Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Balls into Scrums - Straight or what?

Balls put into modern scrums never seem to go in straight towards the hookers - indeed they are usually skewed directly to the prop(s) of the scrum-half's own side.  Surely this is wrong ?   Perhaps the referees ignore this in the interests of getting play rersumed as soon as possible ?
Hookers used to be there to win the ball and to hook it back to their pack team mates:  ie the scrum is a "contest" to determine the winner of the ball.   Scrums seem pointless, except for territorial gain, if the scrum-half simply throws it in towards his own side ?  
Contrast this observation (during the Six Nations) with Line Outs, where the thrower-in is required to throw it centrally between the two sides, and will be penalised if he doesn't.
I  may not have played for 60 years, but surely I am right on this point about the scrums?  I shall be interested in your response !
John Lobley

You are preaching to the converted.  Every weekend at grass roots level scrum halves get penalised for not straight feeds, so why doesn't it happen at professional level?

Sorry, The Rugby Ref doesn't have the answer.  The Rugby Ref insists on a credible feed with some part of the ball on the centre line.

The Rugby Ref

Two questions regarding mauls.

Hi ask the ref,
I have two questions regarding mauls.
Law 17 states that a maul begins when ‘one or more of the ball carrier’s team mates bind on the ball carrier’ after being held up by an opponent, and reiterates ‘All the players involved must be caught in or bound to the maul’, which I interpret as that the rule that team mates must bind to the ball carrier remains throughout the duration of the maul, is that correct? If so, what I have seen is the ball carrier (often binding with little more than just a hand in violation of 17.2 c) binding onto a team mate, without a team mate bound to him. Surely in this scenario, the ball carrier is not/no longer part of the maul, his team mates are offside, potentially guilty of obstruction, and the opposing team are within their rights to tackle the baller carrier as the ball carrier is in fact in open play?
My second question is again with regard to ball carrier’s conduct in the maul. There has been the introduction of a clarification in the southern hemisphere, and to be introduced in June? in the northern hemisphere which is aimed at stopping the action of ‘swimming’ back through a maul, but what I have also seen from time to time, is the changing of bind by the ball carrier from one team mate to another. As per law 17.5 a maul ends when ‘the ball or a player with the ball leaves the maul’, does this not constitute leaving the maul? And as per my first question, potentially make his team mates guilty of obstruction also of being offside?
Thanks in advance,
Hi Adam

Your two questions are essentially asking the same thing, which is 'why do referees on the television allow the ball carrier at the back of a maul to bind with just one hand, or detach and rebind?'

You are correct in that the law requires all those involved in a maul to remain bound for the entire process, or leave the maul.  However we have to be practical here, the maul is a dynamic thing and it surges forward, stops, surges forward, stops, etc, as it moves along.  This means the ball carriers bind will lengthen and shorten as the maul moves.  Does it gain him an advantage? Not really.  So do we want to penalise him?  Only if he completely detaches and then rejoins the maul, at which point a quick word should allow us to play on or blow the whistle.

Keep the game flowing and blow only when necessary.

The Rugby Ref