Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Reversed Penalty

I have been abroad for a couple of weeks and had to watch the recent England/Wales 6 nations match on my phone.
Having now watched the game full size I have a query regarding Dan Cole sin binning towards the end of the 2nd half.
Cole was justifiably binned in 71st minute for collapsing the maul and Wales were awarded a penalty.  In the remaining minutes, with England down to 14 men, Wales scored 14 points and the game was nearly turned upside down.
Immediately after the sin binning and before any further play, the Video match official intervened an informed the match Referee the possibility of foul play by the Welsh No 18, Thomas Francis on Dan Cole.  With the video evidence available, the Penalty was reversed in England's favour.
My question is that if the Thomas Francis incident was seen at the time it occurred, it would have resulted in an England penalty and the game continuing with England with 15 men. The Cole sin binning offence would never have happened.  When the Welsh penalty was reversed to an English penalty for an incident that happened immediately before the Cole sin binning, Why was the Cole sin binning not reversed?
RegardsColin Swindells
Hi Colin

The Welsh penalty offence was more serious than the Dan Cole one, hence the reversal of the penalty, but it doesn't mean that the Dan Cole offence never happened, or shouldn't have been penalised, that's why the yellow card was not rescinded.

The Rugby Ref

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Balls into Scrums - Straight or what?

Balls put into modern scrums never seem to go in straight towards the hookers - indeed they are usually skewed directly to the prop(s) of the scrum-half's own side.  Surely this is wrong ?   Perhaps the referees ignore this in the interests of getting play rersumed as soon as possible ?
Hookers used to be there to win the ball and to hook it back to their pack team mates:  ie the scrum is a "contest" to determine the winner of the ball.   Scrums seem pointless, except for territorial gain, if the scrum-half simply throws it in towards his own side ?  
Contrast this observation (during the Six Nations) with Line Outs, where the thrower-in is required to throw it centrally between the two sides, and will be penalised if he doesn't.
I  may not have played for 60 years, but surely I am right on this point about the scrums?  I shall be interested in your response !
John Lobley

You are preaching to the converted.  Every weekend at grass roots level scrum halves get penalised for not straight feeds, so why doesn't it happen at professional level?

Sorry, The Rugby Ref doesn't have the answer.  The Rugby Ref insists on a credible feed with some part of the ball on the centre line.

The Rugby Ref

Two questions regarding mauls.

Hi ask the ref,
I have two questions regarding mauls.
Law 17 states that a maul begins when ‘one or more of the ball carrier’s team mates bind on the ball carrier’ after being held up by an opponent, and reiterates ‘All the players involved must be caught in or bound to the maul’, which I interpret as that the rule that team mates must bind to the ball carrier remains throughout the duration of the maul, is that correct? If so, what I have seen is the ball carrier (often binding with little more than just a hand in violation of 17.2 c) binding onto a team mate, without a team mate bound to him. Surely in this scenario, the ball carrier is not/no longer part of the maul, his team mates are offside, potentially guilty of obstruction, and the opposing team are within their rights to tackle the baller carrier as the ball carrier is in fact in open play?
My second question is again with regard to ball carrier’s conduct in the maul. There has been the introduction of a clarification in the southern hemisphere, and to be introduced in June? in the northern hemisphere which is aimed at stopping the action of ‘swimming’ back through a maul, but what I have also seen from time to time, is the changing of bind by the ball carrier from one team mate to another. As per law 17.5 a maul ends when ‘the ball or a player with the ball leaves the maul’, does this not constitute leaving the maul? And as per my first question, potentially make his team mates guilty of obstruction also of being offside?
Thanks in advance,
Hi Adam

Your two questions are essentially asking the same thing, which is 'why do referees on the television allow the ball carrier at the back of a maul to bind with just one hand, or detach and rebind?'

You are correct in that the law requires all those involved in a maul to remain bound for the entire process, or leave the maul.  However we have to be practical here, the maul is a dynamic thing and it surges forward, stops, surges forward, stops, etc, as it moves along.  This means the ball carriers bind will lengthen and shorten as the maul moves.  Does it gain him an advantage? Not really.  So do we want to penalise him?  Only if he completely detaches and then rejoins the maul, at which point a quick word should allow us to play on or blow the whistle.

Keep the game flowing and blow only when necessary.

The Rugby Ref

Monday, 22 February 2016

Bath v Wasps

Interesting issue about choice of action on penalty
Wasp Capt. Smith tells ref he wants to kick to the corner from a penalty but ref says he must go for goal as a kicking T has arrived
This sounds wrong to me ....I was always taught on courses that it was the Capt call and his alone
Simon Carlton Rhodes

Simon, thanks for the question.

This is specifically covered under Law 21.4(c), the relevant wording is "The intention to kick is signalled by the arrival of the kicking tee or sand, or when the player makes a mark on the ground." So while the referee may ask the Captain what he wants to do, if someone brings on the kicking tee, then the choice has been taken away from him.

The referee was totally correct.
(c) No delay. If a kicker indicates to the referee the intention to kick a penalty kick at goal, the kick must be taken within one minute from the time the player indicates the intention to kick at goal. The intention to kick is signalled by the arrival of the kicking tee or sand, or when the player makes a mark on the ground. The player must complete the kick within one minute even if the ball rolls over and has to be placed again. If the one minute is exceeded, the kick is disallowed, a scrum is ordered at the place of the mark and the opponents throw in the ball. For any other type of kick, the kick must be taken without undue delay.
The Rugby Ref

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Final penalty offside from charge down final penalty.

In today's Saracens versus Exeter match, the final penalty was awarded for an  Exeter player being offside when Steenson's kick was charged down as the player was in front of Steenson when he kicked the ball. But surely the charge down immediately puts that player onside?
Andy Robb
Hi Andy

I haven't seen that particular game yet, but from how you describe it.  The Exeter player was in front of the kicker as he kicked it, so he was already offside before the kick happened.  However you are right that the charge down means the opponent intentionally touched the ball, so the offside player is put onside.
11.3 BEING PUT ONSIDE BY OPPONENTSIn general play, there are three ways by which an offside player can be put onside by anaction of the opposing team. These three ways do not apply to a player who is offside under the 10-Metre Law.
(a) Runs 5 metres with ball. When an opponent carrying the ball runs 5 metres, the offside player is put onside.
(b) Kicks or passes. When an opponent kicks or passes the ball, the offside player is putonside.
(c) Intentionally touches ball. When an opponent intentionally touches the ball but does not catch it, the offside player is put onside.
What I cannot say, because I have not seen the incident, is did the offside player interfere with play before the charge down?  Thus making him liable to penalty?

The Rugby Ref

Monday, 1 February 2016

Ruck Question?

In a ruck is it legal for player on their feet to grasp a player on their own players on the ground, usually the tackled player, to prevent themselves from being driven backwards.
The laws indicate that players in a ruck should bind with a full arm, also players on the floor are deemed out of the game.
Horace Letchford
Hi Horace

If a player from the ball carriers team latches onto him as described we don't have a ruck, we just have a tackle situation.

A player with his hands on a player on the floor is not off his feet, unless his weight is all on his arms rather than his feet.  The rule of thumb is that if his arms are knocked away, would he fall over?  If he would, then he is deemed off his feet.  Also if he is kneeling on the player on the floor, he is also off his feet, because again, his weight is not all on his feet.

If a ruck has formed then you are right, that a player needs to bind fully to be part of the ruck, but what you describe usually happens before the ruck has formed.  An opposition player then binds to him and drives him off the ball.  Sometimes as described he drags the ball carrier with him.  If the ball carrier holds onto the ball during this scenario, then he is liable to penalty for holding on.

A ruck is a phase of play where one or more players from each team, who are ontheir feet, in physical contact, close around the ball on the ground. Open play hasended.
The Rugby Ref

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Hi Ref
My wife bought these boots for our 11 year old son.  They look more like football boots to me.  Would they be allowed in rugby?  All the advice I've Googled has been contradictory.  The IRB guidance I found simply said that they mustn't be more than 21mm long.  Hope you can help.  The studs are plastic by the way.

Hi Dave

You are correct in that the IRB regulations on studs don't exactly cover these, but moulded studs can come in strange shapes and they are allowed.

The key thing is...are they dangerous?  If you run your hand over them are they sharp or abrasive?  If not you should be ok to wear them.

However, don't be surprised if the odd referee won't allow them.  It is up to each individual referee to decide if they think non-standard studs are dangerous or not.  As you say, they do look like football boots rather than rugby boots...but This Rugby Ref would allow them.

The Rugby Ref