Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Player Catching the Ball in the Air

Please can someone explain to me the difference between:
Challenge by players to ball in the air – Super Rugby Final on 05 August 2017 at Ellis Park between Crusaders and Lions - resulting in a red card.
Challenge by players to ball in the air – Currie Cup match on 12 August -  resulting in penalty.
Would love to understand the difference.
Kind regards, Jack (rugby fan since 1947)

Hi Jack

The best way to explain this is to look at the World Rugby Law Application Guidelines.

Challenging players in the air - Law 10.4(i)

  • Play on – Fair challenge with both players in a realistic position to catch the ball. Even if the player(s) land(s) dangerously, play on
  • Penalty only – Fair challenge with wrong timing - No pulling down
  • Yellow card – Not a fair challenge, there is no contest and the player is pulled down landing on his back or side
  • Red card – It’s not a fair challenge with no contest, whilst being a reckless or deliberate foul play action and the player lands in a dangerous position

Video examples can be seen here:

The Rugby Ref

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Law changes for the coming season

Following their trial in the Southern Hemisphere from January, the following law changes will be introduced to English Rugby for the coming season (from August 1st).

Law 3, number of players: If a game goes to uncontested scrums there must be eight players from each side in the scrum.  This is to discourage teams from deliberately offending to go uncontested.

Law 5, time: If a Penalty Kick is kicked into touch after time has elapsed without touching another player, the line out is allowed.  This is to discourage teams from offending in the dying moments of the game.

Law 8, advantage: When multiple penalty infringements are made by the same team the referee may allow the captain of the non-offending team to choose the most advantageous penalty mark.  This is to discourage repeat offending when advantage is already being played.

Law 9, scoring: A penalty try is now worth 7 points, no conversion need be taken.  This is to discourage teams from preventing a probable try and also to save time on the clock.

Law 19, touch: A player who is juggling the ball is deemed to be in possession. This brings into law something which is already applied in practise; it means a player need not be in contact with the ball at the exact moment of touching the touchline or the ground beyond it to be deemed in touch.

Law 19, touch: The ball is not in touch if a player jumps from the playing area and returns the ball to the field of play before the player lands in touch.  This is to simplify law and to increase ball-in-play time.

Law 19, touch: The ball is not in touch if the ball-carrier reaches the plane of touch but returns the ball to the playing area before landing in touch.  This is to simplify law and to increase ball-in-play time.

Law 19, touch: A player in touch who catches or picks up a ball that has not reached the touchline has taken the ball out of play. This is to simplify law and to increase ball-in-play time.

Law 19, touch: A defending player in the 22 meter area who catches or picks up a ball that has not reached the 22 meter-line has carried the ball into the 22 meter area. It does not apply to make a successful mark.  This is to simplify law and to increase ball-in-play time.

Law 22, in-goal: A defending player in the in-goal who catches or picks up a ball that has not reached the goal-line has carried the ball into the in-goal.  This is to simplify law and to increase ball-in-play time.

Law 22, in-goal: A player in touch in-goal or in the dead-ball area who catches or picks up a ball that has not reached the touch in-goal line or the dead-ball line has taken the ball out of play.  This is to simplify law and to increase ball-in-play time.

Throwing the ball into the scrum
Law 20.5 & 20.5 (d) 5
No signal from referee. The scrum-half must throw the ball in straight, but is allowed to align their shoulder on the middle line of the scrum, therefore allowing them to stand a shoulder width towards their own side of the middle line.
Rationale: To promote scrum stability, a fair contest for possession while also giving the advantage to the team throwing in.

Handling in the scrum – exception
Law 20.9 (b)
The number eight shall be allowed to pick the ball from the feet of the second-rows.
Rationale: To promote continuity.

Striking after the throw-in
Law 20
Once the ball touches the ground in the tunnel, any front-row player may use either foot to try to win possession of the ball. One player from the team who put the ball in must strike for the ball.
Rationale: To promote a fair contest for possession.
Sanction: Free-kick

Law 15.4 (c)
The tackler must get up before playing the ball and then can only play from their own side of the tackle “gate”.
Rationale: To make the tackle/ruck simpler for players and referees and more consistent with the rest of that law.

Law 16
A ruck commences when at least one player is on their feet and over the ball which is on the ground (tackled player, tackler). At this point the offside lines are created. Players on their feet may use their hands to pick up the ball as long as this is immediate. As soon as an opposition player arrives, no hands can be used.
Rationale: To make the ruck simpler for players and referees.

Other ruck offences
Law 16.4
A player must not kick the ball out of a ruck. The player can only hook it in a backwards motion.
Rationale: To promote player welfare and to make it consistent with scrum law.
Sanction: Penalty

Monday, 3 July 2017

Law 10.4 and running/jumping

Would love to hear some discussion of the tackle in the 77th min of the ABs v Lions game. The law is 10.4, but if this is applied then surely there are many in game situations which could be penalised, especially around the goal line.
Law 10.4 Dangerous play and misconduct (e): "Dangerous tackling. A player must not tackle an opponent whose feet are off the ground
All the best,
 Hi Simon

The referee stated that the penalty was for tackling the player in the air.  The player was receiving a badly thrown pass and jumped to take the pass.

By the letter of the law the referee was correct, however The Rugby Ref believes this is a dangerous precedent to set.  If all a player has to do is jump when he sees a tackle coming in, so that his feet are off the ground when he gets tackled, and gets a penalty kick as a result, then The Rugby Ref believes the game would become unplayable.

Both your feet are off the ground quite a lot when you are running, but we don't penalise tackles on people who are running.

It may be that the referee gave the penalty for dangerous play since the tackler didn't wrap the ball carrier, but if that is the case, then his wording didn't help the situation at all.

The Rugby Ref

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. 
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.

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 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.
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: “ 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.
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)
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?
(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