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Crucial
29-09-14, 01:09
Hi all,

I hope you don't mind me butting into your forums to hopefully tap into your combined knowledge, but I have a question regarding a ruling made twice by Craig Joubert in the AB/ARG test.

Joubert penalised McCaw (and later an Argentinian player) for 'swinging around the ruck', an 'offense I have never seen or heard of before.

SA Rugby Refs discussed this back in April this year after a ruling during a Super Rugby game and couldn't come to a conclusion either.

I will try and find a clip and post it but from memory McCaw arrived at a breakdown after a tackle on a 'blue' ball carrier. The next arrival was a supporting blue player who formed a ruck with McCaw and twisted black around and up in the wrestle over the ball. Black ended up with his feet beside the breakdown and was able to then reach around with his leg and kick the ball from the back of the ruck (blue side). Joubert blew the penalty and said 'you can't swing around the ruck'.

Salient points:

The ruck was formed legally. Not in the side. Contact wasn't broken between the players.

So if McCaw became part off (formed) a ruck, on his feet, from behind the ball and remained bound, what Law says he cannot then reach around the ruck with his foot to play the ball?

In a way I can see that the ruling was consistent with the way mauls are ruled on (regardless of the stated Law) where a player that joins, is bound, and doesn't become unbound, is told to remove himself from the maul if it swings around and he becomes on the 'wrong' side. He has committed no offence and done everything by the book but gets told to detach.

Is this (the ruck question, not the maul) another 'directive' to referees that no one else knows about? It sure seemed to puzzle both players that were penalised the other night.

Crucial
29-09-14, 01:09
Here is the link to the SA Referees similar incident earlier this year

http://www.sareferees.com/laws/view/2830545/

menace
29-09-14, 02:09
I've not yet seen the game you mention but in the clip you provided, CJs secondary signal appears IMO to be an animated 'incorrect entry' (or 'in the side'). Effectively in the vid it's the 2nd player that hooks around that I think he PKs for entry/offside.
One could argue that he's bound properly, but I'd say his joining the ruck may have been marginal and at the time of his hooking for the ball makes it look like he's not fully bound (ie his right shoulder and arm appear to separate so that he can pivot round)

PS I've been told that this sort of action should be penalised if the player is not absolutely fully bound in the ruck the whole time (and they've joined correctly).

Crucial
29-09-14, 02:09
Thanks Menace.

If the player isn't properly bound at all times then I agree. That's like someone 'swimming' up the side at a maul.

I know it's difficult without the pictures of the PKs I am asking about but imagine if the players concerned were bound at all times. Where is the offence then?

Also,if it's a case that CJ feels they were unbound then why not just an offside call? Why complicate matters with a ruling that doesn't technically exist? He specifically says 'you can't swing around the side'. My question is 'why not?'

Ian_Cook
29-09-14, 03:09
Crucial

I saw the match and I know the incident you were talking about. IMO, they were both correct decisions by Joubert

A player bound to a ruck (or bound into it by other players in the ruck) and on his feet, is entitled to play the ball in the opponent's side of the ruck with his feet, provided that he comes "through the middle". What he cannot do is what both McCaw and Senatore(?) did, and that is, hang of the side of the ruck so that he is almost horizontal, swing his leg around the players in the ruck, and hook the ball out with his heel.

Its is doubtful that either player was correctly bound, but even if they were, they must remain on their feet to play the ball. IMO, in both cases (its more obvious in McCaw's case) that the players were off their feet.

LAW 16 DEFINITIONS
A ruck is a phase of play where one or more players from each team, who are on their feet, in physical contact, close around the ball on the ground. Open play has ended.
Players are rucking when they are in a ruck and using their feet to try to win or keep possession of the ball, without being guilty of foul play.

LAW 16.3 RUCKING
(a) Players in a ruck must endeavour to stay on their feet.
Sanction: Penalty kick

Crucial
29-09-14, 04:09
Thanks Ian.

For starters 16.3 must be the most ignored Law in the book at present

Secondly if you have one foot on the ground surely you have to be 'on your feet' otherwise correct rucking (ie with a lifted foot) would deem you off your feet

Have a look at the SA Refs clip (same ref, same decision). If you ignore the possible loss of bind from the player, he still had a foot on the ground and was therefore on his feet. The call is quite clearly 'Swinging around the ruck'. If he had jumped there you have a point, even if pedantic, of being off his feet at some point. But he didn't.

Neither Law you quote applies to the situation.

Ian_Cook
29-09-14, 04:09
Thanks Ian.

For starters 16.3 must be the most ignored Law in the book at present

Secondly if you have one foot on the ground surely you have to be 'on your feet' otherwise correct rucking (ie with a lifted foot) would deem you off your feet

Have a look at the SA Refs clip (same ref, same decision). If you ignore the possible loss of bind from the player, he still had a foot on the ground and was therefore on his feet. The call is quite clearly 'Swinging around the ruck'. If he had jumped there you have a point, even if pedantic, of being off his feet at some point. But he didn't.

Neither Law you quote applies to the situation.

McCaw was almost lying on this side with one knee on the ground. That is not "on your feet".

I may have the game on MySky at home, I will try to dig out the footage and post a clip tonight. '

I think you will find most here will agree that what McCaw and Senatore did was not legal?

Crucial
29-09-14, 04:09
Cheers. I'm not trying to argue that it was legal, I'm trying to determine what Law CJ was applying.

If McCaw was 'off his feet' then that is a different thing to 'swinging around the side'. The Argentina player was also pinged for the same 'offence' under slightly differing circumstances and in the SA refs clip, that again was different.

The question really is whether CJ (as he is the only ref I have ever seen or heard making this call), has made up something, whether this is maybe a directive I don't know about (quite possible as I'm not a ref), or whether CJ is using this terminology for various offences that end similarly (quite odd).

The common factor is a player swinging his outside leg around the ruck to play the ball and being penalised for that action.

Perhaps the better question to ask if that if I am legally bound in a ruck and can reach around the ruck with my foot to play at the ball, is that legal? CJ appears to think it isn't.

Ian_Cook
29-09-14, 09:09
OK so here is the clip of McCaw (I can'tfind the the one of the Argentine player being PK for the same thing as I only have the highlights package).


https://www.youtube.com/watch?edit=vd&v=cHJSLWZZgy0

McCaw definitely looks off his feet when he kicks the ball.

Benny
29-09-14, 13:09
I also have a question about that game. In the 6th minute, Savea chips ahead and Hernandez catches and runs the ball into touch. Before putting the ball down, he taps it onto the back of the AR then places it for the ABs. The ABs take a quick throw but it's called back because the ball touched the AR. Is it just me or was tapping the ball on the back of the AR against the spirit of the law? Is it legal? He had no reason to do it besides preventing a quick throw

menace
29-09-14, 13:09
OK so here is the clip of McCaw (I can'tfind the the one of the Argentine player being PK for the same thing as I only have the highlights package).


https://www.youtube.com/watch?edit=vd&v=cHJSLWZZgy0

McCaw definitely looks off his feet when he kicks the ball.
I agree. I would also say that he wasn't bound in the ruck at the time either. He formed the ruck with the in contact, but then didn't remain bound and then had a second go and swung the leg around as he was effectively losing his feet.
I also agree that the wording by CJ is poor...I think for a ref at his level he should be using the right law terms so that there is no doubt about what he means (his secondary signal seems to again suggest incorrect entry ?!)

menace
29-09-14, 13:09
I also have a question about that game. In the 6th minute, Savea chips ahead and Hernandez catches and runs the ball into touch. Before putting the ball down, he taps it onto the back of the AR then places it for the ABs. The ABs take a quick throw but it's called back because the ball touched the AR. Is it just me or was tapping the ball on the back of the AR against the spirit of the law? Is it legal? He had no reason to do it besides preventing a quick throw

I have no issue with that. As he was the one taking into touch I think he has every right to ensure that it is 'dead' to stop a QT (not just a zombie ball ie half dead but half alive). He only stops a QT, he doesn't stop the potential for a quick lineout. Was there an opposition player trying to get the ball from him? If not then no issue. Also if there is a 'third party' deliberately getting involved to prevent a QT then I think that becomes an issue.

But I could be wrong and I'm happy to be corrected.

Dixie
29-09-14, 14:09
I also have a question about that game. In the 6th minute, Savea chips ahead and Hernandez catches and runs the ball into touch. Before putting the ball down, he taps it onto the back of the AR then places it for the ABs. The ABs take a quick throw but it's called back because the ball touched the AR. Is it just me or was tapping the ball on the back of the AR against the spirit of the law? Is it legal? He had no reason to do it besides preventing a quick throw


I have no issue with that. As he was the one taking into touch I think he has every right to ensure that it is 'dead' to stop a QT (not just a zombie ball ie half dead but half alive). He only stops a QT, he doesn't stop the potential for a quick lineout. Was there an opposition player trying to get the ball from him? If not then no issue. Also if there is a 'third party' deliberately getting involved to prevent a QT then I think that becomes an issue.

But I could be wrong and I'm happy to be corrected.

Law 19.2(i) If a player carrying the ball is forced into touch, that player must release the ball to an opposition player so that
there can be a quick throw-in.
Sanction: Penalty kick on 15-metre line

This is an interesting one. My gut goes with Benny, and I'd justify it in law using 19.2(i). If the ball carrier deliberately touches the ball onto an AR to prevent the possibility of a QT, can he really be said to have released " the ball to an opposition player so that
there can be a quick throw-in."? Against that, it is possible to argue that 19.2(i) applies only when an oppo is physically there agitating for the ball. As I said, my gut goes with Benny on that one.

In international games in the not-too-distant past, we've seen Ben Youngs YC'd for preventing a QT in similar circumstances by dropping the ball into the crowd (2011 Dublin). I can't recall the proximity or otherwise of Irish attackers, but there was not so much controversy surrounding it except on here, IIRC. I'd view it the same as throwing the ball away at a PK, or "accidentally" kicking it backwards as you retire from the mark. I'd also like to sees the laws treat it the same - i.e. instead of a PK, Line of Touch advanced 10m further forward, still with the possibility of a QT notwithstanding the oppo attempt to cheat you out of it.

menace
29-09-14, 14:09
Ok. Fair enough.
What if he just drops the ball and it 'conveniently' (ie deliberately) rolls into the legs of the AR? (Or the ball boy/TV cameraman/boom operator)
Both of those to me are smart ways of preventing a QT without necessarily denying access to it for the oppo?
I can't see myself PKing for that.

Perhaps my threshold is all wrong then?

Browner
29-09-14, 14:09
Law 19.2(i) If a player carrying the ball is forced into touch, that player must release the ball to an opposition player so that
there can be a quick throw-in.
Sanction: Penalty kick on 15-metre line

This is an interesting one. My gut goes with Benny, and I'd justify it in law using 19.2(i). If the ball carrier deliberately touches the ball onto an AR to prevent the possibility of a QT, can he really be said to have released " the ball to an opposition player so that
there can be a quick throw-in."? Against that, it is possible to argue that 19.2(i) applies only when an oppo is physically there agitating for the ball. As I said, my gut goes with Benny on that one.

In international games in the not-too-distant past, we've seen Ben Youngs YC'd for preventing a QT in similar circumstances by dropping the ball into the crowd (2011 Dublin). I can't recall the proximity or otherwise of Irish attackers, but there was not so much controversy surrounding it except on here, IIRC. I'd view it the same as throwing the ball away at a PK, or "accidentally" kicking it backwards as you retire from the mark. I'd also like to sees the laws treat it the same - i.e. instead of a PK, Line of Touch advanced 10m further forward, still with the possibility of a QT notwithstanding the oppo attempt to cheat you out of it.

No way Menace, he does not have the right to carryout such gamesmanship.

Its a pet hate of mine, the team engaging in the gamesmanship ( some call it professionalism!) Never ever should get an advantage from their contrivance.

Id allow the QTI in that case, or if it was more so impeded ... a PK.

Browner
29-09-14, 14:09
Ok. Fair enough.
What if he just drops the ball and it 'conveniently' (ie deliberately) rolls into the legs of the AR? (Or the ball boy/TV cameraman/boom operator)
Both of those to me are smart ways of preventing a QT without necessarily denying access to it for the oppo?
I can't see myself PKing for that.

Perhaps my threshold is all wrong then?

Accidental might get away with it but , I bet the pros don't do it by accident, they practice it!!

OB..
29-09-14, 17:09
The law is obviously unsatisfactory. It needs to be made clear whether and under what circumstances players ae entitled to take legitimate actions to prevent a QTI. Not easy, but necesary nonetheless. Would it matter if the law said that team members (players and coaches etc) were not allowed to take any action to prevent a QTI?

crossref
29-09-14, 18:09
it seems to me that the ball carriers responsibilities are clear : to release the ball so that there can be a quick throw-in. So any messing from him - bouncing ball off a third person - is clearly an offence as he hasn't released so so that there can be a QTI

what is a grey area is the loose ball - most often a kicked ball, obviosuly, but also you could ask the same of a loose ball that was carried and then released as the Law requires :

when a ball is loose in touch, are players from the side that have put the ball in touch allowed to chase after the loose ball and touch it, so as deny the chance of a quick throw. I say yes.

Ian_Cook
29-09-14, 19:09
it seems to me that the ball carriers responsibilities are clear : to release the ball so that there can be a quick throw-in. So any messing from him - bouncing ball off a third person - is clearly an offence as he hasn't released so so that there can be a QTI

what is a grey area is the loose ball - most often a kicked ball, obviosuly, but also you could ask the same of a loose ball that was carried and then released as the Law requires :

when a ball is loose in touch, are players from the side that have put the ball in touch allowed to chase after the loose ball and touch it, so as deny the chance of a quick throw. I say yes.

I was with you right up the last thee words. How is "players from the side that have put the ball in touch allowed to chase after the loose ball and touch it, so as deny the chance of a quick throw" any different from "team mates of the player that carried the ball into touch allowed to chase after him and touch the ball, so as deny the chance of a quick throw."

There is a simple way to make the loose ball scenario easier to manage. Remove the bit in red from this Law.

19.2 (d) For a quick throw-in, the player must use the ball that went into touch. A quick throw-in is
not permitted if another person has touched the ball apart from the player throwing it in and
an opponent who carried it into touch. The same team throws into the lineout.

I think this is currently being trialled in the Australian Rugby Championship.

I would then finish the job by making the following change (added in red)

19.2 (i) If a player carrying the ball is forced into touch, that player must release the ball to an opposition player so that there can be a quick throw-in. That player must not take any action to prevent a quick throw-in being taken.

Crucial
29-09-14, 19:09
I agree. I would also say that he wasn't bound in the ruck at the time either. He formed the ruck with the in contact, but then didn't remain bound and then had a second go and swung the leg around as he was effectively losing his feet.
I also agree that the wording by CJ is poor...I think for a ref at his level he should be using the right law terms so that there is no doubt about what he means (his secondary signal seems to again suggest incorrect entry ?!)

I don't like to keep harbouring the point, but it really seems like you are all missing the point and what CJ says.

CJ does not say he was offside, nor unbound, nor off his feet. What he say quite clearly to McCaw after blowing the whistle is "Swinging around the ruck. You can't swing around the ruck and kick the ball". Then when McCaw queries him he says "I understand its just your foot but you cant swing around"

I don't care about the PK. I'm not arguing that all was legal - in fact their were Argentinian players lifting legs in a dangerous fashion and grappling around the head if we want to go that far. What I'm asking, and no one seems to know, is where Joubert's interpretation about 'swinging around the ruck comes from'. I can't match it to Law yet he now has a track record of making this call and even has an arm signal for it.

Ignore the minute circumstances of this clip and the other one posted and answer this question.

If I am legally bound to a ruck and can swing my foot around to the ball, can I do that?

Is this a new directive? Is it a local Law?

Ian_Cook
29-09-14, 20:09
I don't like to keep harbouring the point, but it really seems like you are all missing the point and what CJ says.

CJ does not say he was offside, nor unbound, nor off his feet. What he say quite clearly to McCaw after blowing the whistle is "Swinging around the ruck. You can't swing around the ruck and kick the ball". Then when McCaw queries him he says "I understand its just your foot but you cant swing around"

I don't care about the PK. I'm not arguing that all was legal - in fact their were Argentinian players lifting legs in a dangerous fashion and grappling around the head if we want to go that far. What I'm asking, and no one seems to know, is where Joubert's interpretation about 'swinging around the ruck comes from'. I can't match it to Law yet he now has a track record of making this call and even has an arm signal for it.

Ignore the minute circumstances of this clip and the other one posted and answer this question.

If I am legally bound to a ruck and can swing my foot around to the ball, can I do that?

Is this a new directive? Is it a local Law?

I think CJ worded his communication with McCaw poorly.

McCaw initially joined the maul correctly (from directly behind the ball) so I do not believe that "joining incorrectly" is what he did wrong. I maintain that McCaw was off his feet (lying on top of an Argentine player) when he kicked the ball. I expect players who wish to play the ball in a ruck with their feet to come through the middle of the ruck in a forward direction over the ball and be on their feet, i.e. upright, not parallel to the ground.

But I'll tell you what, why don't you ask them?

http://www.sareferees.com/laws/ask-the-ref/

then watch for the answer here

http://www.sareferees.com/news/duty-ref/

If the question is accepted, they usually answer within 1 to 2 weeks. Several of us here have asked a number of questions (and got answers) over the last few years.

Crucial
29-09-14, 21:09
Thanks Ian, I will do so.

Your explanation of what you expect "through the middle of the ruck in a forward direction over the ball" is probably the key.

Can you enlighten me as to where this comes from? There is no requirement in Law to do this, just as there is no requirement to detach from a maul you have legally joined and remained bound to but have been 'swung around'. As a player you are abiding by the law and not attemping anything illegal yet are likely to get penalised due to a referee's 'invention'.

As both examples could be easily fixed by altering the Law wording why do you think the IRB persist with having players and coaches learn form the book they provide only to have referees operate otherwise? A frustrating situation for all parties, surely?

I'm not talking about wording interpretation, we all live with that and the ref being sole judge. I'm talking about things like 'coming through the middle' that have no match anywhere in the law book, yet players are expected to abide to.

Ian_Cook
29-09-14, 21:09
Thanks Ian, I will do so.

Your explanation of what you expect "through the middle of the ruck in a forward direction over the ball" is probably the key.

Can you enlighten me as to where this comes from? There is no requirement in Law to do this, just as there is no requirement to detach from a maul you have legally joined and remained bound to but have been 'swung around'. As a player you are abiding by the law and not attemping anything illegal yet are likely to get penalised due to a referee's 'invention'.

There are a lot of things that are only published in refereeing guidelines, i.e. guidelines as to how referees are expected to interpret Laws. A good example of this is the Tackle Law. Law 15 states in its various parts that...

► the tackled player must release the ball, and may do so by placing, pushing or passing the ball.
► the tackled player must release the ball to a player on his feet who is trying to take it off him.
► the tackler must release the tackled player and get to his feet before playing the ball.
► non tacklers (tackle assists) who brought the ball carrier to ground must release the tackled player and re-enter the tackle zone through the gate.

However, the Law is completely silent on the ORDER in which these things must happen, so, we have guidelines that essentially say that the tackled player MUST be released first, before being required to release the ball. If the tackler gets to his feet, or the tackle assist brings the ball carrier to ground without letting go of the tackled player before attempting to take the ball, then even though the tackled player is not releasing the ball to the opponent on his feet, we PK that tackler or tackle assist for not releasing.

This is from the NZRU Game Management Guidelines (You can get the PDF from here).

http://www.wrra.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/130520-WRG-131.pdf

Quick Ball at Tackle/Ruck
a. Tackler – must roll clear quickly and not impede ball availability. Need to roll to side (east/west) and NOT onto opponents side.
b. Tackler Assist – players need to clearly separate/release
c. Taking out players in front of the ball - Deal with players taking space past the tackle and taking out defenders. Also players grabbing, holding, obstructing others. Difficult for a referee to manage – normally requires punitive action.

None of this is in the iRB Law Book

Most National Unions have referee guidelines. Here are the ARU ones for example

http://www.rugby.com.au/Portals/22/2014%20Laws/2014%20Game%20Management%20Guidelines.pdf


As both examples could be easily fixed by altering the Law wording why do you think the IRB persist with having players and coaches learn form the book they provide only to have referees operate otherwise? A frustrating situation for all parties, surely?

Take a number on that one. There is a long list of things that are poorly worded in the Law book. Frustrating indeed!

Rushforth
29-09-14, 22:09
Ian, would you be willing and able to provide a compare/contrast document on the key issues, broader than just this question?

Ian_Cook
29-09-14, 22:09
Ian, would you be willing and able to provide a compare/contrast document on the key issues, broader than just this question?

Not sure what you mean.

Compare/contrast law with guidelines?

Are you asking if I know of such a document or are you asking me to write one (a MAJOR undertaking)?

Ian_Cook
29-09-14, 23:09
In the old days, my Laws of the Game book had what we used to call "pink pages".

Their official title was "Notes on the Law". These pink pages were inserted after each Law (the whole Law not just the clause) and had the same numbering.

For example, in the one I have quoted in this thread, the Law is this

15.4 THE TACKLER
(a) When a player tackles an opponent and they both go to ground, the tackler must
immediately release the tackled player.
Sanction: Penalty kick
(b) The tackler must immediately get up or move away from the tackled player and from the
ball at once.
Sanction: Penalty kick
(c) The tackler must get up before playing the ball and then may play the ball from any
direction.
Sanction: Penalty kick

and its corresponding pink page entry might look something like this....

15.4 (a) Watch for tacklers intentionally falling on the opponent's side. Being trapped is no excuse for not making an attempt to roll away. The onus is on the tackler not to get himself trapped.

15.4 (b) Tackler must roll clear quickly and not impede ball availability. Need to roll to side (east/west) and NOT onto opponent's side.

15.4 (c) Watch for the tackler keeping "hands on" while getting to his feet. Tacklers must release and get completely onto their feet before playing the ball. Tacklers must not push themselves up by leaning on the tackled player.

I'm not sure when "Notes in the Law" pages were discontinued (maybe around 2000?) but I think it was a mistake for the practice not to continue,. How valuable would it be for new referees to have the Laws AND an explanation of what to look for all in the one document?

menace
30-09-14, 02:09
No way Menace, he does not have the right to carryout such gamesmanship.

Its a pet hate of mine, the team engaging in the gamesmanship ( some call it professionalism!) Never ever should get an advantage from their contrivance.

Id allow the QTI in that case, or if it was more so impeded ... a PK.

So you're penalising the oppo player that hells to the BC "yep on your inside" to try an fool him into passing it to the wrong player?
You might say it's different...I don't think it is.

As OB says...the law wording need to be cleaned up to make the intent clearer.

menace
30-09-14, 02:09
I don't like to keep harbouring the point, but it really seems like you are all missing the point and what CJ says.

CJ does not say he was offside, nor unbound, nor off his feet. What he say quite clearly to McCaw after blowing the whistle is "Swinging around the ruck. You can't swing around the ruck and kick the ball". Then when McCaw queries him he says "I understand its just your foot but you cant swing around"

I don't care about the PK. I'm not arguing that all was legal - in fact their were Argentinian players lifting legs in a dangerous fashion and grappling around the head if we want to go that far. What I'm asking, and no one seems to know, is where Joubert's interpretation about 'swinging around the ruck comes from'. I can't match it to Law yet he now has a track record of making this call and even has an arm signal for it.

Ignore the minute circumstances of this clip and the other one posted and answer this question.

If I am legally bound to a ruck and can swing my foot around to the ball, can I do that?

Is this a new directive? Is it a local Law?

Sorry, I thought I did answer you. IMO I thought CJ is PK for incorrect entry/ side entry based on his 2ndry signal (it's a slight variation of 'in the side' with a loop to suggest coming around and 'into the side', but he uses poor words. Ian_C feels McCaw was off his feet. I'd say that's marginal but plausible. But to be honest I can't say exactly what CJ meant either cause I can't prevent to be 100% sure. I'd say CJ needs to use law terminology so as to not create the confusion like you're experiencing.

I'd also say if you're not bound properly and swinging round to kick the ball then you're both offside and not entering (or re-entering) the ruck correctly. If you remain bound and push through and swing round then I will probably let that go as legal. BUT not many I've ever seen that try it manage to remain legal - because it's hard to do and remain fully and entirely bound (IMHO).

Does that give you my position on it?

Crucial
30-09-14, 03:09
Sorry, I thought I did answer you. IMO I thought CJ is PK for incorrect entry/ side entry based on his 2ndry signal (it's a slight variation of 'in the side' with a loop to suggest coming around and 'into the side', but he uses poor words. Ian_C feels McCaw was off his feet. I'd say that's marginal but plausible. But to be honest I can't say exactly what CJ meant either cause I can't prevent to be 100% sure. I'd say CJ needs to use law terminology so as to not create the confusion like you're experiencing.

I'd also say if you're not bound properly and swinging round to kick the ball then you're both offside and not entering (or re-entering) the ruck correctly. If you remain bound and push through and swing round then I will probably let that go as legal. BUT not many I've ever seen that try it manage to remain legal - because it's hard to do and remain fully and entirely bound (IMHO).

Does that give you my position on it?

Yes it does. Thanks.

The problem here is that CJ has used this terminology in other instances (including the same game) and other circumstances. It surely can't be poor wording every time?

He clearly says ' you can't swing around' and that's what he is awarding the PK for in this case and in others.

Same ref, same ruling, same wording, differing circumstances. No one is addressing this and instead keep focusing on other possible reasons for the one instance.

You say that if a player remains bound and swings around to kick the ball you would 'probably let that go as legal'. Either it is legal or it isn't. Saying 'probably let that go' implies that you see something wrong in it yet can't explain what that wrong may be.

All I have been asking is for anyone here to point me to the Law or directive that says that 'swinging around the ruck' is, by itself, not allowed.

As no one can do so I will crawl back into my hole, reaffirming my concept that referees sometimes pull Laws out of their arses and players and public just have to live with that.

SA Refs site have already stated that they can't find the illegality but their sample size is one instance. I have pointed out the others to them and asked the Duty Ref for an opinion. Hopefully they can expand further or even get CJ himself to explain.

menace
30-09-14, 04:09
Yes it does. Thanks.

The problem here is that CJ has used this terminology in other instances (including the same game) and other circumstances. It surely can't be poor wording every time?

He clearly says ' you can't swing around' and that's what he is awarding the PK for in this case and in others.

Same ref, same ruling, same wording, differing circumstances. No one is addressing this and instead keep focusing on other possible reasons for the one instance.

Fair point. But I would not say he is solely giving the PK for 'the swinging around' despite his poor wording. I suspect it's for something else, because as you say there is not such law that says 'you can't swing around'. As far as I know CJ is the only one that is using this term, and a few of us have said that it is poor terminology and he should stick to law terminology for the benefit of all. I too am surprised he hasn't been picked up by the IRB referee assessors and told to change.


You say that if a player remains bound and swings around to kick the ball you would 'probably let that go as legal'. Either it is legal or it isn't. Saying 'probably let that go' implies that you see something wrong in it yet can't explain what that wrong may be.

All I have been asking is for anyone here to point me to the Law or directive that says that 'swinging around the ruck' is, by itself, not allowed.

I thought I was quite clear saying that IMO 'swinging around' can be done legally, so I don't think the action itself is illegal. I can't categorically say that if I see it I will PK it, because it's the precursor actions to it that will dictate if it's legal or not (in my mind anyway).

You are right that there is no specific law that says 'you can't swing around the ruck', but there is a law that says you need to enter the ruck correctly and (remain) bound in the ruck to ruck the ball with your feet (and also come from hindmost feet to be onside). Sometimes there not specific law to cover every precise action, but it is actually covered under another law.

For eg, There is also no specific law that says you can't spit on another player, but you know we will penalise it (or worse) and say to the player 'you can't spit on someone', but what we are really doing is penalising under law 10 foul play.


As no one can do so I will crawl back into my hole, reaffirming my concept that referees sometimes pull Laws out of their arses and players and public just have to live with that.


I think that's a little unfair assessment. I would say that sometimes terminology and signals may be pulled out of their arses and it causes confusion but at the elite level such as CJ, he won't be inventing his own laws. You don't get to be a test level referee by being a rogue law maker of your own.
Like my example above, sometimes a term is used that is not found in the laws, but comes under the umbrella of a law.


SA Refs site have already stated that they can't find the illegality but their sample size is one instance. I have pointed out the others to them and asked the Duty Ref for an opinion. Hopefully they can expand further or even get CJ himself to explain.

I too hope that they can get an explanation from CJ so we can bury this one and perhaps appease you in some small way with what CJ really meant.

Ian_Cook
30-09-14, 05:09
Another thing to consider is that rugby terminology evolves, and many of the terms that referees use, especially in the elite game, are done so for ease of description. The following are not official terms but they are nonetheless in wide use, and in nearly every case, they are likely to have started with a referee using the term (where think I know which referee it was, I have put their name in brackets)

Tackle Assist (Mark Lawrence)
Jackler
The Gate
Lazy running (Andre Watson)
Swimming around the maul (Nigel Owens)
Side Entry
Whip-wheel

damo
30-09-14, 05:09
I think I agree with Crucial in that I thought the justification CJ gave is very dubious. He entered legally and (for me) remained bound and so was entitled to kick at the ball. He may have been off his feet at the time - though I think it is very marginal as he would have only barely lost his feet a split second before his foot hit the ball. At the time I saw it, I thought it was "incorrect", on reflection I'd change that to "marginal".

To me, the swinging/swimming around description requires the player to have effectively unbound and rebound on later in a more favourable position, which I do not think was the case here. It is much more likely to occur in a maul than a ruck. If CJ's position is that somehow a player who remains bound to a ruck may not kick at the ball then for me it is wrong and should not be copied.

Benny
30-09-14, 09:09
Thanks everyone for your take on the quick throw in issue. What I also thought was interesting was Hernandez appeared casual when he did it (not sneaky, although casual is the best kind of sneaky i guess) and genuinely bothered that the QT had been taken. Considering he plays in France and the AR who made the call was French, I wonder if that's a commonly accepted practice there.

Browner
30-09-14, 11:09
it seems to me that the ball carriers responsibilities are clear : to release the ball so that there can be a quick throw-in. So any messing from him - bouncing ball off a third person - is clearly an offence as he hasn't released so so that there can be a QTI

what is a grey area is the loose ball - most often a kicked ball, obviosuly, but also you could ask the same of a loose ball that was carried and then released as the Law requires :

when a ball is loose in touch, are players from the side that have put the ball in touch allowed to chase after the loose ball and touch it, so as deny the chance of a quick throw. I say yes.

No.

That would be a ridiculous 'side show' to the real intention behind this aspect of play.
Furthermore it cultivates a 'gamesmanship' culture.

Actually crossref, you would have been one of the last people I would have considered as a supporter of this...

OB..
30-09-14, 12:09
I'm not sure when "Notes in the Law" pages were discontinued (maybe around 2000?) but I think it was a mistake for the practice not to continue,. How valuable would it be for new referees to have the Laws AND an explanation of what to look for all in the one document?Prior to 2000 the law books were issued by the individual Unions. The text of the laws and any official notes were of course taken from the IRB source, but they could decide their own layout and add extra information as they wished. The RFU used to insert the Notes into the actual law with a coloured background or blue ink. They also included various admin details such as lists of Referee Development officers.

Browner
30-09-14, 12:09
So you're penalising the oppo player that hells to the BC "yep on your inside" to try an fool him into passing it to the wrong player?
You might say it's different...I don't think it is.

.
Of course there are varying degrees of ' gamesmanship' and to this end verbal is differentiated from physical for most gamesmanship actions between players.

IME setting a clear benchmark on QTI preventions makes for a better game and reduces flashpoint opportunities

crossref
30-09-14, 12:09
No.

That would be a ridiculous 'side show' to the real intention behind this aspect of play.
Furthermore it cultivates a 'gamesmanship' culture.

Actually crossref, you would have been one of the last people I would have considered as a supporter of this...

well, actually on this I'd just like to be sure of the general consensus, and ref accordingly.

On the other side of the argument is
- the law specifically covers a ball carrier. The IRB could easily have written when 'any player' prevents a QTI its an offence - but they didn't. When the Laws are clear shouldn't we believe what is written? We can drive ourselves mad refereeing to what we think they meant.

- it happens fairly frequently and I've never seen it penalised. (ball carriers not releasing , they are penalised, other players touching the ball aren't)

- if the ball is on the ground untouched, why should it 'belong' to one team more than the other ? Isn't rugby about contest?

- if a player makes sure his kick goes into the crowd to prevent a QTI, that seems like sensible intellegent play - why is that any different from touching a loose ball for the same reason.

OB..
30-09-14, 14:09
- if the ball is on the ground untouched, why should it 'belong' to one team more than the other ? Isn't rugby about contest?Back in the early 19th century at Rugby School, when the ball went beyond the side line, it belonged to the side whose player first touched it down - hence the name "touch".

Browner
30-09-14, 14:09
well, actually on this I'd just like to be sure of the general consensus, and ref accordingly.

On the other side of the argument is
- the law specifically covers a ball carrier. The IRB could easily have written when 'any player' prevents a QTI its an offence - but they didn't. When the Laws are clear shouldn't we believe what is written? We can drive ourselves mad refereeing to what we think they meant.

- it happens fairly frequently and I've never seen it penalised. (ball carriers not releasing , they are penalised, other players touching the ball aren't)

- if the ball is on the ground untouched, why should it 'belong' to one team more than the other ? Isn't rugby about contest?

- if a player makes sure his kick goes into the crowd to prevent a QTI, that seems like sensible intellegent play - why is that any different from touching a loose ball for the same reason.

I take your points, albeit some are a tangent stretch from the example, but i see the contrived nature of Clear and Obvious interventions as being not in the spirit of these (professionally inspired) gamesmanship antics.

dont ever expect law to prescribe an exhaustive list of all gamesmanship events, which remain gamesmanship on my "in the spirit" barometer.

irishref
30-09-14, 17:09
On the "swinging around the ruck" issue. When McCaw forms the ruck with his (correct) entry, the ruck is formed over the ball with the subsequent gate defined - that being McCaw's body. He is counter-rucked back and then shifts to left (on the pitch, right as we look on the replay) but the ball stays in the same position since it hasn't been touched yet.

So I would say that he is already entering from the side. I have a question about the position of the #6 who picks up the ball, he didn't come from the back foot either.

Perhaps there's been a secret elite level memo defining "swinging around" - but then again, we'd expect to be hearing it from other refs as well.

crossref
30-09-14, 17:09
Idont ever expect law to prescribe an exhaustive list of all gamesmanship events, which remain gamesmanship on my "in the spirit" barometer.

it doesn't tip my barometer -- I don't see it as any different from avoiding a quick throw in by ensuring your kick for touch goes into the crowd.

Ian_Cook
30-09-14, 20:09
On the "swinging around the ruck" issue. When McCaw forms the ruck with his (correct) entry, the ruck is formed over the ball with the subsequent gate defined - that being McCaw's body. He is counter-rucked back and then shifts to left (on the pitch, right as we look on the replay) but the ball stays in the same position since it hasn't been touched yet.

So I would say that he is already entering from the side. I have a question about the position of the #6 who picks up the ball, he didn't come from the back foot either.

Hang on. You say it was a "correct" entry, and I agree. It was directly behind the ball and parallel to the touchlines, exactly what we all like to see. However, he remained bound to the the player he initially bound to as he swung (was swung?) around to face his own goal-line. So long as he remains bound, he has not left the ruck, so how can he then be "side entering" a ruck he is already in?

(Keep in mind that Laws 16.6 and 16.7 are specific about how a ruck ends. When a team begins to "counter-ruck" it ss not one of the criteria for ending the initial ruck.)

Crucial
30-09-14, 21:09
An aside to this as you are looking at the ruck in question, I find it interesting that no one has mentioned the player grappling MCCaw around the head/neck. Considering he is also being lifted at the time the whole situation is one that has potential to go badly wrong.

There are other safety aspects of the game that are ruled very strictly. Use of feet at rucks, accidental collisions in the air, marginal high tackles, innocuous dust ups etc yet we often see players playing the head at rucks and mauls with no consequence. As a player the scariest thing on a rugby field is having an arm around your neck while someone else is taking control of your legs/body.

It seems that this is something that one day will go horribly wrong and then will be stamped on but until that sad moment no one even recognises it.

The other dangerous act that gets ignored, even after repeated viewings is players sliding in feet/ knees first in an attempt to stop a try. For some players it has become a habit.

I'm not looking to sanitise an already santised game just find it interesting that playing at the head is hardly ever deemed dangerous play when things like raking a player on the wrong side of a ruck is now deemed a heinous crime.

Browner
02-10-14, 09:10
it doesn't tip my barometer -- I don't see it as any different from avoiding a quick throw in by ensuring your kick for touch goes into the crowd.

The differences are Obvious to me & include timing Crossref,

One is executed whilst within the FoP and never gives the opposition a QTI opportunity, the second is executed outside the FoP and is unlawful under 19.2(i) . If a player carrying the ball is forced into touch, that player must release the ball to an opposition player so that there can be a quick throw-in.

Creating the condition to promote quick throws seems to be the intention of this Law and its sanction against those that do anything to deny that opportunity.

Ps...If they wanted to include the kick into row Z into sanction , then Law would do ....... & they likely never will.

crossref
02-10-14, 11:10
well it's NOT unlawful under 19.2(i) which applies to s situation when a ball is carried into touch, which is different from a loose ball in touch.

What you are saying is that you consider the situation is analogous to 19.2(i).
Possibly it is.

But on the other hand there are many situations where ball carriers have different responsibilities and rights from non ball-carriers.

crossref
08-10-14, 12:10
Here's Stuart Berry's view on this from SA Referees


Question: We know from 19.2 (i) that a ball carrier who is forced into touch must release the ball, to enable a quick throw in. But what about when a ball is kicked into touch and is loose beyond the touchline - would you penalise an (onside) player who handled it so as to remove the quick throw in option?

Stuart Berry: Hi Steve, most certainly. Depriving an attacking team of the opportunity to play with the ball is a hot topic, and any player on the field who does this is liable to sanction

ChrisR
08-10-14, 12:10
I disagree with that. If a chaser gets to the ball first and handles it then he is in his rights unless he does something else to delay the throw like kick it away.

Browner
08-10-14, 12:10
I disagree with that. If a chaser gets to the ball first and handles it then he is in his rights unless he does something else to delay the throw like kick it away.

What rights are these?
If the ball is already clearly out of play, then your chaser has no right to the ball ( unless bonafide doubt exists as to who put it there, False claims dismissed! ) any intervention on his part is part of a ' denying' gamesmanship .... Rid the game of this , gets my vote.

SimonSmith
08-10-14, 12:10
Christ. Agreeing twice with Browner in one week.

if anyone needs me I'll be in a dark room taking the magic pills.

The Fat
08-10-14, 12:10
Christ. Agreeing twice with Browner in one week.

if anyone needs me I'll be in a dark room taking the magic pills.

Must be a virus. It's spreading.

Crucial
09-10-14, 00:10
SA Referees website has dealt with both 'swinging around the side' cases ruled by Joubert and, like the previous one, can't provide an answer.

http://www.sareferees.com/laws/view/2830676/

http://www.sareferees.com/laws/view/2830677/

Browner
09-10-14, 01:10
This may not be ' the' answer, but here goes anyway..........

The action of using feet to disrupt the oppo SH is a modern coached technique, its not a positive act it vactu in. Ruck law as originally drafted expects players to be bound over the ball and then engage in a shoving contest for possession. Instead this deliberately negative aspect of ruck play has developed quiet recently, and its seen as contrary to game flow.

My best guess is that the Elite referees have agreed to remove this negative/disrupti byng aspect of play from the game, I suspect the IRB are aware of this development, and all we are seeing is an advanced screening of a soon to be released ruck law modification/clarification etc...

Remember we saw Yes9 being dropped by referees long before it was officially ditched.

My 2p guess.

Ian_Cook
09-10-14, 02:10
SA Referees website has dealt with both 'swinging around the side' cases ruled by Joubert and, like the previous one, can't provide an answer.

http://www.sareferees.com/laws/view/2830676/

http://www.sareferees.com/laws/view/2830677/



I honestly don't have a problem with this action being penalised.

Rightly or wrongly, elite referees seem to consider that when a team has won the ruck they have WON the ball. When players compete for the ball at the ruck, I expect to see them drive over the ball or come through the middle of the ruck in order to WIN the ruck (and thereby possession), not try to skirt around the corner simply to DISRUPT possession. There is no way that McCaw, in the position he was in, was every going to win possession of the ball.

Its not in the Laws, but the Laws are only a framework. You won't find everything that referees rule on laid down in black and white. There are many grey areas.

Crucial
09-10-14, 04:10
Ian, that's all well and good for accepted and known refereeing interpretations. Ones that have been conveyed to players. If you expect players to play the game within the Laws then you simply must have those same Laws available to them as knowledge.

If you don't then at least don't make them a possible points scoring infringement, use the free kick instead. Deciding a match on a ruling that doesn't exist shouldn't be part of the game.

The Laws are not a framework as you describe them. They are THE Laws of the game. As Laws they are open to interpretation and rulings. If the police arrested you and charged you with something that doesn't exist in the Laws of our country, you would no doubt have your lawyer go to town on them. You simply can't make up new Laws to suit yourself.

I understand that adjudicating our sport is an ever shifting beast as tactics change and coaches look for advantages within the framework but processes for introducing new rulings exist and shouldn't be simply pulled out on unsuspecting players.

Browner, you may be correct but it would be a much better look if all stakeholders (players, coaches, spectators, commentators) were made aware of the situation. Elite Referees shouldn't be dictating to the sport how it should be played. If they have an idea (and I'm not saying this isn't a good one) then take it to the game's stakeholders for approval first.

menace
09-10-14, 05:10
SA Referees website has dealt with both 'swinging around the side' cases ruled by Joubert and, like the previous one, can't provide an answer.

http://www.sareferees.com/laws/view/2830676/

http://www.sareferees.com/laws/view/2830677/

I actually think they do provide an answer? They think Joubert was wrong and the action is legal.

Ian_Cook
09-10-14, 05:10
Ian, that's all well and good for accepted and known refereeing interpretations.

And how do you think that "accepted and known refereeing interpretations" come about. You can be sure that they aren't created out of whole cloth.

At one time, there was no such thing as a "tackle gate" or a "tackle assist", there was no lifting in the line-outs, the referee had nothing to do with the scrum engagement, players rucked for the ball with their feet, and this included rucking players out of the way.

The Law requires tackled player to release the ball; it also requires the tackler to release the tackled player, but it is absolutely silent on which player, if any, is expected to comply first. It is only interpretation that the tackler must release first which allows us to have anything other than total impasse at the tackle.

The Laws, and indeed the game itself, evolves.

Ones that have been conveyed to players. If you expect players to play the game within the Laws then you simply must have those same Laws available to them as knowledge.

If you don't then at least don't make them a possible points scoring infringement, use the free kick instead. Deciding a match on a ruling that doesn't exist shouldn't be part of the game

How do we know that elite players have not already been made aware that swinging their legs around the ruck is regarded as illegal if they lose their bind or go off their feet.

16.3 RUCKING
(a) Players in a ruck must endeavour to stay on their feet.
Sanction: Penalty kick

16.2 JOINING A RUCK

(b) A player joining a ruck must bind on a team-mate or an opponent, using the whole arm. The bind must either precede, or be simultaneous with, contact with any other part of the body of the player joining the ruck.
Sanction: Penalty kick
(c) Placing a hand on another player in the ruck does not constitute binding.
Sanction: Penalty kick
(d) All players forming, joining or taking part in a ruck must be on their feet.
Sanction: Penalty kick


IMO, it is impossible to do what any of these players (either McCaw or Fernandez-Lobbe) have done while still remaining bound from hand to armpit as well as remain on their feet. Hanging off the side of the ruck by your hands is not bound and not on your feet, and if you are parallel to the ground, you are definitely not on your feet.


The Laws are not a framework as you describe them. They are THE Laws of the game. As Laws they are open to interpretation and rulings. If the police arrested you and charged you with something that doesn't exist in the Laws of our country, you would no doubt have your lawyer go to town on them. You simply can't make up new Laws to suit yourself.

I understand that adjudicating our sport is an ever shifting beast as tactics change and coaches look for advantages within the framework but processes for introducing new rulings exist and shouldn't be simply pulled out on unsuspecting players.

You shouldn't confuse the Laws of the Land and the Laws of the Game. The former is written in legalese, the latter in plain language. In many cases the Laws of rugby are conflicting and ambiguous. To steal an expression from OB.. (the wise sage of rugbyrefs.com). "The referee has to make sense of the Laws"

didds
09-10-14, 08:10
This may not be ' the' answer, but here goes anyway..........


My best guess is that the Elite referees have agreed to remove this negative/disrupti byng aspect of play from the game,.


Of course, if they chose to actually prevent players from just flopping over the ball then the ability to actually have a shoving competition might occur...

didds

OB..
09-10-14, 12:10
The idea that "deliberate disruption" is necessarily bad would seem to undermine any defensive tactic.

RobLev
09-10-14, 13:10
Of course, if they chose to actually prevent players from just flopping over the ball then the ability to actually have a shoving competition might occur...

didds

Perhaps they could pass a Law against it; that would do the trick, wouldn't it?

ChrisR
09-10-14, 13:10
Crucial, I 'liked' your post because, as a coach, I study the laws because they tell me, as a player, what I must do, what I must not do and sometimes what I may do.

Not every scenario or action is spelled out in law. (Note the recent thread re. grounding by a defender not in the playing area). A coach who can 'read between the lines' is often regarded in this forum as "just trying to be clever" and is admonished for "not sticking to the basics". I agree that this can well be the case but in my experience any innovation will be met with "it didn't look right" and a whistle.

Ian questions whether McCaw stays bound or is off his feet. Valid points but the bigger question is whether the action of swinging around to get at the ball is, in and of itself, illegal. Conventional thinking always sees the rucker driving forward to win the ball but that is convention, not law.

If we don't want this as part of the game then we need a law inoculation before the disease spreads.

Crucial
13-10-14, 23:10
Here's the replay on 'Ask the Ref' from Stuart Berry


Question: Hi, Back in April this site reviewed a referee call of 'swinging around the ruck' (ttp://www.sareferees.com/laws/view/2830545/ ). The same referee made the same call twice in the Argentina NZ match on 28 Sept. Can you please enlighten us as to what Law you think is being applied here? http://youtu.be/cHJSLWZZgy0 I can see plenty of other things going on at the ruck but the call was specifically 'you can't swing your foot around the ruck and kick the ball'. My question is 'why not?'


Stuart Berry: Hi Rick, good query. The law of swinging around a ruck relates to entry and staying bound, similar to a player creeping up the side of a maul. When you enter a ruck, it needs to be through the gate and you need to stay bound (with your original bind) as opposed to simply moving up the side of a ruck.


I think the key to this interpretation is "with your original bind". As I mentioned earlier I can see some consistency with the way mauls are adjudicated although I always took the 'swimming up the side' ruling to imply deliberate changes of bind which would probably mean that bind was broken at some point.
In the examples used at ruck time it is usually a dynamic change of bind as the player you originally bind onto moves away even though you remain bound due to other joining in eg in the McCaw case he binds with the left arm, then the right and the player on the left arm peels off.

Although there is some consistency here the Laws themselves only refer to initial bind and remaining bound. They appear to be being interpreted in a particular way to remove an action that, to the ref, looks wrong such as a player binding to a maul legally then being swung around to the opposition side by the movement of the maul. The player (as with the use of the foot) then looks offside even though he isn't.

The use of 'original bind' certainly isn't always used to all binding situations. Every ruck would have dynamic bind changes.

Browner
14-10-14, 11:10
When you enter a ruck, it needs to be through the gate and you need to stay bound (with your original bind) as opposed to simply moving up the side of a ruck.

So, following on from this ?! ...... law 16.2(b) will likely be amended to read

(b)
A player joining a ruck must bind on a team-mate or an opponent & stay bound to this player until the ruck ends using the whole arm. The bind must either precede, or be simultaneous with, contact with any other part of the body of the player joining the ruck

???

Ian_Cook
14-10-14, 12:10
So, following on from this ?! ...... law 16.2(b) will likely be amended to read

(b)
A player joining a ruck must bind on a team-mate or an opponent & stay bound to this player until the ruck ends using the whole arm. The bind must either precede, or be simultaneous with, contact with any other part of the body of the player joining the ruck

???

Completely unworkable. Players are entitled to leave and rejoin the ruck - specifically allowed in 16.5 (c)

What if the player you are bound to leaves the ruck? What if he gets taken off his feet?