engagement so the front row aren't just hitting a solid object without thinking, and it really took some of the front rowers by surprise.
“The way the scrum is now refereed means it is no longer just about the hit, it’s about being in the strongest position possible following the engagement, and that’s another reason why the Powahouse is so valuable in training, it trains you to do that. In the modern game you have to be pretty close to your strongest pushing position on your set up as you’ve only got six inches of space to get it right, so working on the Powahouse brought a good focus to that stage of the process for us.
"When you hit a normal fixed sled, you can sometimes get lazy, but this machine makes you work hard to maintain your profile as front row forwards" – Robin McBryde
“When you hit the Powahouse you’ve got to work to maintain your shape, by activating your core and promoting your chest to keep your back in a good neutral pushing position – when you hit a normal fixed sled, you can sometimes get lazy, but this machine makes you work hard to maintain your profile as front row forwards.
“The adjustable heads also mean that whatever the size or age groups that are working on the machine, their pushing position will never be compromised because of the width of the machine, making it much safer to work on.
“The Powahouse is going to play a big role in preparing our forwards for the toughest of all tests in Japan later this year.”
Rhino has been the Official Supplier to the Welsh Rugby Union since 2005, supplying not only scrum machines, but also tackle bags, hit shields and tackle suits. “Rhino has always been excellent at keeping up with the pace of the game and the trends that develop. Not just in the scrum, but also the contact and breakdown area. Shaun Edwards is a big fan of the tackle range, especially the bags where you can attach the ball, because it gives you a focus in the contact area.”
“The desire to develop, improve and always be a key part of elite rugby training is what sets Rhino apart.”
The Wales squad put the Powahouse to the test in training
The Powahouse has been built at Rhino’s Somerset engineering base, in addition to the spring-loaded pad system, this latest scrum sled provides a perfect coaching platform and a design that not only helps protect turf but is ideal for use on artificial pitches.
Available in eight-man and one-man variants, the machine was originally developed by Rhino’s New Zealand subsidiary Powa Products, led by MD Tim Horgan.
“Rhino has always been excellent at keeping up with the pace of the game and the trends that develop. Not just in the scrum, but also the contact and breakdown area" - Robin McBryde
In developing Powahouse, Horgan worked with top New Zealand coaches including the world’s leading scrum coach Mike Cron, to develop a machine to address the newest engagement and binding protocols in the scrum.
The name of this market-leading new machine is a nod to Rhino’s original product, the Powerhouse, the world’s first mass produced scrum machine developed by company founder Tim Francis in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Rhino UK’s managing director Dave Reynish, said: “Rhino is dedicated to ensuring it remains at the very top of rugby training innovation and this scrum machine is another great addition to a world-class collection of equipment that is used by the very best rugby sides in the world.
“It meets the needs of not just the modern-day scrum unit, but also the coaches and the clubs themselves, as it protects grass fields and can also be used on artificial turf. It’s a truly all-round machine designed for sides at every level.”
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Rhino has been at every Wales' training session since 2005