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Bryan
08-09-05, 18:09
Our IRB Regional director, Tom Jones, sent us a report from the Regional Dev. Mgr. in Oceania, Lee Smith. I can't find the report online yet, though it should be up in the next couple of days. Either way, there was a section relevant to the modern game on questions to take note of, so I've posted them here. Most do not have a straight answer, but those questions are normally the most interesting in my opinion:

Practical Issues to Think About
∑ To provide space for the attack, is it legitimate for the pile-up with players unbound and on the ground, to be called a ruck?
∑ Is the ball out of a ruck or maul when it sees daylight or when it is in #9ís hands?
∑ Are the shoulders really above the hips and the players bound to each other at the ruck?
∑ Is the use of the maul and its effectiveness enough to justify that it is obstruction and the only part of the game where you canít tackle the ball carrier?
∑ Does the use it or lose it law stifle the use of the maul aggravating the situation in which the defensive line-out numbers the defensive line? The number of mauls in most games would suggest this.
∑ To allow for the legitimate defence at the maul should the ball be in the front line so that it can be contested?
∑ If the tackled ball carrier had to release the ball on completion of the tackle would the ball be made available earlier, creating less confusion?
∑ If a ball carrier does not anticipate an escape route for the ball should the player bear the consequences of a turnover to a greater degree?
∑ Should a decoy be in a position to catch a pass, if not then is this player just an obstruction?
∑ Is the impact area following the tackle too unsafe for the players bending to pick up the ball?

I'm not trying to start debate. I just thought it was interesting...
-Bryan

Mike Whittaker
08-09-05, 23:09
∑ To provide space for the attack, is it legitimate for the pile-up with players unbound and on the ground, to be called a ruck?

-Bryan

Starting at the beginning Bryan...

I don't really care what they call the pile of bodies... If they are on the ground then they are out of the game and should be penalised for doing anything other than role away. That would create a bit of space! :)

didds
08-09-05, 23:09
interesting stuff...



∑ To allow for the legitimate defence at the maul should the ball be in the front line so that it can be contested?
-Bryan


but then... how do you get the ball out to the back of the maul to release it if it HAS to stay at effectively in the middle of the ruck?

aha!

didds

Deeps
09-09-05, 01:09
I detect a certain naivety or lack of experience in the questions. This is fundamental referee management stuff performed on a daily basis that should not really require intensive diving into the weeds activity. If it looks OK then it probably is OK, if not then observe/analyze first time around, second time manage or stop it with the whistle.

OB..
09-09-05, 01:09
I'm not trying to start debate.You really believe you can post those thoughts and NOT start a debate?! Not while I'm around.

To provide space for the attack, is it legitimate for the pile-up with players unbound and on the ground, to be called a ruck?
I have long argued that the laws need to define the pile-up as a phase of play. It can occur legitimately, and even if the payers are merely told they are expected to roll away, that will take time. Players need to know what is legal while that is happening.
At present the practical option is to call it a ruck or tackle as seems most appropriate.

Is the ball out of a ruck or maul when it sees daylight or when it is in #9ís hands?
Daylight is an unsatisfactory criterion. It can be firmly in front of a player's feet, yet see daylight.
If the #9 has pulled the ball clear, it is out, but if he is struggling to pull it out, then it is not out (tautology?). If the ball comes out far enough to be beyond the "rubber band" line (a mythical line demarcated by a rubber band round the outermost feet of the players in the ruck) it is out. Rules of thumb.

Are the shoulders really above the hips and the players bound to each other at the ruck?
Rarely all of them. Check stability. If the formation is unstable, blow for safety reasons.

Is the use of the maul and its effectiveness enough to justify that it is obstruction and the only part of the game where you canít tackle the ball carrier?
I don't see how you can avoid having mauls: if a ball carrier gets held up with the ball on the "wrong" side, what are his team-mates supposed to do?
We therefore must have laws to regulate mauls.

Does the use it or lose it law stifle the use of the maul aggravating the situation in which the defensive line out-numbers the defensive line? The number of mauls in most games would suggest this.
I don't think I understand what he is getting at here.

To allow for the legitimate defence at the maul should the ball be in the front line so that it can be contested?
I agree with didds that this is impractical.

If the tackled ball carrier had to release the ball on completion of the tackle would the ball be made available earlier, creating less confusion?
No. It is currently one requirement and it is very rarely the case that the ball is held because the tackled player is trying to exercise one of his other options. It improves the game that a player can off-load in a one-on-one tackle.

If a ball carrier does not anticipate an escape route for the ball should the player bear the consequences of a turnover to a greater degree?
Do you really want referees to judge what a player should anticipate?

Should a decoy be in a position to catch a pass, if not then is this player just an obstruction?
No. He might be merely pointless.

Is the impact area following the tackle too unsafe for the players bending to pick up the ball?
What do the injury statistics say? I am not aware that it is especially dangerous.

(Now, where is that Aunt Sally emoticon?!)

Bryan
09-09-05, 03:09
Can you please stop replying to these things as if it was ME that is saying them. This is getting to be a case of shooting the messenger. Yes, I POSTED them, but they are not necessarily my own opinion, I just thought it was an interesting article.

I think I need a disclaimer: The text appearing in my replies does not actually reflect the opinions of Bryan Co. All remarks or opinions are those that Bryan Co. feels may benefit other users of the forum and are reserved entirely for the sole purpose of wasting the time of others in a constuctive fashion.

I didn't expect this much response to be honest. I thought it was just interesting food for thought. Once the actual document is posted I'll link it in this forum. There is also an interesting discussion about the scrum put in. Yes, I know we can talk about that until we're blue in the face, but the writer raises some interesting arguments.

-Bryan

Mike Whittaker
09-09-05, 09:09
Can you please stop replying to these things as if it was ME that is saying them. This is getting to be a case of shooting the messenger. Yes, I POSTED them, but they are not necessarily my own opinion, I just thought it was an interesting article.

I think I need a disclaimer: The text appearing in my replies does not actually reflect the opinions of Bryan Co. All remarks or opinions are those that Bryan Co. feels may benefit other users of the forum and are reserved entirely for the sole purpose of wasting the time of others in a constuctive fashion.

I didn't expect this much response to be honest. I thought it was just interesting food for thought. Once the actual document is posted I'll link it in this forum. There is also an interesting discussion about the scrum put in. Yes, I know we can talk about that until we're blue in the face, but the writer raises some interesting arguments.

-Bryan


Come on Bryan... the oldest trick in the book. You put your own ideas forward as being somebody else's and then claim the plaudits while ducking the brickbats... (or is it the other way round ...?) ;)

Personally I only bothered to read the first as I am a lazy sod who just says, "Use common sense..." to everything!

However congratulations on luring at least one person into a line by line critique...

PS .. the maul could be tidied up and indeed eliminated if they made driving it forward a penalisable offence... :D

Account Deleted
09-09-05, 11:09
Tha maul?

Just have a 5 second "use it or lose" it on every maul. No boring "driving" or "rolling" mauls.

SimonSmith
09-09-05, 13:09
Come on Bryan... the oldest trick in the book. You put your own ideas forward as being somebody else's and then claim the plaudits while ducking the brickbats... (or is it the other way round ...?) ;)

In fairness to Bryan, I got the same document - it came from the NAWIRA IRB newsletter, and the questions were posed by Lee Smith, the New Zealander who used to be in charge of refs I think

Bryan
09-09-05, 14:09
In fairness to Bryan, I got the same document - it came from the NAWIRA IRB newsletter, and the questions were posed by Lee Smith, the New Zealander who used to be in charge of refs I think
Which is EXACTLY what I wrote at the top of the first post. AHA! I have a witness! Albeit a backroad Scot in Virginia (or was it a Scot in backward Virginia?), but a witness nonetheless. The defence rests, m'lud. Or in the US version: "If the glove don't fit, you must aquit!"

Anyways, back to the current thread. Simon Smith, what did you make of the talk regarding the scrums? Do you agree with the chicken and egg theory?

No boring "driving" or "rolling" mauls.
As a referee or a spectator, the driving and rolling maul is one of the most entertaining things to watch IMHO. I suspect it has gain popularity as so few teams will do it these days, so when you see a team maul the ball 30m up the pitch it's very impressive. It's not flashy, but if there's one way to knock the sails out of the opposition it's to drive them up the pitch and watch as their forwards can't do anything to stop it. Of course, after driving it 30m and just as you're inside the defending 5m line, the scrum half rips the ball out, spins it out wide to the backs who invariably knock it on.

-Bryan

SimonSmith
09-09-05, 14:09
I'm an egg man myself. (And definitely a Scot in backward Virginia. Which in some places is a little bit like saying "cold Antarctica".)

Let me explain: the question is whether hookers would strike more often on opposition ball if they knew that the ball was going to be put in straight. It's similar to the question about not straight at an uncontested line out.

I think the best way round is at the pre match brief. Seriously. I'm thinking of amending it to adding that if you strike and it's not straight, you got your free kick; no strike, not material, no FK. Up to you. I used to play S/half, and the latitude that the current generation of no 9 get is beyond me.
I also - depending on the level and experience of the hookers - warn them that if they go foot up, and the s/half feeds, he's going to get away with it because the two FKs cancel each other out.

Deeps
09-09-05, 15:09
Good lateral thinking Simon however, if at the brief one of the a hookers states that they always go for an 8 man shove to disrupt on opposition put in then you will be effectively condoning the opposition scrum half putting the ball into the back row. It might be better encouragement to the front row to strike on opposition ball if one explains that every effort will be made to keep the scrum halves honest.

tim White
09-09-05, 15:09
A situation that should be phrased using words such as "tend to" and "probably" rather than "always".

Remember unwritten law - never,ever take the mickey out of the Laws, me, or my iterpretation of the laws, that would be VERY short-term thinking on your part.

Davet
09-09-05, 15:09
Simon - perhap the 9 would say that he had to feed because you let the opposition hooker have his foot up, or the hooker claim that there is no point in him striking...his legs aren't long enough to reach their second row!

The older I get the more I realise what good sense all the old farts have been saying for so long. Set out your stall early, ping the first offence first and be picky on things like foot-up, feeding, engaging when YOU say so, the gap at the line-out, and any pile ups get blown - unplayable - at the start of the of the game. Keep advantage short and to the point to begin with. With a modicum of luck you won't have to stay picky after the first 15...and the game can flow as players respond.

Now there will be games when the plan goes agley.... but that's the naure of planning.

Mat 04
09-09-05, 15:09
The older I get the more I realise what good sense all the old farts have been saying for so long. Set out your stall early, ping the first offence first and be picky on things like foot-up, feeding, engaging when YOU say so, the gap at the line-out, and any pile ups get blown - unplayable - at the start of the of the game. Keep advantage short and to the point to begin with. With a modicum of luck you won't have to stay picky after the first 15...and the game can flow as players respond.


Excellent advice, this is what I always try to remember to do when I start a match. It definately helps to stop players "playing up".

didds
09-09-05, 17:09
wadr this view of whether or not to award a FK is NOT sanctioned in the laws and fits I feel in the "1 off where did that come from" category of interpretations.

the laws do not require the opposition to have struck to be awarded the FK, and there are various reasons why a team might prefer not to strike on oppo ball whatever, especially the further down the abilities scale one goes. This interpretatioon merely sets up to penalise the non-offending team rather than the offending team.

OB and I had a very interesting debate (well, we thought so I am sure!) recently on exactly this subject - either here or in the rfu forum.

didds

didds
09-09-05, 17:09
It might be better encouragement to the front row to strike on opposition ball if one explains that every effort will be made to keep the scrum halves honest.


But that still ignores the possibility that some teams prefer to use an 8 man shove.

Or the 4th XV "hooker" is in fact a back rower with no flexibility that is playing there to ensure the other 29 players (and the ref!) get a game, and he has no chance of ever actually striking for it anyway.

didds

Mike Whittaker
09-09-05, 19:09
Remember a lowly game in which well into the game where every scrum had gone smootly with the head, the tight head of the non putting in side said in a loud voice, "Can we have it straight this time ref?" "Sure" I said. "Right down middle or I penalise.." 5 front row forwards glared ominously...

The next half a dozen scrums were a complete mess!!

"Back to normal? " I then asked.... 5 front row forwards smiled and 1 kept his mouth shut... Thereafter peace returned.

Commonsense folks....

OB..
09-09-05, 20:09
Can you please stop replying to these things as if it was ME that is saying them.The remark about not trying to start a debate was yours, I believe. I made what was intended to be a whimsical reply to that.

Then I concentrated on the points that had been raised, without at any stage suggesting they were your ideas - indeed at one stage I wrote "I don't think I understand what he is getting at here", which was obviously not a reference to you. It did not matter whose ideas they were. If they are interesting, then surely they are worth discussing. There was nothing personal about it.

Bryan
09-09-05, 20:09
This was a case of sarcasm replying to sarcasm, and it got lost in translation. *sigh*. I'll try not to quit my day job. Try the veal, I'm here all week!

Mike, you imply that YOU were refereeing. You also mention there were 6 FR forwards (therefore 3 per team), so this must be recent? As an assessor, do you still pick up the whistle every once in a while?

-Bryan

Simon Griffiths
09-09-05, 21:09
Tha maul?

Just have a 5 second "use it or lose" it on every maul. No boring "driving" or "rolling" mauls.

You would be a hunted man in Gloucestershire if you had your way! :eek:

Personally I feel their is nothing more enjoyable than standing in the Shed at Kingsholm and watching a Gloucester pack roll a maul down the pitch. The energy it creates is imense. I know it's not the same without a huge crowd of loud supporters, but the art of mauling is one of the hardest to master (much harder than a switch). It is the essence of what rugby has come to symbolise: competition, power and determination (to name but three elements) and with demise of the scrum, it is the forwards only true full on confrontation (read: competition).

And all of that said, I'm a back!

Mike Whittaker
09-09-05, 23:09
Mike, you imply that YOU were refereeing. You also mention there were 6 FR forwards (therefore 3 per team), so this must be recent? As an assessor, do you still pick up the whistle every once in a while?

-Bryan

Indeed Bryan, notwithstanding my great age (which incidentally is not such that I can remember more than 3 front row forwards per side) I last year refereed junior matches, up to U16, on a regular basis on Sunday mornings...

Unfortunately no assessor came to watch me and my own reporting was not considered good enough for me to maintain my grading - I was bloody brilliant!!

Seriously I think that if a few more assessors were able to pick up a whistle they might start to understand more about what is going on out there on the pitch these days... Or so the refs I assess tell me at debriefing sessions.

AndyKidd
10-09-05, 08:09
I was bloody brilliant!!


Mike ....... If I remember rightly you refereed the game Between Eastleigh U14's and Basingstoke Under14's at Bas ....... easy to jog your memory ..... The Eastleigh coach (me) had forgotten to pick up the shirts.

Just to say ..... I thought you did ok also

Mike Whittaker
10-09-05, 09:09
....... easy to jog your memory ..... The Eastleigh coach (me) had forgotten to pick up the shirts.


Andy, how could I forget!!.... :D We have some good fun games with the lads. The biggest improvement in recent years has been the extent to which coaches and refs have worked together to develop both playing and attitude with the youngsters..

Hope to see you again this season... if I am called upon (but I am trying to encourage some of the active refs to do a bit more on Sundays to support their learning curve for the big stuff on Saturdays)

Account Deleted
10-09-05, 12:09
As a referee or a spectator, the driving and rolling maul is one of the most entertaining things to watch IMHO. I suspect it has gain popularity as so few teams will do it these days, so when you see a team maul the ball 30m up the pitch it's very impressive. It's not flashy, but if there's one way to knock the sails out of the opposition it's to drive them up the pitch and watch as their forwards can't do anything to stop it. Of course, after driving it 30m and just as you're inside the defending 5m line, the scrum half rips the ball out, spins it out wide to the backs who invariably knock it on.

-Bryan

I can't agree. I've met few spectators who enjoy the "excitement" of watching a ball of jelly waddle 30 yards up the paddock. NOR refs!
Almost impossible to stop legaly and inviting lots of foul play.

I accept the document is valid. Which leads me to worry when a senior official can write such drivel as: "...Does the use of the use it or lose it law stiffle the use of the maul aggravating the situation in which the defensive line-out numbers the defensive line? The number of mauls in most games would suggest this..." Makes no sense at all. It could have been written by a Civil Servant!

Account Deleted
10-09-05, 12:09
It is the essence of what rugby has come to symbolise: competition, (read: competition).


Once the ball has been laid back from the initial formation (ball-carrier, team-mate and opposition player and yous blocking the new ball carriers and the maul is waddling up the field, where is the competition for the ball? There is NONE and any attempt at some is rebutted by most referees by sending the player "back on your own side" even when he is legally bound.

I was a prop!

Deeps
10-09-05, 12:09
I am trying to encourage some of the active refs to do a bit more on Sundays to support their learning curve for the big stuff on Saturdays

Mike, You would be most welcome to come and advise myself and my 15 year old son Gareth tomorrow as we take on the might of Hampshire's women at Sparsholt College tomorrow, assuming I survive the IOW today.

Mike Whittaker
10-09-05, 12:09
Mike, You would be most welcome to come and advise myself and my 15 year old son Gareth tomorrow as we take on the might of Hampshire's women at Sparsholt College tomorrow, assuming I survive the IOW today.

Now you know I would love to attend... however...... Sunday is a time for an active ref like you to induldge in self analysis.. :rolleyes:

Think about what happened on Saturday (could be close), try out a few ideas, refresh the mind and body without critical eyes lurking on touchline..

Enjoy both!

Davet
10-09-05, 13:09
"can't agree. I've met few spectators who enjoy the "excitement" of watching a ball of jelly waddle 30 yards up the paddock. NOR refs!"

Welford Road loves it! As for the excitement it generates in the Shed when Tigers do it at Glaws....

The maul is a technical and skillful thing. To do it right is not easy. It can be effective when it is doen well and it is a great facet of play. But is is up to the ref to call it a day when it bogs down. It must move towards a goal line - not struggle sideways, it needs to move forwards. So one stop or straggle sideways means 5 seconds to get it going again - the second means turnover unless it comes out when the ref asks for it.

It is a good weapon, but if clumsily done it can bite you by giving the opposition winnable ball at a scrum- which is the essence of rugby - do basic things well and you will have a good game; do them poorly, with lack of technique and skill and you have a miserable game.

Simon Griffiths
10-09-05, 13:09
true full on confrontation (read: competition).

The main point I was making was a physical confrontation (I'm not sure why when it was quoted it said "competition (read: competition)").

Competition does not necessarily have to be for the ball. It is getting one over your opposite number. Seeing if your pack can shove the opposition back or angle them into touch etc.

As (and Davet) have alluded to their are at least two grounds holding over 13,000 spectators week-in-week-out that love nothing more than a rolling maul. You can literally hear the cheers as a Glaws pack gets one going on the other side of the city (and I'm sure it's similar at Welford Road). West Country rugby would be lost without the rolling maul - it is by far one of the most dynamic and powerful phases of play. By all means call it up if it becomes stagnated, but it would be an unpopular move to stop them automatically after 5 seconds (or any period), simply because they're 'boring' ( :confused: ). Look at the excitement when just before the World Cup England shoved Australia well over 50m back down the pitch with such dynamism and determination.

didds
10-09-05, 18:09
... and of courese the valkue of a rolling/driven mauil in keeping the defensive forwards grouped together instead of yet another RL spread defence.

didds

Account Deleted
10-09-05, 19:09
Or the 4th XV "hooker" is in fact a back rower with no flexibility that is playing there to ensure the other 29 players (and the ref!) get a game, and he has no chance of ever actually striking for it anyway.

didds
"Suitably trained and experienced" ;)

didds
10-09-05, 20:09
He's a a front roweer - there are no safety issues. Merely ones of flexibility.

If you are going to start calling halts to conbtested scrums because the hooer isn;t a hooker but a prop, and vice versa you will be reffing a LOT of games with uncontested scrums... or sgaring an afternoon in the bar with 30 players.

I would suggest its a better deal with 30 players polaying - with no SAFETY issues - then nobody playing because the laws - or an individual interpretation 0 say that the hooker has to be supple enough to strike against the head.

didds

Account Deleted
11-09-05, 22:09
He's a a front rower - there are no safety issues. {"...Or the 4th XV "hooker" is in fact a back rower..."}
didds

Which is he? a Front rower or a Back rower? Or a STE front row player who plays in the back row normally. Your original post does not make it clear!

Just for the sake of clarity.

No mention that he needs to be good enough to hook against the head or on his own tight head for that matter.

Account Deleted
11-09-05, 23:09
interesting stuff...




but then... how do you get the ball out to the back of the maul to release it if it HAS to stay at effectively in the middle of the ruck?

aha!

didds

I totally agree with you. If a side was pinged as soon as the ball carrier was not in the "formation" group of BC/Team mate/Min one from other side. It would be daft and almost every maul would result in a penalty. However, it is also partly why I dislike. Rolling and Driving mauls as they perpetuate the "obstruction" that is "allowed" in the development of the maul. I use the inverted commas as I know that as long as the players are properly bound they are not legally offside.

didds
12-09-05, 15:09
my post intended to impy (and failed ! :-) that he was anorm,ally a back rower that has sufficient training to play in the fornt row. That could mean at prop. The league and law requirements will have been met. But it doesn't mean he is a hooker in any way shape or form and as such may not have the suppleness/skills to strike against the head.

So - awarding FKs for not straight ONLY if the hooker has shown fit to strike against the head either

- penalises a side whose prefered tactical approach is to 8 man shove, or through injury etc and in the interests in keeping a game looking like a REAL game of rugby plays a non-hooker (but STE front rower) there
- makes a mockery of the game as the non-hooker flaps pointlessly and aimlessly at every (say) 8th scrum feed to provide "evidence" that he is striking.

Q: If the alleged feed occurs at the very first scrum of the match and the defending side choose to 8 man shove (on their 5 m line say?) who is to tell whether the non-feeding side are ever to strike against the head? Or is the intention to realistically remove a team's tactical options and make the game less cerabal than it is?

didds

Mike Whittaker
12-09-05, 23:09
Surely 'materiality' is not an excuse for failing to apply the law although it can be a justification for allowing play to continue....

A good ref knows the difference. It is called commonsense management.

Davet
13-09-05, 14:09
The arguement against the notion of allowing crooked feeds if the opposition doesn't contest, or not straight at the lineout if the opposition don't jump is a simple one - based on the clear principle that the game is designed to reward skill.

Feeding at the scrum, and throwing in not straight at the line involve considerably less risk fot the thrower than if he had to do it right. He can be less accurate and get away with it.

Imagine the thrower at the line out - if he is not a skillfull thrower then he stands a chance that the ball will veer off the straight and true - and may go to one side or the other. If the ref lets him throw it angled to his side then that makes it easier for him, and less risk that his throw will go to the other side.

Think of a quick line-out. Many refs seem to feel that its OK if the quick lin-out is not straight - after all the opposition are not in contention... so what's the problem? Well, if the thrower had to wait for his team-mate to get in line then that would give the opposition chance to close the gap - and make the receiver's life that much harder. If the ball is thrown in to a team-mate 5m behind the line-of-touch we could be giving the receiver 10metres or more of space to work in which he would not have had if the thrower had been forced to wait for him to get to the line of touch - since the opposition would also be moving to that line at a comparable pace.