Based upon this Sunday’s “interesting” approach to the ruck by Italy…my question is,
Can the referee still require the scrum-half to “use it” if no ruck or maul is called? (As he did in the Italy v England game)
If not, then there might be even more “interesting” outcomes.
First we need to establish that the Italian approach was "Not" to let a ruck form. There plan was that if no ruck is formed following a tackle, then there are no offside lines, so their players can go round to the far side of the tackle area and block the 9 to 10 line. They do have to be careful not to breach the tackle zone, or they are guilty of not entering through the gate. The tackle zone is an area 1m from the tackle, all round it.
The Law Book mentions "Use It" in the laws on the scrum, ruck and maul. The lawmakers probably never envisioned that it would be required at a tackle only situation. However we cannot let the ball sit at the back of a tackle forever, so it would be reasonable for the referee to call "use it" in that situation.
We also have law 15.6 at our disposal.
15.6 (e) Any player who gains possession of the ball at the tackle must play the ball immediately by moving away or passing or kicking the ball.
Sanction: Penalty kick
Thanks for raising this point
The Rugby Ref