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

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