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

Friday, 6 May 2016

Double Movement

Hi can you clarify double movement laws please
I thought you were allowed to make a positive movement post tackle
Simon Carlton Rhodes

Hi Simon

The words "double movement" do not appear anywhere in the laws of the game.
Following a tackle the ball carrier has to  pass, place or release the ball "immediately". (Law 15.5).

There is one exception.  A ball carrier tackled close to the try line may reach out and ground the ball to score, but again this must be done "immediately".

Double movement is a phrase usually used to describe the actions of a ball carrier who scrabbles along on his hands and knees, or lurches forward using his knees and elbows, after having been tackled.  This kind of action is penalised as "not releasing the ball immediately after a tackle".

The Rugby Ref

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Punching the Ball in a Ruck

In the Sarries v Falcons game last Sunday. A Sarries forward started throwing punches in a ruck. The ref and TMO reviewed the incident and said the Sarries player was attempting to punch the ball being held by a falcons player on the ground. As no punches landed on the player, then this was ok and so no penalty to Falcons.
Surely this was dangerous play and reckless. Any views please?
The Rugby Ref has had a look at the incident and the referee's description it totally correct.  The Sarries player was attempting to dislodge the ball which was being held.  As he was only striking the ball no foul play has occurred, so no offence.  If anything the offence was against Newcastle for holding the ball in a ruck.  As it was, the penalty went against Newcastle anyway for side entry.

Of far more concern was the Newcastle players asking for a red card and challenging the referee.  We don't do that in Rugby!

The Rugby Ref

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Simultaneous Touchdown

In Exeter vs Wasps game this weekend why, when TMO adjudged simultaneous touchdown in goal after kick through by Steenson , did he give 5m scrum to Exeter. surely it's either a try or a 22 drop out to Wasps. As Exeter then scored seems a little harsh on defending side
Wayne Morris

Hi Wayne

This is a rare occurrence, but is specifically covered in law.
If there is doubt about which team first grounded the ball in the in-goal, play is re-started by a 5-metre scrum, in line with the place where the ball was grounded. The attacking team throws in the ball.
The Rugby Ref