View Full Version : Numbers?

04-04-05, 14:04
Got confused on Sat past and am after reassurance/rebuffing.

Team A at every line (varying numbers each time) out had a small scrawny SH who would stand forehead to forehead with a guy middle of line out. Vast majority (not all) of the time he would step in, be supported and contest the ball.

Team B started by having same numbers as A then twigged that the wee man was being used so started sticking 1 more in line.

Team A then didn't use SH and called numbers. I ignored their calls and let play continue though in hind sight I felt I should have given numbers and told B they could use their SH in similar way.

Clearly I was right as I was the Ref and was consistent (I hope) but was I right??

Simon Griffiths
04-04-05, 15:04
If a scrum half is close enough to be head-to-head with a line-out player then he is not in the receiver position, therefore he is already a 'line-out player' i.e. in the two lines.

If all of this happened at a single line-out then the SH has left a formed line-out (FK) so it would not be numbers.

Is this the case? Or was it over a succession of line-outs.

04-04-05, 16:04
I don't like the use of 'numbers' as a deliberate tactical ploy just to gain a free kick, it is negative play. 'Numbers' has become more difficult to define this season with the law change allowing scrum halves to participate in the line out so, if I see changes going on, I will make a point of counting players and calling e.g. '6 in the line'. If the non throwing in team don't take the hint and no advantage accrues then they deserve the sanction.

04-04-05, 17:04
Gents - cheers again.

This tete-a-tete form up was their default pattern with the SH being used 75% of the time. It was an interesting ploy and seeing some of the other threads on the forum it was clearly aimed to throw doubt into the oppositions defence and why not.

04-04-05, 18:04
Perhaps this IRB ruling will help:-

RULING 4: 2004
Law Ruling by Designated Members of Laws Committee

24 May 2004

The RFU has requested a ruling with regard Law 19 Touch and Line-out
Law 19.10
Exception 2-The Receiver may run into the gap and perform any of the actions available to any other player in the line-out. The receiver is liable to penalty for offences in the line-out as would be other players in the line-out.
1. When can the receiver enter the line-out to jump or support a team-mate? After formation of the line-out and before the ball is thrown OR when the ball is thrown in. i.e. when it leaves the throwers hands?

2. Can the receiver change places with any other player in the line-out prior to the ball being thrown in?

3. Can the non-throwing team’s receiver enter the line-out to perform any action available to other players independently of the throwing receiver entering the line-out? I.e. does he have to wait for the throwing receiver to enter the line-out before he can?

4. Similarly does the receiver still have to receive the ball if he enters to jump for the ball?

5. Is there any set distance the receiver must be from the line-out to be deemed the receiver?

The Designated Members have ruled the following in answer to the question raised:

The answers to the abovementioned questions are:
1. The receiver can enter the line-out when the ball leaves the throwers hands.

2. Yes. The receiver can change places with any other player in the line-out prior to the ball being thrown-in.

3. The non-throwing teams receiver cannot enter the line-out unless the throwing in team’s receiver has done so. If this occurred the non-throwing team would have more players in the line-out, and would be subject to penalty. The non-throwing receiver can only enter the line-out after the throwers receiver has done so. This would not apply if the non-throwing team had fewer players in the line-out, as there would not be a ‘numbers’ issue. The receiver can do anything that other players can do in the line-out.

4. The receiver may run into the gap and perform any of the actions available to any other player in the line-out.

5. There is no restriction on how close the receiver can stand to the line-out.

Simon Griffiths
04-04-05, 18:04
My only query is with point 5. If that's the iRB's stance then it needs to be looked at. If this is the case everyone could stand in a big long line and have no receiver. Very confusing.

None-the-less, as Deeps says, I think they're playing for anything they can get, so I'd tell him he was in the line and ping him for leaving the line-out with a FK.

04-04-05, 23:04
I agree point 5 leads to confusion, and I have noticed top referees demanding to know who the receiver is under such circumstances. I would recommend that.

It is, of course, perfectly legitimate to have no receiver.

Personally, I would like to stop the place swapping. As soon as that happens, the gap disappears. If they could only move backwards and forwards, the TJ would be able to police the gap, and his powers should be increased to allow that.

Mat 04
05-04-05, 00:04
It is, of course, perfectly legitimate to have no receiver.
Hmmm the way you have worded that is confusing. Im pretty sure that there always has to be a reciever. 14 man lineouts and one reciever lol.

05-04-05, 10:04
Mat - Think of 7s, scrum half comes into a 2 man line, jumps for the ball and passes off the top to the hooker who has now become the receiver. Lovely play and to be encouraged.

05-04-05, 10:04
I do not find anything in the laws saying that a team MUST have a receiver. We know he can join the line when the ball is thrown, thus leaving his team without a receiver.

I also find the following:

There are four options available to the player throwing in (and the thrower’s immediate opponent):
(d) The thrower may move into the receiver position if that position is empty.
(My italics)

A bit subtle, but if it were illegal to start without a receiver this should surely say "if the receiver has joined the line".

Simon Griffiths
05-04-05, 10:04
We could get a team of lawyers in on this one! They'd have a field day.

Given the above reading, I'd definitely give the FK for leaving a line-out just because they were playing everyone - the opposition and the ref.

05-04-05, 10:04
In the original incident, surely SpamExile's hindsight was correct?

As I understand it, to start with Team A used X players plus a receiver, and Team B had the same.

Then Team B decided to counter Team A's use of their receiver by starting with an extra player in the line. That gave them X+1, whereas Team A had X. Clearly a numbers infringement.

If Team A had a standard 7 man line, where did the extra Team B player come from? If it was their receiver, or their hooker, it should be easy for you to see, and it is also something they should know was not allowed. Penalise them.

If Team A had shortened the line, then Team B have to be allowed time to adjust, and you could tell them to do so. If they don't, it is again their fault. Penalise them.

I also applaud the action of referees demanding to know who the receiver is before the ball is thrown. That would help Team B and prevent Team A playing silly games.

23-10-06, 19:10
does anyone ask both teams to nominate someone to tell you what the numbers at the lineout are before the match( Chris White does this)? In effect take the hassle of counting out of the lineout scenario and actually concentrate on refffing it!

Simon Griffiths
23-10-06, 19:10
Welcome to RRF whiskey! :)

I'm, sure that many people do. Our society (same one as Chris White) quite often suggest it - popular once one of our previous training officers (or RDO, one or the other) was told by an assessor that he'd given every decision possible at a lineout and he should use ways of preventing some of them.

The only problem I can think, and it's happened to me once, is when the player or captain says, "But we don't have to sir..."

There is quite a bit on numbers (mostly opinions on whether the Law should be changed, but still some useful stuff) throughtout this thread (http://www.rugbyrefs.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1145) (don't worry about the title, we sort of went wandering off topic).

26-10-06, 09:10
The only problem I can think, and it's happened to me once, is when the player or captain says, "But we don't have to sir..."

He's riught fo course. But you could explain that its a management tool mand that as you have SO much to look for at a lineout this help is invaluiable in preventing numbers infringements - and of course if you aren;t told by the throwing side at least then you may well not be able to award numbers FKs etc...



Simon Griffiths
26-10-06, 11:10
didds, that's the best explaination/encouragement I've managed to think of as well.

26-10-06, 12:10
I understand that, but I'm not sure that that's the right way to go.

I think it's incumbent upon us to identify the offence, and then determine cause.

Under this methodology, the defending side ALWAYS know what numbers to put in. As I said earlier, I won't award a FK if it has come about as a result of trickery or as I call it "d1cking about"; I WILL however award it if it comes about because the defenders are simply too dumb to get their math right.

I know what we're trying to do here, but let's not over protect the defenders.

Simon Griffiths
26-10-06, 13:10
Well, you can look at it another way. Trying to make your job just a little bit easier in the phase of the game that has possibly the most things to keep an eye on. If they want to be an awkward git, I fully expect them to put up with one in return!