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Voetap
04-11-15, 22:11
During a recent match the Blue team took the ball into a maul, which gradually swung around so that most players involved were now facing their opponents' side of the field. Blue was still moving the maul towards the Red team's goal line.

Blue's captain (also a referee) urged me to award a penalty for offsides against Red, implying that the defenders were required to break off and rejoin from their side of the field. I declined on the basis that none of the Red team's players had become unbound during the incident.

Later, in the quiet of my boudoir, I revisited Law 17 for clarification, but could not find any that directly applies to a wheeled maul. The law only refers to offside lines (17.4a) for players joining (17.4.b-d) or leaving the maul (17.4.e-g), but not to those that remain in a maul that has swung around.

Similarly, Law 16.5 does not say what should happen if a ruck should be wheeled. This may be harder to imagine happening, as players tend to break off from rucks and rejoin from their side of the field for obvious pragmatic reasons. Neither Laws 17 or 16 appear to require that this must happen, do they?

Should one apply Law 20.11 (scrum wheeled beyond 90°) to a maul or ruck that is wheeled?

Does the ball become the offside line, as can happen in a lineout (Law 19.4.c & 19.4.g), so that Red is forced to retire to their side of the ball?

Or is there another a law or interpretation that better covers these situations?

I guess that one could argue that the maul ended "unsuccessfully" as the ball had become unplayable (Law 17.6.b), and so Law 17.c applies. Despite moving forward, Blue could not easily get the ball back to their players. And so a scrum should have had to be awarded to Red as the team not in possession before the maul started.

Apologies in advance if I have missed a blaringly obvious solution!

TL,DR - when a maul (or ruck) is wheeled, should a referee apply Law 17.c in favour of the team not in possession, as the ball has become "unplayable"?

Dickie E
04-11-15, 22:11
provided the players remain bound to, or caught up in, the maul then they are not offside and do not need to break off and re-enter. If they do choose to break off, then they need to re-enter from the hindmost feet nearest their goal line. The ball does not become the offisde line.

Provided the maul contiunes to move it has not ended and may continue to rotate, etc.

Be wary of players trying to drag opponents out of the "wrong" side of the maul.

And welcome, Voetap, to the forum. Nice to see another Saffer on board.

Pegleg
04-11-15, 23:11
Agree with Dickie E. If the Blue's captain (they're often "refs": Ho ho ho) was correct surely HIS players were offside too!

Voetap
04-11-15, 23:11
provided the players remain bound to, or caught up in, the maul then they are not offside and do not need to break off and re-enter. If they do choose to break off, then they need to re-enter from the hindmost feet nearest their goal line. The ball does not become the offisde line.

Provided the maul contiunes to move it has not ended and may continue to rotate, etc.

Be wary of players trying to drag opponents out of the "wrong" side of the maul.

And welcome, Voetap, to the forum. Nice to see another Saffer on board.

Thanks for the response and welcome, Dickie!

Womble
04-11-15, 23:11
Sound advice from Dickie E as always, beware the curve ball though ;)

Voetap
04-11-15, 23:11
Agree with Dickie E. If the Blue's captain (they're often "refs": Ho ho ho) was correct surely HIS players were offside too!

Yes, it did occur to me that both sides would have been offsides. No, I checked, the captain is an actual certified referee in the same referees' society to which I belong - although I am not unfamiliar with the phenomenon of discovering that I have 30 referees with me on the field, come match day! Not to mention the dozens who know better along the touch lines, right?

OB..
04-11-15, 23:11
Once the maul has wheeled 180, the "hindmost" player can simply break off with the ball and be ahead of many opponents. Even 90 degrees would give a significant advantage.

I am also puzzled that apparently Red continued pushing, albeit in the wrong diretion. (Surely Blue could not be pulling that hard?)

However weird things happen and I agree that no whistle is needed unless the maul collapses or stops etc.

Dickie E
04-11-15, 23:11
One thing I'd be mindful of is this. Normally, if a maul stops moving, you'll say to the #9 "that's once"* and wait to see if the maul starts moving for a second time.

In the OP where there are players all over the place I'd be inclined to blow it up as soon as it stops moving the first time.


* had a SH respond to me with "that's once what?" a few seasons ago. SMH. :)

Pegleg
04-11-15, 23:11
Yes, it did occur to me that both sides would have been offsides. No, I checked, the captain is an actual certified referee in the same referees' society to which I belong - although I am not unfamiliar with the phenomenon of discovering that I have 30 referees with me on the field, come match day! Not to mention the dozens who know better along the touch lines, right?

Indeed. Refs on either side are usually a pain in the backside. Worse than SHs for verbals!

The Fat
04-11-15, 23:11
What makes it even harder for you is when all of those other "referees" see a Super Rugby ref tell a defender, who is still bound legally, to "go back around".

Decorily
05-11-15, 00:11
What makes it even harder for you is when all of those other "referees" see a Super Rugby ref tell a defender, who is still bound legally, to "go back around".

Yes indeed...or when World Cup Referees say "Use it once" when the maul stops moving forward!

Ian_Cook
05-11-15, 00:11
Interestingly though, if the whole maul swings around 180° so that everyone is on their opponent's side of the maul, and then (using the OP's example) a blue player breaks off, where does he rejoin?

17.4 OFFSIDE AT THE MAUL
(e) Players leaving or rejoining the maul. Players who leave a maul must immediately retire behind the offside line, otherwise, they are offside. If the player rejoins the maul in front of the hindmost team-mate in the maul, they are offside. The player may rejoin the maul alongside the hindmost team-mate.
Sanction: Penalty kick on the offending team’s offside line

Practicality demands that he can join the Red players which would still see him joining behind the hindmost foot of his own player (buried somewhere in the middle of the maul)

The OP's question does bring up an issue that I have not seen satisfactorily resolved... what happens to the offside lines when a maul swings around 180°?

Taff
05-11-15, 00:11
... The OP's question does bring up an issue that I have not seen satisfactorily resolved... what happens to the offside lines when a maul swings around 180°?
I would say .. nothing happens to it. Moving the offside line with the maul just makes no sense.

Rich_NL
05-11-15, 09:11
I guess that one could argue that the maul ended "unsuccessfully" as the ball had become unplayable (Law 17.6.b), and so Law 17.c applies. Despite moving forward, Blue could not easily get the ball back to their players. And so a scrum should have had to be awarded to Red as the team not in possession before the maul started.

If you mean award a scrum due to wheeling - this gives a strong incentive to the defenders just to twist the maul around, though. As it is, the incentive isn't there because Blue would end up with players behind Red's defence line. However, if Blue can't get the ball out, in the end it's unplayable and Red get the scrum.

I don't see any reason in law not to just play on and blow for unplayable when the maul stops moving. Players joining, leaving or out of the maul have an offside line of the rearmost teammate's foot (although I can see an argument for making it the rearmost player in the maul's foot, regardless of team), and the maul carries on. Just keep playing until there's a reason to whistle.


I am also puzzled that apparently Red continued pushing, albeit in the wrong diretion. (Surely Blue could not be pulling that hard?)

One sees it in junior games regularly; the struggle is the ball-carrier and an opponent wrestling over the ball, sinking into each other for possession rather than using it to contest ground. It tends to stalemate.


The OP's question does bring up an issue that I have not seen satisfactorily resolved... what happens to the offside lines when a maul swings around 180°?

(a)
The offside line. There are two offside lines parallel to the goal lines, one for each team. Each offside line runs through the hindmost foot of the hindmost player in the maul. If the hindmost foot of the hindmost player is on or behind the goal line, the offside line for the defending team is the goal line.

Phil E
05-11-15, 10:11
Despite moving forward, Blue could not easily get the ball back to their players.

Peep, it's not coming out guys. Turnover.

The Fat
05-11-15, 11:11
I hate to put it like this because I just know that Dickie will have a field day with it but, if the maul goes the full 180 degrees, it has just become a pulling contest (if the maul is to keep moving goal line to goal line).
Best to follow Phil's advise, "Peep, it's not coming out guys. Turnover. "

Rich_NL
05-11-15, 11:11
Players joining, leaving or out of the maul have an offside line of the rearmost teammate's foot (although I can see an argument for making it the rearmost player in the maul's foot, regardless of team)

Oops, that *is* the law, brainfart there. So, a pretty good argument. :D

ctrainor
06-11-15, 18:11
But if you leave the maul with the ball the maul is over so it would be play on.

tim White
06-11-15, 19:11
"Blue's captain (also a referee) urged me to award a penalty for offsides against Red, implying that the defenders were required to break off and rejoin from their side of the field. I declined on the basis that none of the Red team's players had become unbound during the incident."

If he is indeed a bona fide referee he will know the real answer to that-and is bluffing. Invite him to point out that particular piece of law in your handy law book in the bar in front of witnesses.

I also vote for quick whistle if it stops or has spun 180- degrees (so it becomes a pulling contest); Turnover ball (you do remember who took it in, don't you?)

Iron_Lung
07-11-15, 00:11
I think the situation as describe does create a law conundrum given where it implies that a player is allowed to join, but I can't think of a time I've seen a maul rotate where the ball carrying team has not sheared away to either run the ball or form a new maul. If it got to that situation, I think I'd be blowing it up as unplayable rather than allowing it to turn into a pulling contest with all of the associated dangers of collapse.

As for the player-as-ref situation, I think Drift Red Carded a fellow ref who had the temerity to argue a decision beyond what was acceptable, and if I remember rightly, Menace has carded at least two junior refs who were playing in games he officiated!!!!

Phil E
07-11-15, 11:11
Looking beyond the problem.

If the ball is at the back (where it should be) and the opposition tries to swing it round, the ball carrying team will just break off legally by continuing the maul moving forward, leaving the opposition players with no where to go apart from leave and come back round to their own side.

If however the ball is stuck in the middle and not moving to the back, then we will end up with no one wanting to release it and the situation in the OP will arise. If it's not coming out of the middle, where both teams will have a wrap on the ball carrier, then all the more reason for a whistle and turnover.

Teams that don't get the mall ball to the back deserve to lose it because it's usually an indication of no support when the maul is formed, resulting in the ball carrier getting wrapped by opposition, meaning he will never be able to get the ball back.

Treadmore
07-11-15, 12:11
If however the ball is stuck in the middle and not moving to the back, then we will end up with no one wanting to release it and the situation in the OP will arise. If it's not coming out of the middle, where both teams will have a wrap on the ball carrier, then all the more reason for a whistle and turnover.


And if the ball was in the middle of the rotated maul then moving it to the "back" means handing the ball to an offside player - so 11.6(b)?

Unless ball was at the back originally it seems the rotated maul can't end successfully?

OB..
07-11-15, 13:11
And if the ball was in the middle of the rotated maul then moving it to the "back" means handing the ball to an offside player - so 11.6(b)?Players legally in the maul are not offside. However handing the ball to a team mate in front of you is a throw-forward.


Unless ball was at the back originally it seems the rotated maul can't end successfully?If a pod of players can break off with the ball once the maul has wheeled, that is surely a successful end.

Treadmore
07-11-15, 13:11
Players legally in the maul are not offside. However handing the ball to a team mate in front of you is a throw-forward.

I thought 11.6(b) was a better fit
When a player hands the ball to a team-mate in front of the first player, the receiver is offside. Unless the receiver is considered to be intentionally offside (in which case a penalty kick is awarded), the receiver is accidentally offside and a scrum is formed with the opposing team throwing in the ball.




If a pod of players can break off with the ball once the maul has wheeled, that is surely a successful end.

Is it? The scenario is a rotated maul with the ball still in the middle of the maul. I guess there is a possible sequence of events but it just seems unlikely to me.

Dickie E
07-11-15, 20:11
Looking beyond the problem.

If the ball is at the back (where it should be) and the opposition tries to swing it round, the ball carrying team will just break off legally by continuing the maul moving forward, leaving the opposition players with no where to go apart from leave and come back round to their own side.

If however the ball is stuck in the middle and not moving to the back, then we will end up with no one wanting to release it and the situation in the OP will arise. If it's not coming out of the middle, where both teams will have a wrap on the ball carrier, then all the more reason for a whistle and turnover.

Teams that don't get the mall ball to the back deserve to lose it because it's usually an indication of no support when the maul is formed, resulting in the ball carrier getting wrapped by opposition, meaning he will never be able to get the ball back.

He may be able to go to ground with the ball. And while unlikely I'd let it breathe for a bit & see what happens. Always looking for reasons not to blow.

davsas
25-01-17, 17:01
provided the players remain bound to, or caught up in, the maul then they are not offside and do not need to break off and re-enter. If they do choose to break off, then they need to re-enter from the hindmost feet nearest their goal line. The ball does not become the offisde line.

Provided the maul contiunes to move it has not ended and may continue to rotate, etc.

Be wary of players trying to drag opponents out of the "wrong" side of the maul.

And welcome, Voetap, to the forum. Nice to see another Saffer on board.

sorry to drag an old post up, but this answers a question I have had for ages, so great thank you. One quick one though on pulling out players. I've read that this is not legal, but while watching top level matches I seem to see it a lot, and no penalty given?

Phil E
25-01-17, 17:01
sorry to drag an old post up, but this answers a question I have had for ages, so great thank you. One quick one though on pulling out players. I've read that this is not legal, but while watching top level matches I seem to see it a lot, and no penalty given?

You are correct, but it is very rarely a material offence, so if you blow up you are perhaps just stopping the game for no reason. Better to manage it verbally and keep the game alive.

Nigib
25-01-17, 19:01
You are correct, but it is very rarely a material offence, so if you blow up you are perhaps just stopping the game for no reason. Better to manage it verbally and keep the game alive.

?? Not material? Surely it's likely to upset the balance of the maul, potentially destabilising and giving an advantage to the non-offending side? Could also be a safety issue?

If I see it starting, I will warn to stop it happening, then advantage and ping if necessary/no advantage

Ian_Cook
25-01-17, 20:01
Trying to drag a player out of a maul is potentially dangerous and can lead to injury of the dragged player if he is stuck in the maul

Interestingly, dragging a player out of a ruck is legal.

crossref
25-01-17, 22:01
Interestingly, dragging a player out of a ruck is legal.

you reckon? - would that be provided you are behind the back foot, and not being part of the ruck yourself ?

Pegleg
25-01-17, 22:01
?? Not material? Surely it's likely to upset the balance of the maul, potentially destabilising and giving an advantage to the non-offending side? Could also be a safety issue?

If I see it starting, I will warn to stop it happening, then advantage and ping if necessary/no advantage

Agreed It is unlikely I'll consider it to be immaterial.

Ian_Cook
26-01-17, 03:01
you reckon? - would that be provided you are behind the back foot, and not being part of the ruck yourself ?

If they weren't then they would be offside, which has nothing whatsoever to do with whether it is legal to drag a player out of a ruck.

Dragging players away from the tackle and ruck is a commonly used tactic in the SH. An opponent will end up on the wrong side of a tackle, and does not roll away quickly enough when the ruck is formed, so a pillar or another player not involved will drop back and drag him out of it. Standard practice and completely legal (no matter how much you wish it wasn't).

Phil E
26-01-17, 10:01
?? Not material? Surely it's likely to upset the balance of the maul, potentially destabilising and giving an advantage to the non-offending side? Could also be a safety issue?

If any of those things happen then it would become material.
If they don't (which is usual in my experience), then it isn't.

Balones
26-01-17, 11:01
If they weren't then they would be offside, which has nothing whatsoever to do with whether it is legal to drag a player out of a ruck.

Dragging players away from the tackle and ruck is a commonly used tactic in the SH. An opponent will end up on the wrong side of a tackle, and does not roll away quickly enough when the ruck is formed, so a pillar or another player not involved will drop back and drag him out of it. Standard practice and completely legal (no matter how much you wish it wasn't).

Ian, I am very often in agreement with your point of view but I have to say that I cannot agree with your statement about dragging out of a ruck being legal. The laws state (clearly?] what a player must do at a ruck and if they do not comply then the referee can penalise them. it is not for the players to take the law into their own hands. The laws explain how a player may participate in a ruck standing outside and dragging someone is not covered and I believe could be covered by playing a player without the ball.
now this is not to say that what you outline does not happen but I would say that it is allowed for management and depends how it is done, Sometimes a player may actually be grateful to be helped out so that he is not penalised.

Ian_Cook
26-01-17, 12:01
Ian, I am very often in agreement with your point of view but I have to say that I cannot agree with your statement about dragging out of a ruck being legal. The laws state (clearly?] what a player must do at a ruck and if they do not comply then the referee can penalise them. it is not for the players to take the law into their own hands. The laws explain how a player may participate in a ruck standing outside and dragging someone is not covered and I believe could be covered by playing a player without the ball.
now this is not to say that what you outline does not happen but I would say that it is allowed for management and depends how it is done, Sometimes a player may actually be grateful to be helped out so that he is not penalised.

Its not what they MUST do, its what they are ALLOWED to do and NOT ALLOWED to do that is relevant.

Much of Law 16 and Law 17 are repeated word for word with "maul" substituted for "ruck". Other offences not specific to mauling/rucking, joining and offside are covered in, appropriately, "Other Offences"...

17.3 OTHER MAUL OFFENCES
(a) A player must not try to drag an opponent out of a maul.
Sanction: Penalty kick
(b) A player must not take any action to make the opposing team think that the ball is out of
the maul while it is still in the maul.
Sanction: Free Kick


16.4 OTHER RUCK OFFENCES
(a) Players must not return the ball into a ruck.
Sanction: Free Kick
(b) Players must not handle the ball in a ruck except after a tackle if they are on their feet and
have their hands on the ball before the ruck is formed.
Sanction: Penalty kick
(c) Players must not pick up the ball in a ruck with their legs.
Sanction: Penalty kick
(d) Players on the ground in or near the ruck must try to move away from the ball. These
players must not interfere with the ball in the ruck or as it comes out of the ruck.
Sanction: Penalty kick
(e) A player must not fall on or over the ball as it is coming out of a ruck.
Sanction: Penalty kick
(f) A player must not take any action to make the opposing team think that the ball is out of
the ruck while it is still in the ruck.
Sanction: Free Kick

Please note that there is NO equivalent of Law 17.3 (a) in the Ruck Laws. Dragging a player out of a Maul is specifically outlawed in Law 17, but Law 16 is completely silent on dragging a player out of a ruck. If you PK a layer for doing so, then you are making it up as you go.

Dragging a player out of a ruck is in fact a coached technique in this country (I coach it myself for our juniors). I have seen it done hundreds of times over the years in many different grades from weeds to elite rugby and I have never seen it penalised.

Wedgie
26-01-17, 12:01
What I observe more often at a ruck is a member of the team in possession bridging on the (ex-) ball carrier, then the opposition pulling this 'bridger' down/out/forward from the ruck. This is often dangerous as the bridger is unbalanced and can land on his head so I ping for collapsing the ruck/incorrect binding/dangerous play*

Wedgie

* take your pick

Decorily
26-01-17, 13:01
What I observe more often at a ruck is a member of the team in possession bridging on the (ex-) ball carrier, then the opposition pulling this 'bridger' down/out/forward from the ruck. This is often dangerous as the bridger is unbalanced and can land on his head so I ping for collapsing the ruck/incorrect binding/dangerous play*

Wedgie


* take your pick

So are you saying you penalise the defender?
What about the first offense.. 'bridging'?

- - - Updated - - -


What I observe more often at a ruck is a member of the team in possession bridging on the (ex-) ball carrier, then the opposition pulling this 'bridger' down/out/forward from the ruck. This is often dangerous as the bridger is unbalanced and can land on his head so I ping for collapsing the ruck/incorrect binding/dangerous play*

Wedgie


* take your pick

So are you saying you penalise the defender?
What about the first offense.. 'bridging'?

Wedgie
26-01-17, 15:01
So are you saying you penalise the defender?
What about the first offense.. 'bridging'?

If the hands of the bridger are on the floor beyond the ball carrier...then yes, I would probably view that as illegal. But the scenario I am attempting to describe is the bridger having hands on the ex-ball carrier who is on the floor, with the bridger supporting his own weight on his feet. He then gets dragged off his feet by the defender. (Many threads on crocodile role on this forum, but my scenario is not a grabbing of the torso with a full bind - but pulling the arms/shoulders of the bridger and pulling him over the ball carrier.)

didds
26-01-17, 15:01
What I observe more often at a ruck is a member of the team in possession bridging on the (ex-) ball carrier, then the opposition pulling this 'bridger' down/out/forward from the ruck. This is often dangerous as the bridger is unbalanced and can land on his head so I ping for collapsing the ruck/incorrect binding/dangerous play*

Wedgie

* take your pick

Maybe his head should be above his hips when bridging. It far less likely he'll end up on his head that way.

Just saying.

didds

Decorily
26-01-17, 15:01
...the scenario I am attempting to describe is the bridger having hands on the ex-ball carrier who is on the floor, with the bridger supporting his own weight on his feet.

My bad. Fair enough.

In an ideal world the bridger would have head and shoulders above hips as mentioned above........ obviously I don't referee in an ideal world as I rarely see it! !

didds
26-01-17, 15:01
My bad. Fair enough.

In an ideal world the bridger would have head and shoulders above hips as mentioned above........ obviously I don't referee in an ideal world as I rarely see it! !




16.2 Joining a ruck
(a)
All players forming, joining or taking part in a ruck must have their heads and shoulders no lower than their hips.
Sanction: Free Kick

Of course, when they first bridge no ruck has formed. But does an opponent making contact with them and thus creating a ruck now mean they are illegally taking part in it?

didds

Decorily
26-01-17, 18:01
Well yes, probably....and also the 'clearer outer' is probably then illegally collapsing that ruck. But as I said above I don't referee in a perfect world!!

Balones
27-01-17, 00:01
Its not what they MUST do, its what they are ALLOWED to do and NOT ALLOWED to do that is relevant.

Much of Law 16 and Law 17 are repeated word for word with "maul" substituted for "ruck". Other offences not specific to mauling/rucking, joining and offside are covered in, appropriately, "Other Offences"...

17.3 OTHER MAUL OFFENCES
(a) A player must not try to drag an opponent out of a maul.
Sanction: Penalty kick
(b) A player must not take any action to make the opposing team think that the ball is out of
the maul while it is still in the maul.
Sanction: Free Kick


16.4 OTHER RUCK OFFENCES
(a) Players must not return the ball into a ruck.
Sanction: Free Kick
(b) Players must not handle the ball in a ruck except after a tackle if they are on their feet and
have their hands on the ball before the ruck is formed.
Sanction: Penalty kick
(c) Players must not pick up the ball in a ruck with their legs.
Sanction: Penalty kick
(d) Players on the ground in or near the ruck must try to move away from the ball. These
players must not interfere with the ball in the ruck or as it comes out of the ruck.
Sanction: Penalty kick
(e) A player must not fall on or over the ball as it is coming out of a ruck.
Sanction: Penalty kick
(f) A player must not take any action to make the opposing team think that the ball is out of
the ruck while it is still in the ruck.
Sanction: Free Kick

Please note that there is NO equivalent of Law 17.3 (a) in the Ruck Laws. Dragging a player out of a Maul is specifically outlawed in Law 17, but Law 16 is completely silent on dragging a player out of a ruck. If you PK a layer for doing so, then you are making it up as you go.

Dragging a player out of a ruck is in fact a coached technique in this country (I coach it myself for our juniors). I have seen it done hundreds of times over the years in many different grades from weeds to elite rugby and I have never seen it penalised.

I fully appreciate what you are saying Ian, and you are very much in the camp that if the laws don't mention it then it is allowed.
All I can say is that in my experience and part of the world-
- I do not know of any coach that coaches dragging out of the ruck. This is because they know they will be penalised.
- Players that notice somebody lying where they should not be tend to point it out to the ref and expect something to be done about it.
- If it is done then the referee gives a management word to stop it or does penalise it.
- Players that I observe expect it to be penalised. If the referee doesn't then we have an opportunity for conflict which nobody wants.
- If a ref didn't penalise it then I would mention it in the report at the same time as probably making a comment about not dealing with the player lying on the floor.
- Lastly, why should a player need to do it if the referee is doing his job correctly and accurately?

Perhaps it is a North H/South H thing. But I must admit I do not see it when the SH teams play NH teams.

Balones
27-01-17, 12:01
I realise that we have deviated off the original thread, but as an afterthought, we don't allow (or do we?) players to be dragged into a ruck (not mentioned in law) so why allow them to be dragged out?