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Guyseep
08-06-15, 00:06
Had this experience in a game and was looking for some feedback.
Women's game - Blue vs White. The White pack was more dominant and had a bigger and more powerful 2nd and back row. The front rows were equally strong.

After calling a scrum and going through the cadence I looked at the shoulder position and body angle of both front rows. White is square across the entire front row as is blue.

There were "issues" on almost every Blue put in that caused a bit of debate. As I mentioned above I was quite happy with the shoulder position and angle of the White front row for most of the scrums at the "set" stage.

After Blue put the ball in White would drive forward and from what I could see the Blue tighthead side couldn't handle the pressure and the scrum would wheel. Again I was generally happy that White was driving forward and not boring in. Essentially because the Blue tighthead was not getting enough push from her flanker and second row, she was getting dominated in the scrum, and thus the scrum would pivot on the other side of the scrum. This lead to a handful of turnover balls either by White stealing the ball or the scrum going 90.

I reffed the white team the week prior and there were no issues at all with the scrum and no wheeling at all. This led me to believe that this wasn't so much a defensive strategy they were using, but more so a case of them being dominant in the scrum.

Blue complained that White was angling in, and the Blue coach (from the otherside of the field wasn't happy either) but I generally had no issue. I also had a referee coach and he was saying that the White team was boring in. But from my position, standing over the scrum I saw it much differently.

After the game I spoke to the Blue coach and he apologized for getting upset and we had a discussion about wheeling. His main point was that it didn't make strategic sense on a Blue put in to wheel the scrum so therefore White must have been infringing somehow. He also pointed out that on White put in's the scrums were clean. His second point was that the White tighthead was not pushing forward and that is where the scrum was pivoting, so it was somehow wrong.

My response was that as I saw it, things were square, and it was not a whip-wheel where white was walking sideways. They were pushing forward and the scrum pivoted. I also pointed out that there is no requirement in law for the front rows to actually push. If the white tighthead was square, keeping the scrum up and keeping her bind, then she was fine, even if the rest of the scrum spun around her.

I spoke to my ref coach and while I respect his thought process and point of view, I came out of the game thinking there is too much guessing of what is going wrong with a scrum and calling a penalty, just because it isn't the cleanest scrum.

Dixie
08-06-15, 09:06
You were the man in the middle, Guyseep, and you've made it pretty plain that you were alert to the possibility of front row shenanigans, watched for it and found none. In such circumstances, your reffing of the scrum cannot be second-guessed by the readership here, as we have no other data on which to work.

What would have been interesting to know (and what I hope you asked) is what factors your coach used to conclude that the white prop was boring in. If he was seeing one thing and you were seeing another, then there is the basis for a proper discussion. Ditto if you saw the same thing and came to different conclusions. But on the evidence available, you were spot on.

Ian_Cook
08-06-15, 10:06
Keep in mind that there is a tendency for any scrum to naturally wheel clockwise due to the left lateral offset of the engaged players.

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/98915197/RugbyRefs/1361_rugby-union-scrum-positions.png

If the two front rows are pretty much matched but the second rows of one team (in your case white) are significantly dominant, then the major impetus for the wheel will likely be coming from the second row, particularly if 4 white is the strongest of their locks. This effect can be particularly exacerbated if 6 White is also considerably stronger than 6 Blue when the blind is on the left side of the scrum.

Did you happen to notice if you had more scrum problems when scrums were set on White's left side of the field?

The Fat
08-06-15, 11:06
After the game I spoke to the Blue coach and he apologized for getting upset and we had a discussion about wheeling. His main point was that it didn't make strategic sense on a Blue put in to wheel the scrum (but it makes strategic sense for the white team to wheel the scrum on a blue feed to win a turn over scrum) so therefore White must have been infringing somehow (not if the wheel was done legally). He also pointed out that on White put in's the scrums were clean (probably because white were dominant and didn't want to wheel or allow blue to wheel on white's put in). His second point was that the White tighthead was not pushing forward and that is where the scrum was pivoting, so it was somehow wrong. (He does have a point here. For the wheel to be legal, the dominant front row need to move forward and then around. If white TH was stationary and the white hooker and LH were then walking around using the TH as a pivot, they have not gone forward. I would penalise white for walking around/not pushing straight. However, you seem to address this in your next sentence where you say white was pushing forward and around)

My response was that as I saw it, things were square, and it was not a whip-wheel where white was walking sideways. They were pushing forward and the scrum pivoted. I also pointed out that there is no requirement in law for the front rows to actually push. If the white tighthead was square, keeping the scrum up and keeping her bind, then she was fine, even if the rest of the scrum spun around her. (Disagree with this last sentence as explained earlier)

I spoke to my ref coach and while I respect his thought process and point of view, I came out of the game thinking there is too much guessing of what is going wrong with a scrum and calling a penalty, just because it isn't the cleanest scrum.

My comments in bold red

Browner
08-06-15, 13:06
The Fat,

White THP is under no law obligation to go toward ( reference?) , so you cant Penalise him for not doing so even if his FR teammates do, in fact he may legally go backwards if his oppo LH gets a nudge on.

??

Ian_Cook
08-06-15, 13:06
The Fat,

White THP is under no law obligation to go toward ( reference?) , so you cant Penalise him for not doing so even if his FR teammates do, in fact he may legally go backwards if his oppo LH gets a nudge on.

??

He is if he want to wheel the scrum (which is what FAT is saying). White THP must not pull back while white LHP pushes forward, pivoting the scrum around the hookers. If this happens it a whip-wheel.

Dixie
08-06-15, 16:06
He is if he want to wheel the scrum (which is what FAT is saying). White THP must not pull back while white LHP pushes forward, pivoting the scrum around the hookers. If this happens it a whip-wheel. I think Browner's point is that there is a world of difference between a) pushing with all your might, and meeting exactly the same effort from your oppo, resulting in remaining static; and b) pulling your oppo towards you while retreating. It sounds as though both you, Ian, and The Fat would penalise a team if one side of the scrum was more powerful than the oppo, while the other side was evenly matched. Is that the case?

Guyseep
08-06-15, 19:06
I think Browner's point is that there is a world of difference between a) pushing with all your might, and meeting exactly the same effort from your oppo, resulting in remaining static; and b) pulling your oppo towards you while retreating. It sounds as though both you, Ian, and The Fat would penalise a team if one side of the scrum was more powerful than the oppo, while the other side was evenly matched. Is that the case?

This is what was happening in the scrums during this game - the white tighthead was meeting the blue push with the same strength thus resulting in the scrum being static on the side. White tighthead was not stepping back or pulling her opposing prop to create the wheel. It was the other side of the scrum that was a strength mismatch.

Guyseep
08-06-15, 19:06
Did you happen to notice if you had more scrum problems when scrums were set on White's left side of the field?

Field position didn't seem to make a difference, there were scrums at center, within the 22 on both sides- basically everywhere. That sort of leads me to believe that it wasn't necessarily a white tactic to wheel the scrum, but it was more of strength mismatch. It never seemed like they were going in with the mentality of "lets wheel the scrum to mess with the 9-10 pass" or "lets wheel the scrum to get a turnover for going through 90 degrees". It was more a case of it being an opposition put in and they were pushing with all their might

Also I should note on white put ins, they struck the ball, gave an initial push and then held the push so they had a stable platform. And in the previous week's match, where I also reffed white, the scrums were fine. In that game both packs were more evenly matched.

RobLev
08-06-15, 20:06
He is if he want to wheel the scrum (which is what FAT is saying). White THP must not pull back while white LHP pushes forward, pivoting the scrum around the hookers. If this happens it a whip-wheel.

That's not quite what TF was saying - he said that the White THP must go forward - not that she mustn't pull back. It may be in the local GMG (one of our US refs has said it's in theirs) - but it isn't in the Laws...

- - - Updated - - -


My comments in bold red

Why must the White THP go forward?

Ian_Cook
08-06-15, 20:06
I think Browner's point is that there is a world of difference between a) pushing with all your might, and meeting exactly the same effort from your oppo, resulting in remaining static; and b) pulling your oppo towards you while retreating. It sounds as though both you, Ian, and The Fat would penalise a team if one side of the scrum was more powerful than the oppo, while the other side was evenly matched. Is that the case?



I'll let FAT's words speak for me......

"If white TH was stationary AND the white hooker and LH were then walking around using the TH as a pivot, they have not gone forward. I would penalise white for walking around/not pushing straight. "

...and this is the part that is difficult (but not impossible) to determine. The angle, especially that of the second row, at which the players are pushing can be a clue to how they are wheeling the scrum.

If the THP is not making any effort to push his opponent forward and the other two FR forwards are "walking" the scrum around by driving at an angle rather than pushing the opponent backwards, then the scrum is being wheeled illegally.

For those familiar with Boolean logic, its analogous to an AND statement....both conditions must be true for the statement to be true


Here is a reasonably good example

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h76qGcRTHGA

NOTES:

► the Orange THP is pivoting sideways after initially turning inwards to get his opposing LHP out of square.

► the Orange No. 8 is head up and driving to the left to push his locks' backsides to the left (which results in them walking the scrum around to the right).

► we can't see the locks clearly from our angle, but they appear to have initially stepped out and around rather than forward.

ddjamo
08-06-15, 21:06
Ontario game management guidelines:

http://www.rugbyontario.com/Portals/214/Documents/Misc/2015/150505-2015_RO_GameManagementGuidelines.pdf

this should show you what is expected and to what the referees conform.

OB..
08-06-15, 22:06
Ontario game management guidelines:

http://www.rugbyontario.com/Portals/214/Documents/Misc/2015/150505-2015_RO_GameManagementGuidelines.pdf

this should show you what is expected and to what the referees conform.No wheeling by a team until the loose head (LH) and tight head (TH) have both shown clear intent to move forward
So they only need to demonstrate intent, not actually move forward. Fair enough.

Ian_Cook
08-06-15, 22:06
No wheeling by a team until the loose head (LH) and tight head (TH) have both shown clear intent to move forward
So they only need to demonstrate intent, not actually move forward. Fair enough.

Yep, and stepping sideways as you act as a pivot for the other two FR player to walk around you is NOT showing intent to move forwards.

Browner
09-06-15, 10:06
those GMG suggest that....

if your THP hasn't shown clear intent to go forward ( & this could be evidenced by his opposition LHP being slightly stronger/better than or equal to he) ,and remember the THP is already having to contend with/battle against unequal pressure coming through his side of the scrum ( see the helpful offset diagram posted earlier) & the THP simply being unable to shift this weighted advantage he's absorbing , then his LHP & Hooker aren't themselves able to legally push forward & cause the scrum to wheel ( as its they, not their oppo H&LHP who might also pushing forwards with an advantage, that are deemed to have caused the wheeling) without being penalised.

IMO That's poor scrum management guidance.

To demonstrate.
If all players in a scrum had equally strength and equal power and equal weight and pushed equally then a scrum will wheel naturally ( see offset diagram ) and the THP wouldn't go forward. Penalising the THP in that instance is plainly daft.

GMG guidelines would be better saying something like ..... look for the THP clearly 'crabbing left' or clearly 'pulling left' or clearly 'pulling back' & if you can C&O see him doing any combination of these , then the wheel ( or whip wheel) has then been illegally created by him, and then you can single out the THP for penalising.

OB..
09-06-15, 12:06
Yep, and stepping sideways as you act as a pivot for the other two FR player to walk around you is NOT showing intent to move forwards.
Agreed.

Ian_Cook
16-06-15, 12:06
I was highly impressed with NZ referee Brendan Pickerill's performance in the England v South Africa U20 Semi final. He managed the game well and kept a good, strict offside line at ruck and maul, using verbal warnings rather than penalties, and talking to players during down times and between plays to keep them on track. His management of the breakdown was excellent IMO.

However, it was his scrum management that really impressed me. He very quickly identified that both teams were walking the scrum around when they were trying to wheel it. The PT he awarded to England just on half time was a textbook example of this, and he picked it exactly right that the South African THP was sidestepping to avoid going backwards. We have seen several PTs just like this in Super Rugby this year.

Also, he correctly identified incorrect binding by the South African THP as being an ongoing problem. Here is a little transcription of his conversation with the front rows just after half time...

BP to Green THP: "The issue is you're holding him on the shoulder. Hold long and then he'll hold his space"

BP to White THP: "He'll bind long on you, but you don't lean in!"

Thereafter, he continued reminding the FRs to "keep that bind long.", and PKd them whenever the tried to bind on the opponent's arm.

I like what I saw from this young referee.

TheBFG
16-06-15, 13:06
mentioned this in the U20's world cup thread.

is this an approach WR are advising to stop the re-sets, which we all know is a big "turn-off" for a lot of spectators?

Browner
21-06-15, 23:06
Seen on SARefs site

2. Name: Bly Chang

Question: Hi sir, I am a referee in Taiwan. I have a question which has bothered me for a long time: How do I judge whether a scrum wheeling is legal or not? Your response is highly appreciated.

Stuart Berry: Hi Bly, good to get a question from Taiwan and hope you find the website useful. For a team to legally wheel a scrum, they cannot pull back and both props must go forward. If they both go forward and the scrum wheels, then that is a legal wheel.

Aside from the "pulling back" ( an offence not disputed) SB is saying that if your THP can't outscrummage his opposition LHP & hooker ( and this requires emmense strength/technique due to the scrums natural weight bias) AND go forward, then it must be an offence IF your LHP & Hooker are exerting the same dominance on their opponent THP and the scrum wheels as a result.

That's inequitable, and in many many cases - simply unachievable.

ChrisR
22-06-15, 02:06
I was intending to stay out of this thread but the Stuart Berry response in Browner's post just riles me.

His statement is not supported in law. Period.

By his definition if a scrum is being driven backwards they are not allowed to initiate a wheel. That is total crap.