Thursday, 22 February 2018

The Rugby selected amongst the Top 30 UK Rugby Blogs

The Rugby Ref has been selected as one of the Top 30 UK Rugby Blogs on the web.

This is the most comprehensive list of Top 30 UK Rugby Blogs on the internet and The Rugby Ref is honored to be on the list.

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Feedspot’s editorial team and expert review

Monday, 5 February 2018

Scrumhalf leaves the scrum?

Hi ref,
I have some questions about scrum half leaving the scrum.
1. Can the scrum half of team winning the ball move far away before the end of the scrum? (If he keeps behind the hindmost foot of the scrum)
2. For U19, we know the ball cannot be held under the no.8. If question 1 is positive, should I award a FK to defensive team since the leaving scrum half normally follows the ball being held under the no.8?
3. If 1 is positive, can defensive scrum half follow the offensive half once the offensive one move away toward the left side?
Hi there, thanks for the questions. In general the offside line for scrum halves is the ball; or they retire to the back foot on their side of the scrum and may then traverse across the pitch (but not in front of the back foot); or they retire back to at least 5m behind the back foot and remain there until the scrum is over.

To answer your questions specifically:
1. Yes he can.
2. The Rugby Ref would advise shouting "use it" and encouraging the No 8 to pick up the ball and play it. A Free Kick in this instance should be a last resort.  If this were to happen and they didn't use it The Rugby Ref would advise the teams of their obligations at the next scrum.  Remember to look for ways "not" to blow the whistle.
3. Yes, both scrum halves can traverse the pitch as long as they stay behind their respective back foot.

Law 19 (2018 numbering)
28. Prior to the start of play in the scrum, the scrum-half of the team not throwing in the ball stands:
a. On that team’s side of the middle line next to the opposing scrum-half, or
b. At least five metres behind the hindmost foot of their team’s last player in thescrum and remains there until the completion of the scrum.
29. Once play in the scrum begins, the scrum-half of the team in possession has at least one foot level with or behind the ball.
30. Once play in the scrum begins, the scrum-half of the team not in possession:
a. Takes up a position with both feet behind the ball and close to the scrum or
b. Permanently retires to a point on the offside line either at that team’s hindmostfoot, or
c. Permanently retires at least five metres behind the hindmost foot.

The Rugby Ref

Friday, 26 January 2018

Ruck confusions

I am seeing an increase in the amount of players from attacking sides joining a ruck, going over the ball and then putting their hands on the ground. This is to my mind sealing off and should always be pinged, as is the case with a defending player with hands on the ground past the ball. Also the joining of a ruck seems to be very biased against defending players while attacking players are given a lot more leeway in where they join from, how far past the ruck they clear out and often clearing without even touching a team mate let alone binding first. While I applaud running rugby, I feel the fairness of contest is being undermined in the pursuit of a preconceived type of game.

You don't say what level of rugby you are watching, but I suspect this is TV rugby you are referring to, so The Rugby Ref has to start by saying that TV rugby is a different beast from grass roots rugby that most people play and watch on a Saturday afternoon.  Despite their being one law book for all, rugby at the top levels is refereed differently for a variety of reason.  The players are stronger and faster; the TV people who pay for this are looking for entertainment and thus put referees under pressure to keep the game flowing.  There is a whole separate debate to be had on this subject that is outside the scope of this blog.

So looking at grass roots rugby...players putting hands on the floor past the ball is indeed sealing off, or bridging, and will be penalised if it has a material effect on the breakdown.  If the attacking team is not competing at the breakdown then it may not be material, although the referee has to be careful that the sealing off may be the reason they are not competing.  This is covered in law as the player being off his feet and is frequently dealt with.  If the player goes from hands past the ball to scooping up the ball he will generally be penalised.

Are attackers given more leeway?  Positive rugby is to be applauded and rewarded, but only if it is legal.  Players must join from their own side and alongside a player from their team.  Depending on the size of the breakdown area this "could" give a lot of leeway.  If a player clears out past the ruck area they are then offside and must reload back to their own side, however if the ball is already on it's way out this may not be material.

You are correct that there must be a fair contest, materiality may come into play, but this doesn't mean offences can be ignored.  Generally the referee will talk to players at downtime and say that "this time it didn't affect play, but if you continue it may be penalised".  The laws of rugby are not meant to be black and white, they are grey and open to interpretation by the referee who will use his experience to keep the game flowing.  However this should not be done to the detriment of the contest. 

Referees are only human and sometimes they get it wrong, sometimes they interpret it differently, although they try to avoid that through training and discussion as Society level.  The core values of rugby reflect this and players will accept what the referee decides even if they disagree, this is what separates rugby from soccer and long may it continue.

The Rugby Ref

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Line Outs

In a couple of recent games my sons team have been thwarted in the lineout on their throw.
The opposition put 2 men up front and middle before the ball is thrown and keep them there until the ball is thrown, this obviously makes it very difficult for our thrower and we only have a front and back ball option. I think this is illegal but because he plays in France and my French is very limited I cannot  get my point across. I must add that this is an u18 league with a properly appointed referee.
Kind regards
Hi Norman

This sounds illegal to The Rugby Ref because players can't jump or be lifted until after the ball has left the hands of the thrower.

Looking at the new 2018 Law Book:
Law 18
20. Players must not jump or be lifted or supported before the ball has left the hands of the player throwing in. Sanction: Free-kick.
So if the opposition are held in the air waiting for the ball to be thrown it is a Free Kick offence.  The Free Kick to be taken 15m in from the touchline.  This applies to both teams.  The Rugby Ref would expect the thrower not to throw while these players are in the air, but to wait for them to come back to ground first.

The Rugby Ref doubts very much if there is some local regulation in France to negate this law.

Thanks for the question
The Rugby Ref

Monday, 8 January 2018

Uncontested Scrums

We all think we know what an uncontested scrum is. Primarily no pushing when the ball is put in. Yesterday during the game the referee had to order uncontested scrums. But during the rest of the game both No 8s picked up the ball at the base and carried the ball.
Is this allowed for uncontested scrums? When I looked at Law 3, not much information is given as to what constitutes an uncontested scrum.
Hi Steve

When scrums go uncontested there is no pushing allowed, and the putting in side must win the ball.
ALL other scrum laws still apply.

So there is no restriction on the No 8 picking up the ball in accordance with Law 20.10(c)
20.10 ENDING THE SCRUM(c) Hindmost player unbinds. The hindmost player in a scrum is the player whose feet are nearest the team’s own goal line. If the hindmost player unbinds from the scrum with the ball at that player’s feet and picks up the ball , the scrum ends.
The Rugby Ref

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Passive scrums

Can the number 8 and number 9 change position in a passive scrum?

Hi James

Providing they start off in these positions then yes the No 8 can act as scrum half and the No 9 can play in the back of the scrum. They can't change places after the scrum has set though.  They could do this in uncontested or contested scrums.

The Rugby Ref

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Interpretation of going off feet

Post tackle when opposition players engage to form a ruck and in the act of driving the opposition the the opponent yields goes backwards thus causing the the winning player to go to ground despite winning the battle.
Could you give an interpretation on this as the law refers to intentionally (I think) going to ground.

Hi Paddy

If I understand your question correctly this is ruckers driving over and going to ground from their own momentum, versus them going to ground through being pulled over the ruck by the defenders.

In the first case where a counter ruck goes over the ball but then goes to ground The Rugby Ref would be looking for the grounded player to move away pretty swiftly.  If the lie over the ball and kill the contest then they are going to be penalised for going to ground.

In the second case where a defender at the ruck pulls an opponent over the ruck and onto the ground The Rugby Ref would again be looking for the grounded players to move away to allow play to continue. However The Rugby Ref would not penalise the grounded player, but would caution the defender not to pull players over the ruck, but instead to bind on and push.  The ruck is a pushing contest not a pulling contest.  If the defender failed to heed the warning he would be penalised for failure to bind in the ruck.  If a defender is pulling a player through the ruck he is part of the ruck but is not bound to anyone.  A bind must be from armpit to wrist.

The Rugby Ref