Sunday, 7 October 2018

Grounding the ball and Uncontested scrums

I was watching two games simultaneously this Saturday and have two questions; 
First, the attacking team took a penalty kick at goal which fell marginally short, one of the defenders caught it with one foot in-goal and one foot in the field of play.He then ran to the 22 and took a quick re-start. My question is did the defender take the ball in-goal, so should it have been a 5 metre scrum, or was the referee right to allow the 22 drop out? 
My second question from this weekend involves numbers in the scrum. In the game the team in blue had had a player sent off for a tip tackle so were playing with 14. A little later they needed to go ‘uncontested’ (I’ll not go into why, however it did look like gamesmanship), this is allowed in the competition rules without the need to ‘drop a player’, my question is twofold. Firstly should they have had numerical parity in the scrum? Secondly, if so in a lower level Yorkshire Merit fixture whose responsibility is it to make sure it happens? Should the referee know the competition rules or is it a Law, or should the opposing team have to ask for parity 
All the best, as ever, 
Hi Jim

First question: From your description the ball was still in the field of play, but the catcher had a foot on the goal line. That means the catcher took the ball back into in goal. If he then grounds the ball he has taken it back into in-goal, so it’s a 5m attacking scrum.
However, from your description he didn’t ground the ball at all, so it’s play on.
Law 21. 13 and 14 refer.
Law 21
13.  If any part of a defending player is in in-goal, that player is considered to be in in-goal, provided they are not also in touch or on or over the dead-ball line.
14.  If a player, who is in in-goal, catches or picks up a ball that is still in the field of play, that player has taken the ball into in-goal.

Second question: all uncontested scrums must be played with 8 v 8.  Law 3.15 tells us this. As this is a law rather than a competition regulation then the referee should know this. Teams should have copies of any competition regulations on hand.
Law 3
15.  Uncontested scrums as a result of a sending off, temporary suspension or injury must be played with eight players per side.

Thanks for the questions.
The Rugby Ref.

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