Thursday, 19 November 2015

Further to Jim's Question about the lineout

Hi Ref,
Thanks for your has been a great assistance to my growing understanding of this fantastic game.
Further to Jim's recently posted question about the lineout......I have noticed that at the lineout, the referee seems to maintain an outstretched arm for a period of time longer than when the ball has left the lineout.  For a while I always thought that there had been an infringement....but play always continued and then the arm was dropped.  Please could you tell me what the significance of this signal is?
Thanks again Ref,Martin
Hi Martin

This is a referee convention rather than a law signal.  The back line at a lineout (known as non-participating players) have to stay back 10m from the lineout, until the lineout is over. Sometimes it is impossible for them to see when the ball has left the lineout, especially if it leaves on the other side of the lineout from where they are standing.  So the referee will raise his arm as a signal for them to stay back onside.  This is known as preventative refereeing, and stops teams breaking the law, therefore allowing the game to continue.

The referee will keep his arm raised until the lineout is over, when he drops his arm the players know they can now come forward.  If the ball is fed off the top of the lineout by the jumper, or the ball is thrown beyond the 15m line, then the lineout is over straight away and there is generally no need for the referee to raise his arm in the first place.

If however the ball is caught and held, and then brought back to earth the referee will raise his arm as a signal that the lineout is not yet over and the backs should stay onside.  If a maul forms the lineout will not be over until the hindmost foot, of the hindmost player has crossed the line of touch, or the ball enters the 5m channel.

You say you have seen the referee keep his arm out after the ball has left the lineout, but this may just be a matter of timing.

Thanks for the question and the compliment.
The Rugby Ref

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Why does the guy who instigated the confrontation always get away scott free?

Hello Sir,
My query relates more to profesional rugby rather than grass roots rugby. I was hoping that you'd share your opinion on retalitation.
For example, I thoroughly enjoyed watching Northampton Vs Scarlets on the TV over the weekend and Saints scored a peach of a try that was disallowed because George North stamped on the scarlets player who refursed to let go of his leg. Now I don't have a problem with foul play being penalisied, but it only deals with half of the problem. Why does the guy who instigated the confrontation always get away scott free? At professional level it positively encourages players to go out and niggle the opposition. surely the Cheat ought to be punished too?
My own experience is that at grass roots level all 30 players are mostly out for a fun match and its almost niggle free. Obviously there is alot more riding on a European Cup match and players think that "winding up the hot head" will give them an edge... I don't think its fair that they get away with it though.
best wishes,
Hi Nathan

If a player retaliates, then the penalty will almost always be reversed. While the first act of foul play is wrong players must learn to leave it to the referee, and not take the law into their own hands.  If the retaliation were to be ignored, then players would always be looking to get a cheap shot in and the penalty as well

If it is just penalty kicks we are talking about, then the penalty will be reversed and you are right in essence, that the instigator will get away with it.  However be assured that he will be on the referees radar for the rest of the game and will be watched closely.

If the first act is deserving of a card, then reversing the penalty will not change that.  It is possible for the first act to be given a penalty kick and a card, then for the penalty to be reversed, but the card still stands.  In addition the retaliating player may also get a card.

On rare occasions where the retaliation does not fall under the foul play law, then it is possible for the penalty to 'not' be reversed, as the first act was more serious.  In this case the retaliation may be admonished only.

The Rugby Ref

Monday, 16 November 2015

Putting the ball into the scrum.

Dear ref,
Having played all my rugby career as a hooker it infuriates me when I watch a game, and I've just seen it in every game from the world cup which was on TV, why do referees allow the scrum half to put the ball into the scrum crooked when the law says explicitly that it must be put in straight. Are referees interpreting the word straight as straight into his own second row or even to his number 8?
If this is allowed to happen and we see it all the time, then what's the point of a scrum at all? Does a present day hooker even know how to hook the ball, because he certainly doesn't have to when the ball's going in behind him? Wouldn't a "play the ball" as in rugby league be more effective? !t certainly couldn't be classed as dangerous like a scrum where they push is!

What we see on TV is not representative of rugby as a whole.  At grassroots level, where the vast majority of rugby is played, the put-in is penalised for being crooked.

The Rugby Ref doesn't appear on TV and is as exasperated as you are over the crooked feeds that were allowed during the Rugby World Cup.

Let's not change the game because of a minority.

The Rugby Ref

Friday, 13 November 2015

Could I just ask you two questions; 
1. Leaving the line-out; 
When is the line-out over?
If the ball is thrown in, the jumper palms it to the scrum half who is slow to release it to no.10, can the opposition run through the line and intercept the ball as it is played between 9 and 10? 
2. When is a 'tackle' made; 
The attacking player and ball carrier has his shirt 'scragged' by the tackler and goes to ground does he have to release the ball?
The 'tackler' does not have hold of the player just his shirt. 
I ref a lot of Junior games, these scenarios both occurred at U16 level and I favoured the attacking team in both cases which led to two tries. 
All the best, keep up the good work,

Hi Jim

Q1. The lineout is over when the ball or a player carrying it leaves the lineout.  In your scenario once the ball is passed off the top by the jumper it has left the lineout.  The opposition can't run through the line until that point. So in answer to question 1, yes they can.

19.9(b) Lineout ends. The lineout ends when the ball or a player carrying it leaves the lineout.
This includes the following:
• When the ball is thrown, knocked or kicked out of the lineout, the lineout ends.
• When the ball or a player carrying the ball moves into the area between the 5-metre line and the touchline, the lineout ends.
• When a lineout player hands the ball to a player who is peeling off, the lineout ends.
• When the ball is thrown beyond the 15-metre line, or when a player takes or puts it beyond that line, the lineout ends.
• When a ruck or maul develops in a lineout, and all the feet of all the players in the ruck or maul move beyond the line of touch, the lineout ends.
• When the ball becomes unplayable in a lineout, the lineout ends. Play restarts with ascrum.

Q2.  A tackle is made when the ball carrier is  held by one or more opponents and brought to ground.
Holding the shirt is enough for the player to be held.
One knee or more on the ground constitutes brought to ground.

So yes, the ball carrier is tackled and must release, pass or place the ball.  Is the player holding his shirt a tackler though?  In order to be called a tackler and have tacklers rights, he must also go to ground (one knee on the floor).  If he doesn't go to ground he is not a tackler, he is commonly called a tackle assist.

Why is this important?
Both of them must release the ball carrier, but a tackler can then play the ball from any direction (after getting to his feet).  The tackle assist must come "through the gate" by entering the tackle area from his own side of the tackle (nearest his own goal line) before playing the ball.

So to answer question 2, yes he does.

Law 15
A tackle occurs when the ball carrier is held by one or more opponents and isbrought to ground.A ball carrier who is not held is not a tackled player and a tackle has not takenplace.Opposition players who hold the ball carrier and bring that player to ground, andwho also go to ground, are known as tacklers.Opposition players who hold the ball carrier and do not go to ground are nottacklers.

The Rugby Ref

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

A question on rucking......

 I have a question on rucking.
A Player is tackled, both sides come in and make contact, the ruck is formed – I understand this part. 
The ball stays with the original ball carrier and is placed to where the half back can play the ball (but it hasn’t been played yet). 
Why do some referees stop the “ruck contest” at this point.I have played where a referee allows the ruck contest to continue but I have also played games where the ball is ready for the half back to play it and the referee is telling the opposition to stay? 
Theresa Bailey

Hi Theresa

It sounds like a couple of things could be going on here.  Basically the referee is trying to keep the game flowing and using preventative refereeing to stop players from infringing.

A referee will usually tell players to "Stay" if they are creeping offside past the back foot, creeping up the side of the ruck, or otherwise trying to get into an illegal position.

A referee will also sometimes tell players to stay back if the rucking contest has been won by one side or the other and the ball has been lost.  The referee may have decided that any further contest for the ball is futile, for instance if all the players are off their feet, and therefore out of the game.

The other thing that sometimes happens is if a player gets his hands on the ball before the ruck forms (so he is allowed to continue to play the ball) but then loses contact with the ball, the referee will shout to "leave it, it's lost" by which he means the player has been beaten by the ruck and should no longer try to play the ball with his hands.

Of course if the players still want to contest for the ball they can still do so, but they need to make sure they are doing so legally.

It's a judgement call from the referee to keep the game flowing without denying a contest for the ball.

The Rugby Ref

Monday, 26 October 2015

Are these studs legal?

Would it be possible to tell me if these studs are legal to play rugby in?
Many thanks in advance
Joe Davey

Hi Joe

The Rugby Ref gets asked this question a lot.  The legality of studs is covered in World Rugby Regulation 12 which can be found here: Regulation 12

The front four studs on these boots DO NOT look legal, as the regulation says the tip of the stud must be a minimum of 10mm across, these look narrower than that, but you would have to measure them to be sure.  They look like football studs, but there is no reason you couldn't remove them and replace them with rugby studs, which are fatter.  The two fixed plastic studs behind the metal ones look ok, but again you would have to measure them to be sure.

The Rugby Ref