PDA

View Full Version : [Scrum] Scrum half going back 5m



chbg
20-10-16, 23:10
A new one yesterday in a BUCS match: the non-throwing SH started in the traditional position next to his oppo; as soon as the ball was in, he retreated at high speed back to the offside line 5m behind the rearmost foot. Would you allow that?


It is the offside line for "players not in the scrum" (20.12g). However he did not go to the opposite side of the scrum and step in front of the back foot (20.12d); nor did he move away from the scrum and step in front of the hindmost foot (20.12e).


I allowed him to do it, which seems to be right, although in retrospect I could have advised him that he did not need to go so far back. Until recently, didn't SH have to remain 'close' to the scrum, rather than anywhere across the pitch behind the hindmost foot?


In the 2nd Half, his scrum then won the ball AFTER he had retreated back to the 5m line. He immediately came forward to take it from the back of the scrum. For me that was offside in front of the 5m line (the ball was still at No 8's feet). He had taken himself away from the scrum (there doesn't have to be a SH (20.12f), so for me could not join/re-join halfway through. It was too quick for me to prevent him playing the ball, so I penalised. The other team scored from the PK!

On query, his skipper was fully content with my explanation that he had 3 options: follow the other SH; stay at the hindmost foot; or stay back 5m.

Strangely enough he didn't go back 5m any more! However perhaps I was over-jealous in not allowing him to come forward, as his off-side line was only ever the hindmost foot?

Grateful for opinions in case it ever arises again. I also have contact with the coach and will advise him of our considered forum position. The skipper did advise me in the PMB that they might not contest at the line-out; this would also be something unusual of which they could advise the referee in advance.

Phil E
20-10-16, 23:10
He can retreat to the 5m offside line for other players if he wishes, but he then becomes one of those other players and can't come forward again. You were correct to penalise him.

If he stays with the scrum he must remain within 1m or retreat to the back foot, from where he can traverse across the pitch, but not cone forward of the back foot, which is his offside line if he doesn't follow the ball round.

ChrisR
20-10-16, 23:10
I think you've thought it through correctly.

No, he didn't have to retreat to the 5m. And, if he had only retreated to the hind foot but moved away from the scrum would you have allowed him to return to play the ball when his team won it? Yes, you would and so would I so i agree that you were overly strict in prohibiting him from returning from 5m away.

Now, I'm not sure of the law if he had started 5m away and then encroached.

didds
20-10-16, 23:10
I can't even think of a reason for him to go back to the 5m line - especially on his own ball!

I'd really womnder if he has played SH much at all? Or if not if he does it in most games, what on earth is his coach doing?

bizarre.

Didds

PS I agree - PK him for encroaching. He'll learn quicker that way!

DocY
21-10-16, 08:10
I can't even think of a reason for him to go back to the 5m line - especially on his own ball!


Not knowing the laws, I expect.

FWIW, I think you were a bit harsh penalising him for re-joining (I'm assuming this wasn't a top-level game here). I can't see how it's material and certainly not an advantage for him - had he only retreated 4 and a half meters, he'd have been fully entitled (in law) to go back to the scrum. A good case for ATP.

DocY
21-10-16, 08:10
Now, I'm not sure of the law if he had started 5m away and then encroached.

Definitely offside - 20.12 (a) - and as I can only see this arising when you'd just asked "where's the scrum half?" "we want him as an extra 3/4" it'd be far more deserved.

merge
21-10-16, 11:10
Do you have a law reference for the scrum half's offside line becoming 5m back? 20.12(a) defines where they must start, but the rest of 20.12 defines the offside lines for the SH (in the first case 20.12(e) applies - the back foot, while the second 20.12(b) - in front of the ball - as they are the team in possession.) Though a team doesn't need a SH, this player clearly is the SH as they started next to the scrum.

20.12(g) is the 5m offside line for "Players who are not in the scrum and who are not the team’s scrum half".

Literally reading the laws a team could nominate any of the back line as "scrum half" starting 5m back - 20.12(a) only states a starting point, 20.12(f) says it any player can be SH - and advancing to the back foot - 20.12(e). I suspect this isn't what 20.12(a) was actually trying to say.

DocY
21-10-16, 11:10
Do you have a law reference for the scrum half's offside line becoming 5m back? 20.12(a) defines where they must start, but the rest of 20.12 defines the offside lines for the SH (in the first case 20.12(e) applies - the back foot, while the second 20.12(b) - in front of the ball - as they are the team in possession.) Though a team doesn't need a SH, this player clearly is the SH as they started next to the scrum.

20.12(g) is the 5m offside line for "Players who are not in the scrum and who are not the team’s scrum half".

Literally reading the laws a team could nominate any of the back line as "scrum half" starting 5m back - 20.12(a) only states a starting point, 20.12(f) says it any player can be SH - and advancing to the back foot - 20.12(e). I suspect this isn't what 20.12(a) was actually trying to say.

I think you're right - the OP sounds like it's completely described by 20.12(e) to me.

OB..
21-10-16, 13:10
I think the problem lies in assuming that the player with #9 on his back is the scrum half at all times.. We know that at lineouts it is common enough to have a forward in the scrum half position.

Suppose the #9 picks up a knock retires to the wing. At the next scrum #11 fills in at scrum half. Would you penalise him for not being the scrum half?

For me the only consistent interpretation is that the scrum half is the (sole) person who takes up the scrum half position/role when such is specified. If he starts in the standard scrum half position at a scrum and then retires behind the 5m offside line, he stops being a scrum half and becomes an "other player".That means the team has no scrum half. If his team wins the ball against the head, then the #8 will have to deal with it.

There is obviously some confused thinking going on in this match, but IMHO it was correct to penalise him for trying to come back into the scrum half position. Ignorantia juris neminem excusat is a good starting point.

DocY
21-10-16, 13:10
There is obviously some confused thinking going on in this match, but IMHO it was correct to penalise him for trying to come back into the scrum half position. Ignorantia juris neminem excusat is a good starting point.

Going back to merge's point: under which law would you penalise him? The only references I can find in the lawbook (and it's quite possible I've missed the pertinent one) say that if the SH leaves the scrum, he must stay behind the back foot (20.12 d and 3, although they specifically refer to the team who didn't win the ball, I can see no references at all to the team who did win the ball) - I can't find anything to change that if he goes 4 meters back or 5 meters back.

OB..
21-10-16, 14:10
Going back to merge's point: under which law would you penalise him? The only references I can find in the lawbook (and it's quite possible I've missed the pertinent one) say that if the SH leaves the scrum, he must stay behind the back foot (20.12 d and 3, although they specifically refer to the team who didn't win the ball, I can see no references at all to the team who did win the ball) - I can't find anything to change that if he goes 4 meters back or 5 meters back.I take the view that if he goes back past the 5m offside line he is no longer the team's scrum half. I think it gets very silly otherwise, particularly if you start arguing about 4.5m v 5m.

crossref
21-10-16, 15:10
Going back to merge's point: under which law would you penalise him? The only references I can find in the lawbook (and it's quite possible I've missed the pertinent one) say that if the SH leaves the scrum, he must stay behind the back foot (20.12 d and 3, although they specifically refer to the team who didn't win the ball, I can see no references at all to the team who did win the ball) - I can't find anything to change that if he goes 4 meters back or 5 meters back.

Unless I thought it was somehow part of an incredibly cunning and sophisticated deception calcualted to get an illegal advantage (can't see how!), I wouldn't penalise him, I'd just tell him not to do that again.

Phil E
21-10-16, 15:10
So it seems that you would penalise someone who started on the 5m line and came forward, but not someone who retreated behind it, and then came forward. Interesting :chin:

thepercy
21-10-16, 15:10
Why is he not allowed to stand any distance he likes, behind his offside line? I think anyone that says he is no longer SH and has to stay at the offside line for other players is making it up. If he starts next to the scrum he is the SH, and has special offside lines. If he starts with the other players he is an other player a must stay there.

OB..
21-10-16, 16:10
Why is he not allowed to stand any distance he likes, behind his offside line? I think anyone that says he is no longer SH and has to stay at the offside line for other players is making it up. If he starts next to the scrum he is the SH, and has special offside lines. If he starts with the other players he is an other player a must stay there.
We have a weird situation, which almost certainly was not considered by the law makers. Assuming there are bits of law that could be applied to it is an unsatisfactory approach. I am trying to use common sense in interpreting the laws. I cannot see any rugby sense in the more literal approaches.

(I can't honestly see that we are learning much from this debate about a freak situation.)

Phil E
21-10-16, 16:10
I am sure there was a WR clarification of some sort that said this was the case when the 5m at the scrum came into being.
It's the way everyone I know has always refereed it, so I am surprised it is even a question. but clearly some people think differently.

By the way, the person at the scrum is effectively an acting scrum half or dummy half, since anyone can do that job, it doesn't have to be the No 9.

Edit:
I just found a set of ELV FAQ's from when the 5m offside line was introduced to the scrum.

Law 20 - Scrum
11. Introduction of an offside line 5 metres behind the hindmost feet of the scrum.
Q. Where does the defending SH have to stand?
A. Either by the throw in or 5m back at start of scrum
Q. What can the defending SH do once the opposition have won the ball?
A. S/he can retreat to within 1m of scrum or drop back to 5m
Q. If SH goes back 5m can s/he re-advance?
A. No, not until the ball leaves the scrum
Q. If the SH drops back how far can s/he go around the other side of the scrum?
A. Within 1m but cannot advance in front of back feet of his/her #8
Q. Do the 5m OS lines move with a moving scrum?
A. Yes (but not into in-goal)
12. Identification of scrum half offside lines
Q. How will players at lower levels know where 5m back is?
A. The referee may ask Club TJs to indicate the 5m. Hopefully all parties will exercise some commonsense


Also just found the official IRB (as it was then) guide to the ELV's (Experimental Law Variations) as they were then called.

Snipped this bit out:

Example c
The non-ball-winning scrum half may
decide to move to or beyond the
offside line 5 metres behind the
hindmost foot of that player’s team,
but once there, must remain behind
the offside line until the scrum is over.

didds
21-10-16, 16:10
OB's valid point about freak situations notwithstanding.. ;-)

so regarding the back foot o/side line (OSL) and the 5m OSL... purely for speculation and fun etc...

if the (acting) #9 starts to retreat to the 5m OSL... has he actuially left the scrum for these purposes when he actually crosses that 5m OSL, never to return? Can he in fact go back 4.99999999m and then return unchallenged? CF the 10m "box" at LOs that some moot is the depth a peeling player can legally run around in?

Or is there a sort of quasi-zombie not-offside but out of the game state between the rear foot OSL and the 5m OSL ? where he is technically O/S but he can't just teleport form rear foot OSL to 5m OSL, and so is accepted tthat he has to move in this transitory state ?

Humour me ;-)

didds

Phil E
21-10-16, 16:10
Humour me ;-)

Chopper is alive and well!

didds
21-10-16, 16:10
LOL!

didds

thepercy
21-10-16, 17:10
I am sure there was a WR clarification of some sort that said this was the case when the 5m at the scrum came into being.
It's the way everyone I know has always refereed it, so I am surprised it is even a question. but clearly some people think differently.

By the way, the person at the scrum is effectively an acting scrum half or dummy half, since anyone can do that job, it doesn't have to be the No 9.

Edit:
I just found a set of ELV FAQ's from when the 5m offside line was introduced to the scrum.

Law 20 - Scrum
11. Introduction of an offside line 5 metres behind the hindmost feet of the scrum.
Q. Where does the defending SH have to stand?
A. Either by the throw in or 5m back at start of scrum
Q. What can the defending SH do once the opposition have won the ball?
A. S/he can retreat to within 1m of scrum or drop back to 5m
Q. If SH goes back 5m can s/he re-advance?
A. No, not until the ball leaves the scrum
Q. If the SH drops back how far can s/he go around the other side of the scrum?
A. Within 1m but cannot advance in front of back feet of his/her #8
Q. Do the 5m OS lines move with a moving scrum?
A. Yes (but not into in-goal)
12. Identification of scrum half offside lines
Q. How will players at lower levels know where 5m back is?
A. The referee may ask Club TJs to indicate the 5m. Hopefully all parties will exercise some commonsense


Also just found the official IRB (as it was then) guide to the ELV's (Experimental Law Variations) as they were then called.

Snipped this bit out:

Example c
The non-ball-winning scrum half may
decide to move to or beyond the
offside line 5 metres behind the
hindmost foot of that player’s team,
but once there, must remain behind
the offside line until the scrum is over.

Was there a last foot of scrum offside line during the ELV?

chbg
21-10-16, 18:10
Thank you all for your comments so far.

I didn't have an opportunity to ask the SH why he did it. I'm half-expecting that it is because he felt that not being able to go into the pocket has removed his opportunity to disrupt the opposing SH; but perhaps it was just because he preferred to have the opposition running at him at full speed. The opposition did claim at first that he wasn't allowed to do it, but I overruled that.

Of course I am encouraged by OB's responses and particularly by the results of Phil E's research, but it is often not clear if aspects of an ELV that are not incorporated into Laws have been dropped by design or oversight. I don't have a 2008 Lawbook (was there one?), but the main difference in Law 20 from 2007 to 2009 was the introduction of the 5m offside line, with the diagram that remains in the current Lawbook.

I then came across this diagram in a Sep 2008 Powerpoint explanation of the ELVs, in which Example (c) allows him to go back 5m but not to come forward again:
3471

However by May 2009 the following explanation was given for the Law Amendments included in the 2009 Lawbook:

After the ball has been won the scrum half of the team who has not won the ball who was positioned next to the player throwing in the ball can do one of two things:
(i) Follow the ball whilst remaining on side
(ii) Go directly back to the hindmost foot in the scrum and then take up a position anywhere behind this offside line.

(So he can't take a circuituous route back to the hindmost foot? Or he can't delay going back?)

To me that is coherent with current Laws as written. So the SH did not have to retreat back 5m, anywhere behind the hindmost foot would do; and he can move around behind that line wherever he wishes.

Thank you helping to clarify this. It is bound never to happen to me again, but it might prepare others in case it occurs to them.

tim White
21-10-16, 21:10
How were the opponents disadvantaged? -was it material? Remember if you blow the whistle you must be able to cite which law has been infringed.

I'm just not sure it deserved a penalty as I can see no advantage in the retreat/advance whether your team have won or lost the ball in the scrum.

:shrug:

OB..
22-10-16, 00:10
How were the opponents disadvantaged? -was it material? Remember if you blow the whistle you must be able to cite which law has been infringed.As I said above, the player has become an "other player" and thus lost his scrumhalf status.


I'm just not sure it deserved a penalty as I can see no advantage in the retreat/advance whether your team have won or lost the ball in the scrum.I see no point in the tactic, but that does not make the return journey legal. The opposition are entitled to try and capitalise on the lack of an opposing scrum half, so his sudden re-appearance disadvantages them.

I am getting distinctly bored with arguing how many angels can dance on the head of this particular pin, the more so since it is going round in circles.

ChrisR
22-10-16, 11:10
As I said above, the player has become an "other player" and thus lost his scrumhalf status.

I see no point in the tactic, but that does not make the return journey legal. The opposition are entitled to try and capitalise on the lack of an opposing scrum half, so his sudden re-appearance disadvantages them.

I am getting distinctly bored with arguing how many angels can dance on the head of this particular pin, the more so since it is going round in circles.

You are wrong on this. "Other players" are defined when the scrum is set. Once the SH, always the SH for that scrum. If a teammate had advanced to play the ball then a PK would be correct.

In the OP the offside line for the SH who retreated was the ball as his team had won it against the head.

Even if the opponents had won the ball the laws only prohibit him from advancing in front of the hindmost foot.

OB..
22-10-16, 11:10
You are wrong on this. "Other players" are defined when the scrum is set. Once the SH, always the SH for that scrum. That is an assertion by you. My view is that the more general practical determination of who is the scrum half makes much better sense.

ChrisR
22-10-16, 13:10
That is an assertion by you. My view is that the more general practical determination of who is the scrum half makes much better sense.

I think the determination of SH is clearly defined in the Laws. I think that trusting in a "more general practical determination" of who is the SH is undefinable and would lead to wholly arbitrary decisions by the referee and a detriment to the players.

This very point has been demonstrated in the OP.

OB, when you can support your position in Law I'll be happy to stop dancing.

OB..
22-10-16, 15:10
I think the determination of SH is clearly defined in the Laws.That is your opinion, but it is not forced on you by the laws.
I think that trusting in a "more general practical determination" of who is the SH is undefinable and would lead to wholly arbitrary decisions by the referee and a detriment to the players.Disagree. My view is that the player in the prescribed scrum half position is entitled to the special considerations associated with that. If that person leaves the position, he no longer has those rights.

i see no problem with that unless people want to cause problems by flirting with the boundaries. (None of this makes much sense anyway from a tactical point of view.)


This very point has been demonstrated in the OP.The uncertainty in the law was illustrated by the OP.


OB, when you can support your position in Law I'll be happy to stop dancing.The laws contain gaps, ambiguities and contradictions. Some laws are ignored by every referee from top to bottom of the game. Referees need to know what the laws say, but have to interpret them to make sense. WR acknowledges this by issuing "Clarifications", which sometimes amount to making new law.

(I can't see that they will ever think it necessary to deal with this particular situation.)

ChrisR
22-10-16, 16:10
OB, you and occasionally disagree in one fundamental way. I see the lack of specific direction under law, as in this case, as signifying tacit approval. You tend to see the lack of such as needing a remedy that is not likely to be forthcoming so you apply 'common sense' and arrive at a solution.

I agree that a dose of common sense is a good remedy for many of the odd-ball situations that can occur. However, not every referees common sense is going to produce the same outcome and that leads to arbitrary decisions (one of my bugaboos).

In this instance I believe the laws clearly define the various onside requirements for the SH and although I don't see any tactical purpose in the actions of the SH in the OP (just confused on the requirements) I don't see any specific law that he's violated and to PK him serves no purpose.

OB..
22-10-16, 17:10
OB, you and occasionally disagree in one fundamental way. I see the lack of specific direction under law, as in this case, as signifying tacit approval.So you agree that you are interpreting the law.
You tend to see the lack of such as needing a remedy that is not likely to be forthcoming so you apply 'common sense' and arrive at a solution.I see a problem with your interpretation - needing to remember who the "sccrum half" was at that particular scrum. It is much simpler not to have to bother.


I agree that a dose of common sense is a good remedy for many of the odd-ball situations that can occur. However, not every referees common sense is going to produce the same outcome and that leads to arbitrary decisions (one of my bugaboos).In an oddball situation, the referee on the spot has to make a decision. Some referees will then come here to ask other referees if they agree. Makes sense to me.


In this instance I believe the laws clearly define the various onside requirements for the SH and although I don't see any tactical purpose in the actions of the SH in the OP (just confused on the requirements) I don't see any specific law that he's violated and to PK him serves no purpose.All that depends on the view you have taken. If you take my view you get a different answer. My view at least stops this sort of thing happening again!

chbg
22-10-16, 19:10
I didn't mean to light the fuse :biggrin:

The scrum had not been won by Blue against the head immediately, otherwise the Blue SH would have stayed close to where he was. It was hooked by Green, who then made a mess of it / were pushed back. So Blue SH had time to get back 5m before he wanted to come forward again.

I now agree that he is perfectly entitled to do that, but equally he has no need to go back 5m, whihc was the cause of the confusion. The 2008 ELV experiment required him to stay back 5m once he went there; the subsequent 2009 Law permitted him to be anywhere behind the hindmost foot, at any time.

But it does have to be the same SH throughout one scrum, they can't swap over 5m back!

I have passed my apology and explanation to Blue skipper, so that (a) they know where the SH is allowed to be and (b) can advise the referee at the PMB if they still plan to do something unusual.

ChrisR
22-10-16, 20:10
chbg - I hope the exchange has been fruitful. Each referee who visits here ultimately has to decide for themselves, just as they have to in games. Each person who posts will also have a particular perspective. I'm a coach so four whistles per game is fine for me.

OB..
23-10-16, 12:10
The 2008 ELV experiment required him to stay back 5m once he went there; the subsequent 2009 Law permitted him to be anywhere behind the hindmost foot, at any time.Going back to the ELVs, I note that at first the non-ball-winning scrum half could not move away from the scrum unless he retreated to the 5m line for other players (this line was new in the ELVs).

At this point an RFU FAQ included this:
Q. What can the defending SH do once the opposition have won the ball?
A. S/he can retreat to within 1m of scrum or drop back to 5m
Q. If SH goes back 5m can s/he re-advance?
A. No, not until the ball leaves the scrum

When it was realised this gave too big an advantage to his opponent, the wording was changed and a comment said his opponent could

Go directly back to the hindmost foot in the scrum and then take up a position anywhere behind this offside line.

The question of retiring back behind the 5m offside line was not mentioned - presumably because nobody could see any point in it now that he was allowed to move away from the scrum without doing so.

The word "anywhere" does not appear in the relevant law.

I stand by my view that it makes more sense to say he loses his scrum half rights once he goes behind the 5m offside line. In the 8 years since the ELV, nobody has found such a retreat to be a useful tactic, and it would only serve to confuse matters if he were allowed to re-advance.

YMMV but I doubt if it is ever going to matter again!

chbg
23-10-16, 16:10
YMMV but I doubt if it is ever going to matter again!

To me agreed, but there are a few more referees who have thought about it if it happens to them.