Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Taking a quick free kick for an early shove.

Afternoon, I hope you are well. 
Can a team given a free kick for an early shove at a scrum take the kick straight away or is there a requirement to have the packs disengaged before taking the free kick ?
Thank you 
Regards David Forrest

Hi David

Good question.  The team can take the Free Kick quickly, generally speaking referees are in favour of allowing a team to play at a high tempo providing it is done correctly and safely.

The place for the Free Kick is the centre of the scrum, obviously this place isn't accessible if the scrum is still formed, so moving backwards from the mark the nearest place to take the kick is at the base of the Number 8's feet.

A proviso against his would be if the scrum had collapsed for some reason, when the referee might want to make sure everyone got up safely before allowing the game to continue.
21.2 WHERE PENALTY AND FREE KICKS ARE TAKEN(a) The kicker must take the penalty or free kick at the mark or anywhere behind it on a linethrough the mark.....
It should also be noted that this action puts the teammates of the Free Kick taker who are still engaged in the scrum, in an offside position, and as such they cannot take part in the game until they have been put onside.

The same would apply for a Penalty Kick at a scrum.

The Rugby Ref

Hookers 'binding' in scrum

Hi rugby ref, 
I've been hooking 13 years. On occasion, an opposing hooker intentionally goes head to head during '"bind," blocking me from correct head position at the 'cup' of my opposing hooker and prop. Then at "set" the hooker ducks into the 'cup' of the shoulders.
The ref calls "set" once the front rows are ready. Are hookers head to head considered 'ready' for "set"?

Hi Kyle

The law states that front row players must interlock heads, ear to ear.  On the command "Crouch" and "Bind" front row players are expected to be in a position ready for "Set".
20.1 (f) Front rows coming together. First, the referee marks with a foot the place where thescrum is to be formed. Before the two front rows come together they must be standing notmore than an arm’s length apart. The ball is in the scrum half’s hands, ready to be thrown in.The front rows must crouch so that when they meet, each player’s head and shoulders areno lower than the hips. The front rows must interlock ear against ear so that no player’shead is next to the head of a team-mate.
The Rugby Ref would not consider hookers being forehead to forehead as being ready.  This is usually a tactic by one or the other hooker to intimidate the opposition, and as such it is a potential flashpoint.
The Rugby Ref would stand up a scrum forming in that way and explain that heads need to be "in the gap".  So the answer to your question is "No".

Thanks for the question
The Rugby Ref