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threegatesexpress
07-10-04, 15:10
One from a couple of weeks ago that's still bothering me...

Ball on the floor, ruck formed, a bit messy with a couple of bodies lying around, but not interfering with play and clear access to the ball on the blue side. No need to ping as ball is being recycled pretty quickly. I shout, "ball's there, use it blue!"

Blue scrum half gets his hands on the ball and as he lifts it no more than a foot off the floor, one of the yellow players who had been bound into the ruck, comes through the middle and grabs the blue scrum half around the shoulders.

Result: instant pile up, ball trapped, and I ping and give penalty blue.

My actions were the result of some advice I had been given by a more senior referee last season, with the rationale being that the player had become unbound and therefore was offside if he drives through the middle (or indeed around the side). However, I think you'd need slowmo replay to identify precise timing of the unbind , but of course the ruck is over when the scrummie touches the ball.

As a point of principal I think that the scrum half should be allowed to get the ball away without interference from within the ruck or we descend into mayhem, but, what are other people's view on this? I can't see a clear explanation in the Laws.

Discuss...

Deeps
12-10-04, 00:10
As a point of principal I think that the scrum half should be allowed to get the ball away without interference from within the ruck or we descend into mayhem.

I admit that I have said elsewhere that when asked to clarify my interpretation of when the ball is out I have encouraged the questioner to have a go and that I would let him know when he gets it wrong. I am not being glib about this as I really believe that players should make up their own minds when the ball is out, based on their judgement, not mine. The transition from in to out is not easy to define but I know when it has happened and I will not make players' tactical decisions for them beforehand. This is a game play decision and players should not expect the referee to remove this element of uncertainty from their decision processes.

One might say that the definition of the in/out moment is when the scrum half's hands are on the ball because, as we all well know, no one may handle in the ruck. But there is a difference between fingers touching the ball and the point at which the scrum half has control over the ball. This is the point at which I think the transition has been made and, as I am constantly in pursuit of an open game, I may just protect the scrumhalf long enough to have the briefest opportunity to get the ball away.

There is too much mayhem already around the tackle/ruck area and anything that contributes to positive play, i.e. getting the ball away from these areas should be promoted. However, a similar judgement call is needed to decide whether the opposition player coming through the middle has slipped his binding early although it is difficult not to have sympathy with a player who has successfully driven through the middle without being held up.

Davet
12-10-04, 09:10
I would agree with Deeps that players must make the call for themsleves. I would also support the argument that the scrm-half sometimes needs a bit of leeway - there are those times when the ball is clearly coming out, but is a little stuck. I have no problem with the scrum-half digging a little and will not necessarily deem the ball out just because he has touched it (nor indeed ping him for hands in which is the strict alternative) - I would let him get the ball clear, and probably call along the lines of "Stay Red; ball's not out"; and if I called that then I would probably feel obligated to call "Ball's out" when it did emerge.

However once that ball is in the open and in the scrum-half's hands then I would say he is fair game for any player who was on-side at the just ended ruck, or was bound into it (a singe whole arm will suffice).

I am also happy if the player leaning over the top, bound with one arm while the ruck was in progress, uses the other to knock the ball from the Scrum-half's grasp.

Though he may of course knock the ball forward when he does so, and he runs the risk of my deeming such an act a deliberate knock-on.

SONA
13-03-05, 15:03
We are having a short discussion of this very subject in our society I will cut and paste the original question which brought this subject to light. I would be interested in your answers.

Refs:

I recently had to explain this to a player..... He was in a ruck, (which his
side lost) and then grabbed the opposing scrum half who had won possession
and was trying to clear the ball. Seems to happen fairly often.

Ruck:
According to the USA Guidelines on the Application of Law (3.1.5) if the
scrummie has "two hands on the ball in a ruck, then the ball is out of the
ruck, and the ruck has ended. Opponents of the scrummie in the ruck may not
interfere with his clearance of the ball". The Guidelines do not specify
the penalty.

Contradiction or exception? If the scrummie has two hands on the ball, then
ball is out of the ruck, the ruck is over, therefore, open play, the
scrummie can be tackled, but actually cant be.

Maul:
According to the USA Guidelines on the Application of Law (4.1.5)
"opponents participating in the maul must not interfere with the scrumhalf
of the team in possession of the ball". Interesting that in the case of the
maul the Guidelines do not use the phrase "with his clearance of the ball".
Intentional? This implies, of course, that there must be no interference
before the scrum half has the ball (intuitive anyway). But this leaves the
option to interfere when the scrum half is clearing the ball.

I actually like the fact that it is illegal to "interfere" with clearance at
a ruck (which, when obeyed, promotes good constructive play) - however not
to many players know this. This seems like a US specific requirement
because in South Africa there was no such guideline.

There is of course an art to one scrummie "interfering" with another at
scrum time, but the natural follow up question is why, inn the US, is it
not illegal to interfere with clearance from a scrum, maul or lineout?

I would appreciate your perspective on this. Thanks.

Robert Burns
14-03-05, 00:03
It is still illegal to pull someone into a ruck, and so you could get them on that. just tell them they were too quick, unbinding before he had picked it.

Account Deleted
15-03-05, 09:03
I would agree with Deeps that players must make the call for themsleves. I would also support the argument that the scrm-half sometimes needs a bit of leeway - there are those times when the ball is clearly coming out, but is a little stuck. I have no problem with the scrum-half digging a little and will not necessarily deem the ball out just because he has touched it (nor indeed ping him for hands in which is the strict alternative) - I would let him get the ball clear, and probably call along the lines of "Stay Red; ball's not out"; and if I called that then I would probably feel obligated to call "Ball's out" when it did emerge.

However once that ball is in the open and in the scrum-half's hands then I would say he is fair game for any player who was on-side at the just ended ruck, or was bound into it (a singe whole arm will suffice).

I am also happy if the player leaning over the top, bound with one arm while the ruck was in progress, uses the other to knock the ball from the Scrum-half's grasp.

Though he may of course knock the ball forward when he does so, and he runs the risk of my deeming such an act a deliberate knock-on.

'm not sure about the player making his own judgement. (which OK all players must do all the time to an extent) The ref is, as we keep harping on, the "sole judge of fact" so if we are going to shout "Ruck - Hands away" or whatever, we are bound to call "ball's out" or something similar.

What we don't need is to call "hands off" 9 or 10 time as we sometimes hear at games. Let the players know what phase of play we are in (I don't meen 3rd or 4th and penalise if needed.

threegatesexpress
15-03-05, 09:03
I am yet to see a player who is fast enough to unbind after the ball is out and interfere with the scrum half getting it away from a ruck, maul or scrum (apart from the oppo SH at the scrum, who isn't bound). Therefore any player who interferes with the SH must have become unbound before the ball was out and therefore must be offside! (All with the caveat that the SH must be acting quickly....if he's slow then tough!)

Account Deleted
15-03-05, 10:03
I am yet to see a player who is fast enough to unbind after the ball is out and interfere with the scrum half getting it away from a ruck, maul or scrum (apart from the oppo SH at the scrum, who isn't bound). Therefore any player who interferes with the SH must have become unbound before the ball was out and therefore must be offside! (All with the caveat that the SH must be acting quickly....if he's slow then tough!)

They only need be bound with one full arm so it is clearly possible.

Robert Burns
16-03-05, 00:03
Then you have pulling someone into the ruck, loud blast penalty.

Got to give the SH a reasonable time to get it away, but as said before, if he's slow, tough!

Account Deleted
17-03-05, 19:03
Then you have pulling someone into the ruck, loud blast penalty.

Got to give the SH a reasonable time to get it away, but as said before, if he's slow, tough!

What I'm trying to say is that it is perfectly possible to be bound in a ruck / maul and to dislodge the ball from the SH's hands. Why must he be allowed to get the ball away?

Robert Burns
17-03-05, 23:03
Because you would have a very scrappy and horrible game if you didn't.

Bearing in mind the ball is on the floor at the back of the ruck, for a player to be bound and far enough over to disrupt the scrum half you then could have him for handling in the ruck if SH has not yet picked it up, what I am saying is if you allow it to happen your rucks are going to become awful. It must be managed. IMHO.

didds
18-03-05, 01:03
then why do we bother to permit comtestb of the ball at the tackle in the first place ... if all we want is a clean and hassle free post-contact scenario why don;t we just let the tackled player stand up and give the ball to the scrum-half.... he copuld roll the ball back between his legs say...

... hold on....

didds

Robert Burns
18-03-05, 03:03
I am not saying the contest is removed, The contest is with the forwards in driving over so that the ball is on their side of the ruck, their forwards have done their work legally and now the ball is there for the next phase.

The law that is relevant here is to my mid this:




16.6 SUCCESSFUL END TO A RUCK

A ruck ends successfully when the ball leaves the ruck, or when the ball is on or over the goal-line.



Now I would say the ball leaves the ruck when the scrum half either runs with it, or passes it away, and should be able to do this quickly without interference.


So no, the contest is not removed, it is already won, we now want to move onto the next plahse.

didds
18-03-05, 07:03
03:40 am?

up before the birds Robert?! (aside from owls of course... ;-)

Milkman?

:-)

didds

Robert Burns
18-03-05, 20:03
Nope, Railway Signal Engineer.

Making sure first trains are ok after my mods, lol