Monday, 17 April 2017

In Possession or not?

Northampton vs Saracens Sunday April.16 This from match report....73 minutes 
Quote 'Bit of TMO-based drama. Billy Vunipola burst through and tried to loop a pass over to the right. Foden batted the ball up in the air and attempted to regather, but was taken out by Schalk Brits. Original decision is a scrum to Saracens. The TMO suggests another look, but Matthew Carley sticks with the initial call. unquote courtesy Daily Telegraph 
In fact ref even goes so far as to say there was 'no certainty' that guy who last touched ball (Foden) would have caught the ball.   
Rule 10.4 (f) clearly states "(f) Playing an opponent without the ball.Except in a scrum, ruck or maul, a player must not hold, push or obstruct an opponent not carrying the ball.Sanction: Penalty kick  
My rugby ref buddy says ref call was correct because the act of ball bouncing up from players' hands means he is in possession. Ridiculous IMO. 
Peter 
Hi Peter

Sorry to tell you, but your ref buddy is correct.

If a player is juggling the ball, such as trying to regathering a knocked on ball he is deemed to be in possession.

If he wasn't in possession, then you wouldn't be able to tackle him. This would mean a player could 'juggle' the ball as he ran down the pitch from one end to the other and no one would be able to stop him. This would clearly be ridiculous.

So a player who holds the ball, or juggles the ball, or loses the ball and is in the act of regaining it, is deemed to be 'in possession' and can be tackled. A scrum was correct for the knock on.

Thanks
The Rugby Ref

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Last play?

U15 schools final at Twickenham half time clock in the red but Wellington awarded a penalty. Ref says can't go for lineout but offers them a scrum .....is this correct ?
Simon Carlton Rhodes

Hi Simon

Yes all correct...for this season (see below).

You can't finish the game on a penalty play continues until the ball is dead, but if the clock is dead then when you kick to touch the game is over, as the referee would have then awarded a lineout.
Law 5.7  (e) If time expires and the ball is not dead, or an awarded scrum or lineout has not been completed, the referee allows play to continue until the next time that the ball becomes dead. The ball becomes dead when the referee would have awarded a scrum, lineout, an option to the non-infringing team, drop out or after a conversion or successful penalty kick at goal. If a scrum has to be reset, the scrum has not been completed. If time expires and a mark, free kick or penalty kick is then awarded, the referee allows play to continue.
As a penalty had been awarded the game was still live.  But you can take a scrum in lieu of the penalty.
Law 21.4 (a) Scrum alternative. A team awarded a penalty or free kick may choose a scrum instead. They throw in the ball.
However: please note that from August 1st 2017 onward a new law variation is in place (already being used in the Southern Hemisphere).
LAW AMENDMENT TRIALIf a penalty is kicked into touch after time has elapsed without touching another player , the throw-in is taken and play continues until the next time the ball becomes dead.
So the referee was correct.
Thanks
The Rugby Ref

Monday, 27 March 2017

A query on penalty tries.

Hey RR..  A question on penalty tries.  The laws are quite straight forward: “..an act of foul play when a try would probably have been scored.”
But. When evaluating whether a try would ‘probably have been scored’, does one remove the offending player from the equation altogether (alternate universe) or include in the balance of probabilities any legal options that player may have had?
Not likely relevant at breakdown penalties, but certainly instances of offside and dangerous tackles would apply.  In the latter, in the instance of a player making a high tackle, the same player may have been in a position to make a perfectly legal try-stopping tackle.
Gave a pen try a while ago that would have passed criteria either way but the question entered my head at the time & I’m curious if I should continue to entertain it.
Thanks
Martin
Hi Martin

Yes, in evaluating a penalty try we use what many referees call the "Beam me up Scotty" approach. That is to say you not only remove the foul play from the equation, but also the player who committed it.

If the player who committed the foul play was suddenly "beamed up" and not on the field, would the player with the ball probably have scored?

Obviously you also need to take into account any other defenders and support players, as well as such things like distance from the try line.

If it was just one on one 10m out, and the defender high tackles the attacker, you remove the defender from the equation altogether and the result is that there is nothing to stop the attacker scoring a try, so Penalty Try.

The Rugby Ref

No maul formed from a line out

Hi Sir,
From below clip, white team won the line out but red team didn't make a maul meanwhile the white team stayed without moving forward. The ref called a scrum to white.
Did the ref apply the rule 20.4(d)?
BTW, is there any definition about "stoppage" in 20.4(d)
B/R
Bly
NB: you may need to view in YouTube depending on your location, and then fast forward to see the incident in question.  2.28 on the slider or 45.00 on the game clock.



This was a very unusual incident. The ball is at the front of the "not a maul" so no obstruction, red team have not left the lineout.  There is no obligation for either team to do anything, however the referee is trying to facilitate a game of rugby, so yes The Rugby Ref believes he gave a scrum to white under the heading "any irregularity not covered by law".

Let's just play rugby fellas?
20.4 THE TEAM THROWING THE BALL INTO THE SCRUM
(d) Scrum after any other stoppage. After any other stoppage or irregularity not covered by Law, the team that was moving forward before the stoppage throws in the ball. If neither team was moving forward, the attacking team throws in the ball.
The Rugby Ref

Friday, 17 March 2017

Who would want to be a referee?

Rugby presents a unique challenge in that the referee is required to make a specific decision about a contested tackle almost 200 times a match (once every 30 seconds), and this decision is multi-dimensional, instantaneous and open to interpretation.‪..‬

Consider that a typical match has about 170 rucks (or contests for the ball in a tackle) , and you realise that there are probably 100 decisions (because not all are contested the same way) where the referee must interpret, in a split second, a dizzying array of laws, and where each decision has implications for what follows.

Why do we do it?

Because we love it.

The Rugby Ref

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

The Top 100 Websites For Rugby Players (...and Referees)

TheRugbyRef.co.uk has made the list of the Top 100 websites for rugby players, check out the full list with the link below:

Rugby Warfare's Top 100 websites for Rugby Players

Don't forget if you are a player and have a question about the Laws of the Game you can email The Rugby Ref using the "Ask The Ref" link on the right of this page.

The Rugby Ref

Thursday, 2 March 2017

When does a ruck cease to be a ruck?

Hi
My question: when does a ruck end? I think you are going to say: either when the ball successfully leaves it (play on), or when it becomes unplayable (scrum to someone, or worse)……
…….But what I am really getting at is: can the defending team effectively end a ruck by disengaging from it? I can see nothing in the laws that says it ends if there become too few players involved.
(I have not been back through the whole of the Italy v England game, but I am fairly sure that in a number of cases an Italian player committed to the ruck (ruck formed, as in my view you don't need to wait for the ref to say so) and then decided against it and backed out again. I am not in any way criticising Italy for what they did, but I am interested to know if M. Poite policed it correctly - I am expecting that we will see this tactic at club level now and we are working on solutions to it). 
Regards
CharlieP
Hi Charlie

Good question following on from the "not engaging" Italy tactic.

Your first statement is correct:  The ball leaves (successful end); The ball is unplayable (unsuccessful end).
16.6 SUCCESSFUL END TO A RUCKA ruck ends successfully when the ball leaves the ruck, or when the ball is on or over the goal line.
16.7 UNSUCCESSFUL END TO A RUCK(a) A ruck ends unsuccessfully when the ball becomes unplayable and a scrum is ordered.
 So to move to your second question.  If players from one team leave the ruck have we satisfied 16.6 or 16.7 above?  The answer is 'No' we haven't, so the ruck still exists.

The Rugby Ref also thinks that Romain Poite may have got it wrong on a couple of occasions, but we are talking about split second decisions in a dynamic moving environment. You turn to check the offside lines for a second and in that moment someone can engage to form a ruck and then leave again, so we can't blame the referee.  As ever play to the whistle.  Romain Poite was very good at verbally explaining to the players what phase of play they were in to try and avoid any issues.  "Tackle only".  "Ruck formed".

To paraphrase M. Poite "I am a referee not a coach", but most referees have played the game.  If Italy are pushing players forward to surround the tackle area then they must be leaving holes in their defensive line, so pick and drive should exploit those holes.  Once beyond the line you can then pass out to your wings. This is effectively what England did, but it took them around 33 minutes to work it out.

Thanks
The Rugby Ref