And while I'm having a gromble, referees call Crouch, Touch, Pause, Engage... but in fact only three of these are instructions. Pause is a statement of what's actually happening between Touching and Engaging. The referee isn't actually instructing anyone to do anything other than wait - which is what they would be doing anyway after they Touch and before they hear Engage. I don't think it's a problem, just a bit daft.
So what to do about the increasingly common scrum breakdowns. Most people would agree that the scrums, when steady and well set, are a great test of players. They also keep over half of each team occupied in one small area of the pitch so that when the ball emerges, the backs have more chance of breaking through the opposition's rarified defence - and the forwards have to quickly scatter across the pitch to strengthen the defence or the attack. Flankers also play a vital part in both the defence and attack since they break fastest from the scrum to become extra backs.
So we want to keep scrums, but we urgently need a way to make them more stable and less likely to waste time re-setting or resulting in random penalties. We also want to make rugby safer. Only specially trained players are allowed to play in the front row. When there aren't enough front row forwards available for a scrum, we are left with the ridiculous spectacle of 'unopposed' scrums - which are pretty pointless.
Apart from losing footing, broadly speaking there a four reasons why a scrum can collapse and need to be re-set. Poor binding by any of the front row; driving inwards instead of square and straight; deliberately bringing the scrum down; and one Prop (aided by his 2nd Row and Flanker) backing off to make the opposite Prop fall forwards. All four offences are punishable by penalties, and all four are usually hard to determine who has caused the problem. Professional front row forwards know many tricks to make it seem as though their opposite number has committed an offence. So what we need is a more stable structure.
Currently this is what a scrum looks like from above (although the No. 8 at the back can choose which gap to pack into):
Because there are only 3 front row forwards packing onto 3 opponents, instability is guaranteed by the fact that one third of the participants only push against one shoulder - and because of the geometry of 3 vs 3, this happens on opposite ends of the connection. There's therefore not only instability because of the ease with which it can wheel, you've also got two people trying to push in a straight line with a single shoulder. In fact it's a wonder that any scrum holds together and doesn't instantly wheel when the shove begins. Added to this is that it is the job of the Loose-head Prop to try to lift his opponent in order to give his Hooker a good look at the ball being introduced. The Tight-head, on the other hand, is trying to do the opposite.
I'm not sure this would work, but if the scrum had one more person in the front row (ie two Hookers), it would be harder for the scrum to wheel, for it to collapse or for a player to drive inwards and have much effect. 4 on 4 is more rigid and therefore better balanced. Using the arrangement below, you would also have no other loose forwards. This would increase stability, but it would also radically alter the job of the Flankers. The No. 8 would be no different from today except he would have one less 'channel' to choose from.