PDA

View Full Version : When, exactly, is a ruck formed?



ydris
26-03-07, 15:03
Ball rolls out of ruck (backwards) and is out about 3 feet. I consider the ball to be in play.

Blue 15 approaches the ball from behind and bends to pick it up. Before he can touch the ball but while he is bending to pick it up he is 'cleared' by red (I was 5 ft from the action). I call a penalty for 10.4e - playing the player without the ball. There were some protests by Red 10, a referee in his own right who I shut up quickly and play continued per my instruction - penalty blue.

Following the game red 10 protested again saying that that since the ball was under Bue 15s feet, once the Red player 'hit' blue and bound a ruck was formed and everything was legal. My stance (as in the game) was that there was no intent to form a ruck, just an intent to clear the player away from the ball - he was moving at speed and made no attempt to do anything except wipe out Blue 15 (from my vantage point) so whether he bound was immaterial to the intent of the play.

Comments?

Ydris

SimonSmith
26-03-07, 16:03
Tough one.

I generally am OK with that. Part of the problem is that it is one player vs one player. Play it out again in your mind with three players vs three players and see if you have the same issues.

My justification for my refereeing of that is that a ruck is formed at the moment of binding - not of impact. If they bind and one of them is over the ball, then the ruck formed and play on! If this was a "clear out" with no attempt to bind, then I would tend to your position - but I would be framing my answer around the binding and not the intent...

didds
26-03-07, 16:03
Hmmm... I think this is one of those ambiguosities. Technically you are correct I suspect... but then i woud counter that the initial hit of most rucks is thus playing a man without the ball - or at best a man whose hands are ON the ball but who has NOT lifted it (ie isn not a ball CARRIER).

Personally I feel that if both players were quite literally in the ball's immediate vicinity then you should take the "ruck" route. Otherwise I fear you start to enter the realms of infinetely small areas of timing (however you then decide when to permit rucking and not) which are IMO impossible for players to be able to realitically read.

didds

Dixie
26-03-07, 16:03
A tough one, as it can look wrong. The Law defines a ruck as existing when two opponents, on their feet, are in contact over the ball. By definition, they are playing each other without the ball. It doesn't say that they have to get into contact gently -and indeed the act of "clearing out" at a ruck is not gentle. It involves bashing into someone hard, using all one's momentum to unbalance them and send them flying.

We all see this week in and week out, and are comfortable with it, providing the rucker doesn't come in from the side. By your question, you are effectively asking whether the same rule applies when there is no pre-existing ruck.

As I see it, the answer has to be yes - but this leads me into difficult and dangerous waters. When the ball is on the deck and able to be played, I am entitled to engage in physical contact with a single player in its immediate vicinity - see for confirmation the picture in the law book (attached image)

The only question now is whether this can happen with speed and violence. That is the nature of our game - I suggest it can. The reason I say this gets me into deep water is that it often looks wrong in practice, and indeed there are situations in which no-one would think of allowing it. One such is where attacking Red 14 is leading Blue 11 in a chase for a bouncing ball heading for the line, but likely to stop 3m short. As Red 14 slows to stoop for the ball, Blue 11 binds on and drives him over the ball. This unbalances Red 14 who falls to the ground, and looks at you with his arms in the air waiting for the PT and the YC. Who would not give both - and who would have any sympathy for the argument that Blue 11 was legitimately rucking Red 14?

PaulDG
26-03-07, 17:03
Ball rolls out of ruck (backwards) and is out about 3 feet. I consider the ball to be in play.

Blue 15 approaches the ball from behind and bends to pick it up. Before he can touch the ball but while he is bending to pick it up he is 'cleared' by red (I was 5 ft from the action). I call a penalty for 10.4e - playing the player without the ball. There were some protests by Red 10, a referee in his own right who I shut up quickly and play continued per my instruction - penalty blue.

Comments?


Obviously you were the one there on the day so it was your call but I'd have to say I can't see a Penalty here.

IMHO, by "clearing" Blue 15, Red has formed another perfectly legitimate ruck.

Play on.

OB..
26-03-07, 17:03
Law 16 requires "contact" but not "binding". Technically therefore, a ruck exists when there is contact over the ball.

Why mere contact? Probably because that covers the situation where both players are going for the ball.

I think we need a distinction along the lines of that between a tackle and forming a maul at a lineout. If the player grabs the opponent and tries to drive him back - ruck, play on.

However if he goes in in such a way that it would constitute an illegal no-arm tackle if the opponent had the ball - penalty.

I think we have made a rod for our own backs with leniency over "clearing out". IMHO most such actions are illegal and should be dealt with accordingly.
Law 10.4 (f) Except in a scrum, ruck or maul, a player must not hold, or push, or charge into, or obstruct an opponent not carrying the ball.

SimonSmith
26-03-07, 18:03
I would argue that "close around" the ball implies some kind of binding.
It's clear from the rest of the ruck laws that should charges are precluded.

I have NO issue at all with sudden violent impact, but believe that there are ways that that can be managed safely

OB..
26-03-07, 19:03
I would argue that "close around" the ball implies some kind of binding.
I think not. If two players both go for the ball when it is on the ground, and come into contact, they form a ruck. As I suggested, that is probably why the law does not specify binding, whereas the maul law does.

OB..
26-03-07, 19:03
I have NO issue at all with sudden violent impact, but believe that there are ways that that can be managed safely
It all depends on the sudden violent impact. A tackle that does not involve the arms is specifically made illegal. Are you saying that the same action becomes legal if the player is trying to drive another player away from the ball?

If it is illegal to do it to a ball-carrier, surely a fortiori it is illegal against a non-ball-carrier?

SimonSmith
26-03-07, 19:03
Call me confused.

"A tackle that does not involve the arms is specifically made illegal. Are you saying that the same action becomes legal if the player is trying to drive another player away from the ball?"

I'm not directly, but that seems to be the tenor of the conversation.
10.4.f excepts rucks from the strictures of how an opponent may engage another player. The implication would seem to be that a player may hold, or push, or charge into an opponent assuming compliance with the rest of the ruck laws.

I disagree with your a fortiori premise, sorry. 10.1.a - shoulder to shoulder charging - surely sets a precedent for exceptions to it. There was in fact an article about the mini ruck written by Don Morrison some months ago in "Rugby" magazine which I think also backs that up - I'll see if I can find it.

OB..
26-03-07, 19:03
I see "shoulder to shoulder" in a quite different light from a Butch James tackle. It is a specific exception of limited application:
10.1 (a) When a player and an opponent are running for the ball, either player must not charge or push the other except shoulder-to-shoulder.

SimonSmith
26-03-07, 20:03
I was being a little pedantic - merely seeking to point out that just because (a), it does not necessarily mean (b).

How do you think a ruck may be formed?

Gareth-Lee Smith
26-03-07, 20:03
I'm rather confused as to my own position here, but at a tangent I'll say that I'm glad you quietened the player-referee: his badge means nothing on the field of play when he hasn't got a whistle in his hand, and I hope he didn't try and use this in his case.

It really is a tough one. Could do with an IRB ruling on it to be honest.

Dixie
26-03-07, 21:03
Could do with an IRB ruling on it to be honest.

I am afraid that many such rulings are not worth their salt. Ruling 7 of 2005 is a case in point (http://tinyurl.com/w2h94), where the Designated Members demonstrate their ignorance of the fact that the offside line for a Scrum Half at a scrum is at the line of the ball.

OB..
26-03-07, 21:03
How do you think a ruck may be formed?The significant one in this context is the one I already adduced: two players go for the ball. They come into contact over the ball. Ruck formed. Both have to let go of the ball.

OB..
26-03-07, 22:03
I am afraid that many such rulings are not worth their salt. Ruling 7 of 2005 is a case in point (http://tinyurl.com/w2h94), where the Designated Members demonstrate their ignorance of the fact that the offside line for a Scrum Half at a scrum is at the line of the ball.
A trifle harsh? If you make a subtle mistake, does that mean many of your decisions are worthless? Moreover there is nothing wrong with the actual ruling. It is just part of the explanation you object to.

And even there I see a subtlety. Law 20.12 (d) The scrum-half whose team does not win possession of the ball must not move to the opposite side of the scrum and overstep the off-side line running through the hindmost foot of that playerís team in the scrum.

With the removal of the Definition box (containing: If the hindmost foot of a team is on or behind that teamís goal-line, the off-side line is the goal-line.) the point needed clarifying.

No, it wasn't well written. Nodoby's prefect.

SimonSmith
26-03-07, 23:03
The significant one in this context is the one I already adduced: two players go for the ball. They come into contact over the ball. Ruck formed. Both have to let go of the ball.

I think then that the only thing up for debate is the manner of how they come into contact, no?

OB..
26-03-07, 23:03
... and then we are back to the allowable degree of violence.

FlipFlop
27-03-07, 15:03
And as always we come back to how the ref on the field sees the incident.

If both players are going for the ball - ruck formed, play on.
If one player has no intent of going for the ball, and is instead playing the opposition player, penalty for playing the player without the ball.

Why this difference? - definition of the ruck involves two players contesting for the ball. And in one they are, and in the other they aren't.

How to spot this difference - well that's up to you on the day, and the incident in question. Normally a tackle is executed in a vastly different way to someone rucking/competing for the ball.

Robert Burns
27-03-07, 15:03
Law 10.4 (f) Except in a scrum, ruck or maul, a player must not hold, or push, or charge into, or obstruct an opponent not carrying the ball.

I would say that this law prooves you were correct with your penalty.

The players were not in a ruck and therefor the players cannot go for the player until he has the ball. Once the ruck is formed then the binding on to the player is allowed as the ball is on the floor.

The law above does not include forming the ruck, only when players are in a ruck.

SimonSmith
27-03-07, 16:03
Robert - I don't understand your posting.

Are you saying that a player can't engage another player unless the second one is going for the ball?

Dixie
27-03-07, 16:03
If you make a subtle mistake, does that mean many of your decisions are worthless?
Of course not, OB. But this is the body charged with the responsibility of clearing up nuances of Law for International bodies. If this was one of 50 decisions made in a week, the error would have been more understandable - pressure of time, and a lack of adequate resources. But with only seven to make in the course of a year, it seems unforgivable.

As an assessor, would you really take the charitable view that the ref (at, say, Level 9) who applied the wrong SH offside line throughout a game was guilty only of a subtle mistake? There are many parents even at continuum level, let alone International level, who not only would disagree, but actually do so week in week out.

But as Didds points out in another thread, an official displaying such crass and basic lack of knowledge of the Laws does not inspire confidence. Among the limited number of Rulings, there are several that inspire distrust. The percentage is unacceptably high.

Robert Burns
27-03-07, 17:03
Robert - I don't understand your posting.

Are you saying that a player can't engage another player unless the second one is going for the ball?
Nope, I'm saying that until the ruck is formed ALL players must play for the ball. Once two players are competeing for the ball (which is on the ground) you then have a ruck.

Players cannot form a ruck by targeting another player before he plays the ball.

Same way if a player is waiting to catch a ball, he cannot be tackled until he has the ball, otherwise we just have american football.

Dixie
27-03-07, 17:03
Players cannot form a ruck by targeting another player before he plays the ball. That seems to contradict the photo used in the LoTG to help define a ruck, and which is reproduced earlier in the thread. It also strays a long way from the definition of a ruck espoused in the LoTG. This devolved authority in Scotland seems to be getting out of hand :D ;)

Davet
27-03-07, 17:03
Nope, I'm saying that until the ruck is formed ALL players must play for the ball. Once two players are competeing for the ball (which is on the ground) you then have a ruck.



Two players, arriving from opposite sides of the ball, both want possession of it. Each knows that if he bends to take it he will be easily tackled. Each knows that if he goes to ground to grab it then he will have to give up possession to the player on his feet a split second later.

So the two players are each intent on closing around the ball to form a ruck then are they both in the wrong, or both in the right?

I suspect the easy answer is that both are OK they form a ruck.

If only one decides that a ruck is the sensible option? As they both reach where the ball is laying Player A puts one foot over the ball, seizes hold of player B as he arrives, and tries to drive him away.

Have they then formed a ruck? Or will you penalise Player A for playing the man without the ball.

OB..
27-03-07, 19:03
Wood for trees?

If you have a ruck (as defined), and you did not see either player do anything illegal to get into that position, no problem.

Illegal things would bascically be dangerous actions, for example, driving in with the elbow to stop the opponent picking up the ball. Driving in by binding on would be acceptable, even though binding is not a requirement in law.

Splitting the actions down into milliseconds is not practical.

beckett50
27-03-07, 21:03
Question....

Did the Red player attempt to bind onto Blue or to tackle him?

If the former, then Ruck

If the latter, tackling the player without the ball and so your call of PK to Blue is spot on.:cool:

Dixie
27-03-07, 21:03
Question....

Did the Red player attempt to bind onto Blue or to tackle him? If the former, then Ruck; if the latter, tackling the player without the ball and so your call of PK to Blue is spot on.:cool:

Not sure I can always tell the difference. Samoan tackle targets the ribcage. Big hit with the shoulder, arms wrap around body, probably milliseconds later. A conventional tackle at thigh level has the same marginal delay between the hit and the wrap. So, I suspect, does the "clear out" technique at a ruck, which I normally consider a binding action. I really don't rate my chances of distinguishing between them enough to be consistent in a game.

Robert Burns
28-03-07, 08:03
Have you ever seen that LoTG picture on a pitch?

So tear that up and throw it away, all it does is define the minimum requirements of how an ideal ruck looks.

If you have two players who set up a ruck at the same time as each other as shown in DaveT's post, I have no problem with this.

I do have a problem with a player coming hurtling in as another player 'attempts' to play the ball, it is very dangerous as the other player will probably be bend in two in the subsequent tackle.

As OB.. says, it's not minute timings or transgressions it needs to be common sense.

If both bind on and try to play the ball with their feet, ruck, play on.
If both bind on and try to push each other off the ball, ruck play on.
If one player tries to play the ball and opposition tackles him at speed before he gets the ball, penalty, playing player without the ball.
If one player tries to play the ball and an opposition comes up and binds on and then drives him back (or tries to) ruck (or maul if first player got ball) and play on.

To me it's the safety rule. And to me the original scenario in this thread (anyone remember it? ;) ) is dangerous.

Dixie
28-03-07, 10:03
Have you ever seen that LoTG picture on a pitch? So tear that up and throw it away.
Won't. :p Your previous thread asserted that the ruck starts with two players trying to play the ball. There is nothing on the LoTG to support that contention, and the accompanying photo actually refutes it. Your word against the lawmakers - a tough call, obviously, but for me the authorities just shade it.


I do have a problem with a player coming hurtling in as another player 'attempts' to play the ball, it is very dangerous as the other player will probably be bend in two in the subsequent tackle.
As this is a safety issue, I hope that you would also penalise a defender who attempts to tackle an attacker just before he grounds the ball for a try, as the body positions will be identical. Restart with a PK on halfway for the dangerous play.


If one player tries to play the ball and an opposition comes up and binds on and then drives him back (or tries to) ruck (or maul if first player got ball) and play on.
I really struggle to see the difference between this and the issue above. Is it just the vigour with which the rucker engages his opponent? If so, that's a recipe for inconsistent refereeing, leading to potential flashpoints. Are you saying that a player cannot form a ruck with momentum?

Seriously, Rob, there's been a lot of discussion in another post about guards at the tackle. You're the first man to the tackle from your team, arriving belatedly. The oppo has posted two guards above the ball, neither seeking to play it, just to prevent you from doing so. Are you really not allowed to hit them as hard as you like to clear them out, thereby forming the ruck? If not, just how gently are you forced to engage?

Robert Burns
28-03-07, 11:03
Won't. :p Your previous thread asserted that the ruck starts with two players trying to play the ball. There is nothing on the LoTG to support that contention, and the accompanying photo actually refutes it. Your word against the lawmakers - a tough call, obviously, but for me the authorities just shade it.


As this is a safety issue, I hope that you would also penalise a defender who attempts to tackle an attacker just before he grounds the ball for a try, as the body positions will be identical. Restart with a PK on halfway for the dangerous play.


I really struggle to see the difference between this and the issue above. Is it just the vigour with which the rucker engages his opponent? If so, that's a recipe for inconsistent refereeing, leading to potential flashpoints. Are you saying that a player cannot form a ruck with momentum?

Seriously, Rob, there's been a lot of discussion in another post about guards at the tackle. You're the first man to the tackle from your team, arriving belatedly. The oppo has posted two guards above the ball, neither seeking to play it, just to prevent you from doing so. Are you really not allowed to hit them as hard as you like to clear them out, thereby forming the ruck? If not, just how gently are you forced to engage?
With regard to your 1:
We are all the sole judge of fact on law on our own pitches :p

With regard to your 2:
In the scenario you mention the player has the ball and is therefore allowed to be tackled and will probably expect it. This is legal. My scenario the player does not have the ball and until he does IMO he cannot be tackled/pushed/charged.

With regard to your 3:
Big difference, again IMO. take for example this scenario, ball has stopped 1m before the tryline, attacker and fullback running for it. Attacker gets there first (running parralel to the touch line) and goes to pick the ball, a split second later the full back gets there (running from in-goal, parralel to the touch in goal line) and tackles the attacker before he has had a chance to touch the ball. Are you saying the full back created a ruck or are you going to give the penalty try for a tackle off the ball? I would give the PT everyday, and if you would then you should be awarding a penalty for the same offence described in the first post.

The difference between binding in order to then shove someone off the ball and taking someone out is very clear, again IMO.

Take if you will, attacker and defender struggling to with the ball on their feet, a team mate of the attacker comes flying into the struggle, binds but knocks them both flying to the ground. Are you going to say this player was legally forming the maul, or guilty of dangerous play? IMO Guilty.

To back this up in law may I quote Law 10.4(i)


Law 10.4(i)
Dangerous play in a scrum, ruck or maul.
Players must not charge into a ruck or maul without binding onto a player in the ruck or maul.


As the player going for the ball is not in a ruck, the joining player cannot be said to be binding onto a player in a ruck, therefore, he must be tackling a player without the ball. I request a penalty M'lud!

OB..
28-03-07, 12:03
As this is a safety issue, ...
[...] Are you really not allowed to hit them as hard as you like to clear them out, thereby forming the ruck?
Since you agree it is a safety issue, it is for the referee to decide if the hit is dangerous.

We have all seen tackles that hurt (Lewsey on Rogers, for example) but are deemed legal. We have also seen tackles that are deemed dangerous (Butch James on almost anyone {I exaggerate} ).

didds
28-03-07, 12:03
" I hope that you would also penalise a defender who attempts to tackle an attacker just before he grounds the ball for a try, as the body positions will be identical. Restart with a PK on halfway for the dangerous play."

PK on the 5m innit? Or goal line?

didds

Dixie
28-03-07, 12:03
With regard to your 3:
Big difference, again IMO. take for example this scenario, ball has stopped 1m before the tryline, attacker and fullback running for it. Attacker gets there first (running parralel to the touch line) and goes to pick the ball, a split second later the full back gets there (running from in-goal, parralel to the touch in goal line) and tackles the attacker before he has had a chance to touch the ball. Are you saying the full back created a ruck or are you going to give the penalty try for a tackle off the ball? I would give the PT everyday, and if you would then you should be awarding a penalty for the same offence described in the first post.

Rob - a bit sneaky to use my own scenario against me, expecially when I had accepted that it was a problem? See post #4 in this thread.


Take if you will, attacker and defender struggling to [do something unspecified] with the ball on their feet, a team mate of the attacker comes flying into the struggle, binds but knocks them both flying to the ground. Are you going to say this player was legally forming the maul, or guilty of dangerous play? IMO Guilty.
Difficult to comment without knowing what the red "something" was. However, as the ball is at their feet, and they are engaged in a struggle, it's not a maul, but equally not impossible that a ruck already exists. Even it it had become a maul with a player getting the ball off the ground, I think the next attacker is perfectly entitled to come flying in (as long as he's taking off and not landing), and if he knocks over the existing ruckers/maulers, then that is what happens with impugnity in 95% of premiership rucks/early mauls.

I realise of course that in general, quoting premiership norms actually argues against legality in terms of the LoTG. In this case, however, I think the provision you quote is similar to the one outlawing a shoulder charge in a tackle. It is not legal to barge into a ruck or maul with your shoulder as a weapon, but it is legal to do so at the same pace, but wrapping at least one arm around existing ruckers as a bind.

Robert Burns
28-03-07, 12:03
I'll rewrite my last example as I ballsed it up and mixed up ruck and maul:

Take if you will, attacker and defender struggling with the ball in their hands, a team mate of the attacker comes flying into the struggle, binds but knocks them both flying to the ground. Are you going to say this player was legally forming the maul, or guilty of dangerous play? IMO Guilty.

Robert Burns
28-03-07, 13:03
but wrapping at least one arm around existing ruckers as a bind.

Ah ha!!

This is my point, in the scenario we are debating there is no existing rucker, therefor the defender charging into the attacker that is trying to play the ball is foul of Law 10.4(i) as stated in my previous post.

Robert Burns
28-03-07, 13:03
" I hope that you would also penalise a defender who attempts to tackle an attacker just before he grounds the ball for a try, as the body positions will be identical. Restart with a PK on halfway for the dangerous play."

PK on the 5m innit? Or goal line?

didds
No, if it was an illiegal tackle by the defender it would be a penalty try and a normal restart, if the try had been scored before the illiegal play then the penalty would be on halfway instead of the restart.

Interesting though, if you have a penalty as a restart can the defenders call a mark if they catch it in their 22? They can with a penalty, but can't at a restart, so can they or can't they? If we want to debate this someone make it a new thread, don't reply to it here, lol.

didds
28-03-07, 15:03
gotcha robert... i ogt the defender asnd attacker mixed up :-)

didds

Davet
28-03-07, 15:03
If a player cannot grasp another player who is not in possession of the ball, how does a ruck, any ruck, form in the first place?

Please don't suggest as a result of the ball carrier in a maul going to ground....pretty please.

OB..
28-03-07, 17:03
Who said you couldn't grasp in the appropriate situation? "In contact" surely includes grasping?

As far as I am concerned the argument is simply whether or not the action is dangerous. Grasping is unlikely to be; charging may well be.

Davet
29-03-07, 00:03
I would agree with that - reckless charging into an opponent is dangerous, closing with him - albeit in a very physical way - by seizing hold and driving so as to contest for the ball on the ground is (probably) forming a ruck.

Robert Burns
29-03-07, 13:03
I would agree with that - reckless charging into an opponent is dangerous, closing with him - albeit in a very physical way - by seizing hold and driving so as to contest for the ball on the ground is (probably) forming a ruck.
That's exactly the point I am making M'lud!

He may when charging in be fulfilling the definitions required to create a maul, however, he is playing dangerous and is foul of 10.4(i)

Davet
29-03-07, 14:03
definitions required to create a maul, however

Robert - you are clearly qualified to rewrite the Laws. As is traditional we know what is meant; though what is written is not that. :-)