Friday 9 June 2023

 Hi Ref,

I saw some GMG which mentioned “Rolling the ball back with hands by the scrum half position player during ruck, the ruck is end.

How do you think and what laws supports this?



Hi there

This brings up an interesting discussion around Game Management Guidelines (GMG's).  Every Union tends to have either their own set of GMG's, or none at all.  If your Union has GMG's then you should follow those, this will put you in step with all the other match officials in your area/country.

For the purpose of this discussion however let’s stick to the laws of the game. 

15.11. Once a ruck has formed, no player may handle the ball unless they were able to get their hands on the ball before the ruck formed and stay on their feet.

15.14. Players may play the ball with their feet, provided they do so in a safe manner.

15.17. When the ball has been clearly won by a team at the ruck, and is available to be played, the referee calls use it, after which the ball must be played away from the ruck within five seconds.

So the scrum half may move the ball to the back of the ruck with their foot and then play it away.

The law would suggest that using the hands to move the ball to the back of the ruck would be a penalty, 

Picking the ball up and playing it away means the ruck is over.

In reality if the ball is trapped we will allow the scrum half to use their hands to roll it back until it is free, this is to allow the game to flow, otherwise they must use their feet.


The Rugby Ref

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