Friday, 16 September 2016

Another question about 19.8....

Hi .. You’ve addressed a query about 19.8.  I have another you might help with “A player must not take a quick throw-in after the lineout has formed” .. and quick throw ins are often prevented by a defending player (often a back) chasing the kick to form the lineout, but then retreats when the lineout participants arrive.  However 19.8(d)  says: “Players of either team must not leave the lineout once they have taken up a position in the lineout until the lineout has ended” Surely the chaser must remain in the lineout? Martin
Hi Martin

What we have to remember is that there are two types of throw in, a "Quick Throw In", and a "Lineout".   These are treated separately in the Laws.  What you describe is players forming a mini lineout to prevent a "Quick Thrown In, which cannot be taken once a lineout has formed.  This takes two players from each side.

Once the "Quick Throw In" has been voided, then we are looking for players arriving at the line of touch to form the "Lineout".

Technically you are correct in that they may have approached the line of touch, but in reality these players who race up to prevent the Quick Throw In are probably going to be fast wingers or backs.  They are a different set of players to the ones that then arrive for the full lineout.  The full lineout hasn't formed until the "proper" lineout players arrive.

It's an area where the law says one thing, but common sense says another.  As usual we have to look at why the law was written that way?  It was to prevent a set of players forming a lineout, then swapping some out to counter a change by the opposition, then maybe swapping again, delaying the lineout.

Remember, unlike other sports the Laws of Rugby Union are essentially a framework which the referee uses to facilitate a game of rugby.  There are many grey areas in the laws and very few black and white ones.

The Rugby Ref

Monday, 5 September 2016

Another line out question

There is a 30 sec time for forming a scrum after the ref has made his mark. What about a line out?Cheers.Lawrence
Hi Lawrence

Law 19.8 Forming a Lineout states
19.8(d) When the ball is in touch, every player who approaches the line of touch is presumed to doso to form a lineout. Players who approach the line of touch must do so without delay.Players of either team must not leave the lineout once they have taken up a position in thelineout until the lineout has ended.Sanction: Free Kick on the 15-metre line
The key phrase is "Players who approach the line of touch must do so without delay."
How long is without delay?  The law is silent on that, so it is up to the referee's discretion.  The Rugby Ref would suggest that if everyone is standing around waiting for one team, then the referee will tell them to hurry up, if he has to tell them more than once or twice, then he will be thinking about a Free Kick for delaying the lineout.  There is no hard and fast answer.

The Rugby Ref

Under 15 law at lineout

Having just refereed an Under 15 game today, with the new lineout regulations for U15s, there are a few questions left!
If the lineout is not straight, do normal rules apply, and non-throwing team have choice of lineout or scrum?
At what point does the lineout become 'contested' again?
If a team opts not to lift, presumably the lineout still has to be uncontested?
If the jumper is missed, is the lineout still uncontested?  So, with an overthrow to a jumper at 2, can team not throwing in then play the ball?
Should the referee give a signal/call when the lineout is now contested?  Presumably that is different to the line out being over (so catcher catches the ball, but is in the air, he is then lowered to the ground - the lineout is not over, but the opposition can now contest the ball - but this needs calling, I presume)
Many thanks for any help!
Chris Townsend

Hi Chris

The Rugby Ref has checked with a couple of Community Rugby foundations on this question.  The consensus was that the uncontested part of the lineout refers to the ball in the air.  So the ball has to be thrown straight, the lifters and jumpers can practise lifting along with catching the ball uncontested.  Once the ball has left the lineout or the jumper has returned to ground with the ball, we are back to normal play.

So to answer your questions:
Not straight, as per normal laws.
Contested once the ball leaves or the jumper returns to the ground.
No lift is still uncontested.
If the jumper is missed, the throwing in side must still gain first possession of the ball, so no.
Whether the referee calls this is up to him, I would suggest not.

The Rugby Ref

Monday, 18 July 2016

Law Amendments for the 2016 season in the RFU

Every four years, rugby's governing body undertakes a complete health-check of the game's playing trends across the Rugby World Cup cycle to ensure that the sport continues to develop at all levels around the world. This extensive process is undertaken with full union consultation and has player welfare, game simplification and fan experience at its core.

The main amendments are:

  • The replacement of a player injured following foul play does not count as one of the allotted number of replacements available to that team. Note this does not apply where interchanges are in use.
  • Advantage may be played following a scrum collapse if there is no risk to player safety
  • Play acting or “simulation” is specifically outlawed in the game in a move that formalises resistance to a practice that has been creeping into the game in recent years. Any player who dives or feigns injury in an effort to influence the match officials will be liable for sanction
  • Teams must be ready to form a scrum within 30 seconds of the mark being made, unless the referee stops the clock for an injury or another stoppage
  • At a re-set scrum following a 90-degree wheel, the ball is thrown in by the team that previously threw it in rather than the team not in possession
  • The scrum-half of the team not in possession at a scrum may not move into the space between the flanker and number eight
  • When the ball has been at the number eight’s feet in a stationary scrum for 3-5 seconds, the referee will call “use it” and the attacking team must use the ball immediately
  • In addition, an important maul law application guideline, that has been in place in the southern hemisphere since 1 January, will be enforced in the north. Specifically, the ball must now be moved backwards hand-to-hand once the maul has formed, with a player not being allowed to physically move or slide to the back of the maul when he is in possession of the ball. Nor are long placements permitted, this is the passing of the ball over the heads of other maul players to a player further back. 
The Rugby Ref

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Ball Kicked From Own Ingoal

Could you please tell me what the ruling is if a defending team has a scrum feed 5m out from their own line and the ball is passed from the halfback back into the ingoal and kicked out on the full?
Hi Richard

So the defending team take the ball back into their own in-goal and then kick the ball straight out.

If they kick the ball out over the dead ball or touch-in-goal lines; the result is a 5m attacking scrum.

If they kicked the ball into touch; the result is the same as if the payer had kicked it out from the 22.
So lineout where the ball crossed the touchline, The opposition get the throw in.

The Rugby Ref

Monday, 23 May 2016

Uncontested Maul at Lineout

As a new referee I am trying to piece together the Laws that apply when a team defending a lineout elect not to form and contest a maul.
So, a team (blue) throw in and win the ball at the lineout. Let's say three blue players bind to the blue player who caught the ball. No red players have made contact with anyone during the lineout and nobody from the red team binds to the ball carrier, so no maul has formed.
Blue now start to move towards the red goal line. Law 19.9 says that no matter how far blue progress the lineout is not over, since there is no ruck or maul to cross the line of touch. Is there another Law that I am missing at this point?
What I have seen happen next is for a red player to then go around to the back of the blue players and attempt to steal the ball. Isn't the offside line through the ball at this point? Why isn't the red player offside under Law 19.14 (c)?
I'm confused and just hoping this doesn't happen in a game I am refereeing until I manage to get my head around it. 
Hi Jon

The IRB (now World Rugby) issued a clarification in 2014 which explained how this should be refereed.
IRB clarification for teams choosing not to engage at the lineout
• if the defenders in the line out choose to not engage the line out drive by leaving the line out as a group, PK to attacking team; 
• if the defenders in the line out choose to not engage the line out drive by simply opening up a gap and creating space and not leaving the line out, the following process would be followed:
- attackers would need to keep the ball with the front player, if they were to drive down-field (therefore play on, general play - defenders could either engage to form a maul, or tackle the ball carrier only);
- if they had immediately passed it back to the player at the rear of the group, the referee would tell them to use it which they must do immediately...
- if they drove forward with the ball at the back (did not release the ball), the referee would award a scrum for accidental offside rather than PK for obstruction.
So in your scenario, as soon as you see that Blue are forming a 'would be' maul, and that Red are not engaging, you need to see where the ball is.

If it is with the front player, it is legal to move forward and Red must either tackle the ball carrier (below the waist), or bind to him (above the waist, full arm bind) to form a maul.  As no maul forms initially the lineout is over when the ball leaves the lineout.

If the ball is at the back of the 'would be' maul, then you need to shout "use it".  If Blue play the ball, play on and keep the game flowing. If they fail to do so, then it is a scrum to Red for accidental offside.

Run this scenario through your head a few times, so that when it happens it will look familiar and you will know what to do.

The Rugby Ref

Is it ever ok for a parent/coach to enter the field of play?

Without going in to too much detail as the incidents are still being investigated is it ever ok for a parent/coach to enter the field of play? A potential safeguarding incident involving an official and player (the player concerned is under the age of 18) occured at which point a couple of coaches/players went on to the pitch to remove the players from the game. These coaches have now been charged with entering the field of play. Surely there are mitigating circumstances ie it wouldn't have happened if the initial incident hadn't happened? Both incidents are being investigated.
Many thanks
Hi Mike

As you haven't gone into any detail there are probably more questions than answers.

The laws of the game say that Coaches may only enter the field of play at half time.  Parents should never enter the field of play.  There are always exceptions and mitigating circumstances, but that doesn't make it right to do so.

If the coaches have been charged with entering the field of play there must be a reason. At the disciplinary hearing they will have the chance to put their case forward and explain their actions

There is not a lot more The Rugby Ref can, or would want to say without having all the facts.

The Rugby Ref