Tuesday 27 March 2018

Minimum number of players

Hi, if i start with 7 players on the pitch, and no subs, what is the minimum number of players i must have on the pitch before the game is forfeit,  if i have injuries that can't continue? thanks.

Interesting question.  The law is silent on the minimum number of players required to be in a team, the only thing it mentions is that there has to be a minimum of 5 players in a scrum.  So assuming you also need to have a someone to put the ball into a scrum, then 6 a side is as low as you can go.

Having said that league and competition regulations will often cover this, especially at the lower levels, but this usually covers how many players you need to start a match, not how many you need to finish it.

So in the absence of any other information The Rugby Ref would say 6 to a side.

The Rugby Ref

Thursday 22 March 2018

Tackling a player in the air

Players being tackled whilst in the air has become one of the big taboos in the modern game, and rightly so in certain circumstances. My question is on a situation out of the norm.
Anyone who watched the England v Wales match this season will have applauded Sam Underhill's superb try saving tackle on Scott Williams. If you didn't see it, Williams dived early and tried to slide for the try line in the corner, and Underhill grabbed him and rolled him into touch. What if Williams had dived for the corner but had stayed up in the air? If Underhill had tackled him then and got him into touch, would it have been a penalty try and a yellow card?

Hi John

You are correct that the law says you cannot tackle a player in the air.  Specifically it says:
Law 9
17. A player must not tackle, charge, pull, push or grasp an opponent whose feet are off the ground.
However we have to careful taking the law literally.  When a player is running there are times when both feet are off the floor, but that does not mean you cannot tackle a running player, so a little common sense has to come into play.

In your example, providing the tackle wasn't dangerous it would be allowed, otherwise the game would be unplayable.  Dangerous might involve no arms in the tackle.

I think we all know what the law means?  You cannot tackle a player who is jumping for a ball, or who has been lifted for the ball and has not returned to the ground.  That player is in a vulnerable position and safety dictates we must protect them.

Good question though John.
The Rugby Ref

Thursday 8 March 2018

New ruck law

Hello, according to the new ruck law... after a tackle, if the tackler gets on their feet (of course from his side too) and then stands over the ball... is a ruck formed ?... or the ruck will be formed always by a 3rd arriving player ?
Diego S. Cicero
Hi Diego

First of all this New Ruck Law is only a trial at the moment, however the simple answer to your question is 'Yes" a ruck is formed.

Here is the wording from the World Rugby Global Law Trials (GLTs)
Law 16: Amended Ruck Law
A ruck commences when at least one player is on their feet and over the ball which is on the ground (tackled player, tackler). At this point the offside line is created. A player on their feet may use their hands to pick up the ball as long as this is immediate. As soon as an opposition player arrives no hands can be used.
Guidance Notes:The “one man” ruck only applies after a tackle and that normal ruck law applies to all other situations e.g. player voluntarily going to ground, ball on ground in open play etc. The offside line is formed when a player from either team arrive over the ball.
 So for this new one player ruck first we have to have a tackle, it doesn't apply to a single player going to ground to gather a loose ball for example.  If this player is the tackler and he legally enters (or re-enters) the tackle zone to stand over the ball then a one man ruck is formed.  It might help to think of it as a tackle zone with offside lines.  (Remember that this was brought in to counteract the negative play from Italy of standing around the tackle area to stifle play.)  This player may play the ball providing he does so immediately.  As soon as an opposition player arrives no hands can be used.

It doesn't necessarily look like a conventional ruck (which is why it might help to think of it as a tackle with offside lines), but the ruck laws apply.

Great question Diego
The Rugby Ref

Tuesday 6 March 2018

Player leaving the field of play.

Gloucester first try against Newcastle in the Premiership on Saturday 3 March 2018
The Gloucester player received a pass near the touch line run’s forward then grubber kick’s the ball forward he then goes off the pitch but carries on running about a metre off the pitch for about 10 metre’s going pass Newcastle player’s he then come’s back on the pitch collect’s his kick and score’s a try.
Can you pleas tell me why he was allowed to do this as he had gone off the pitch?
Michael Foxcroft

Hi Michael

The Rugby Ref saw this incident, it was a great bit of individual skill.  There is no law that says a player cannot temporarily leave the field of play, or re-enter it, so this action was perfectly legal.  The Rugby Ref has listed a couple of laws to demonstrate this:

Law 21 (In-goal) specifically allows a player outside the field of play to take part in the game.  That player can even score a try while off the field of play.
Law 21 10. If a player is in touch or touch-in-goal, they can make a touch down or score a try by grounding the ball in in-goal provided they are not holding the ball.
Law 18 (Touch, Quick Throw and Lineout) also states how a player in touch can play the ball without making it dead, so play continues.
Law 182. The ball is not in touch or touch-in-goal if:b. A player jumps, from within or outside the playing area, and catches the ball, and then lands in the playing area, regardless of whether the ball reached the plane oftouch.c. A player, who is in touch, kicks or knocks the ball, but does not hold it, provided ithas not reached the plane of touch.
Thanks for the question.
The Rugby Ref