View Full Version : Prop Replacements

Brian Ravenhill
02-03-06, 16:03
In a recent league game blues the home side replaced their tight head prop at half time. With 10 minutes to go their loose head prop is injured and has trouble walking, receives attention and carries on. At the next scrum he lies down and says to his captain ‘I can’t carry on’. He gets to his feet and hobbles over towards the touchline to be half way by the substituted prop now dressed in club blazer tie etc.
After a few heated words the injured prop turns and hobbles back towards the waiting scrum, I ask him if he is able to continue and he feels he is safe to do so. I asked the captain if there was another player suitable experienced and trained to play in the front row, the answer was no. I know the guy is experienced enough to make those decisions as he has been their captain in previous seasons. We continue the game the, scrums were safe and there were no further problems.

Ideally he would not have continued, he was injured and could have put the safety of the scrums at risk. The question is this, in a league game if he had not been able to continue what would have happened?

a) Abandon the match with blues forfeiting the game as they were not able on the first occasion of asking able to replace an injured front row forward.
b) Carry on the game with uncontested scrums. To a result.
c) Carry on the game with uncontested scrums. Write a lengthy report on the team sheets to highlight the problem.
d) Force another player in to the front row and pray.

Is there a protocol to follow?

02-03-06, 19:03
Not very good team spirit of the subbed prop to go and get changed before the end of the match, and poor management by coach and captain for failing to keep him ready to play. Not your fault at all.

Technically I think the obligation would be (a), but you could reasonably get away with (c) I think.

Key question, what was the score at this point in the match?

02-03-06, 19:03
The outcome of the match isn't your concern.

You follow the law, which would be to go to uncontested on safety grounds.
The League body would then apply whatever regulations they have in place at that time.

You just concern yourself with what happens on the pitch!

Mike Whittaker
02-03-06, 20:03
Absolutely right Simon... and I am sure that this is what a ref at Brian's level would do...

Interested to know if this was at level 5? (Hope not!) and if there was an assessor?

02-03-06, 21:03
[QUOTE=Is there a protocol to follow?[/QUOTE]

I am with Simon too, if you look through the IRB clarifications over the last 12 months you will find a query by the Irish RU with respect to a what if situation such as you describe Brian. The answer given is that it is not the referee's responsibility to engineer a suitable solution, it is the team's problem.

Simon Griffiths
02-03-06, 21:03
I too agree with Simon. (Simon says and all that...) As others have alluded to (and Deeps has backed up) we referee what's on the pitch - and in this situation, what's on the pitch calls for uncontested scrums - and then report to the league the situation (especially time and score when the 'incident' happened).

I also agree with thehookah regarding the player who decided to go and get changed! He knows (or at least his coach should) that there is a chance he will be required! Perhaps we could add option (e), force the substituted player to play in his blazer!?

Brian Ravenhill
03-03-06, 10:03
Simon, in order to use option e) his blazer would have to go of to the IRB for testing and obtaining approval. All metal buttons would have to be removed and the embroidered badge would probably not comply with the compressible material! And the shoulder pads too!

In all seriousness the game was at level 7, the score 13 to 40 against blue, time 72 minutes gone, final score 20 to 40. The be blazered player was the captains brother! The coach was player/coach and was by this time on as replacement.

Had I had to make a decision I would have done c) but where would you write the report as there is so little space on the team sheets, would you have to write it on both.

Simon Thomas
03-03-06, 13:03
Another Simon saying yes I agree with Simon and Simon.
It is all in the RFU ECC regs on FR replacements, which have been in place for a number of seasons. These are in the RFU Green Regulations book, and online at


and on lots of the various Society web sites too.

You asked the right questions and it isn't your porblem if the replaceed prop got changed !
If the 'injured' prop hadn't been able to continue, you would go to unopposed scrums (don't abandon it - regs are not well written and say 'deemed as abandoned'), and report that on both the Teams' League match cards with time and score. If felt necessary a separate report to Group or CB Comps Committee cc Society Chairman can be sent.

"11.5.2 Subject only to the proviso contained in Regulation 11.6 below (and any regulation made pursuant to Regulation 4.6) if on the second or subsequent occasion in Leagues at Level 5 and below any front row player requires to be replaced and his team cannot provide a replacement or other suitably trained and experienced player at least eighteen years old to enable the match to safely continue with contested scrums the referee having made enquiry of and confirmed this fact with the team captain (or other person nominated by the Club as manager or other person responsible for the team) the match will continue with uncontested scrums but shall be deemed to be abandoned for the purposes of these Regulations. The provisions of Regulation 12 shall apply.

11.6 Where a player(s) is/are temporarily suspended from the field of play (which includes a blood injury) which creates a second or subsequent occasion in Leagues at all levels other than National Leagues (or a third or subsequent occasion in National Leagues) that a front row forward requires to be replaced and his team cannot provide a replacement or suitably trained and experienced player at least eighteen years old to enable the match to safely continue with contested scrums the referee having made enquiry of and confirmed this fact with the team captain (or other person nominated by the Club as manager or other person responsible for the team) the match shall continue but for the duration (and only for the duration) of the temporary suspension with non-contested scrums and the match result will be unaffected.

12.3 If the Referee finds it necessary to abandon a match for any reason other than weather conditions, then, irrespective of the number of minutes played, the result of that match may be determined by the Organising Committee of the League concerned. The Organising Committee may order the match to be replayed in which event the match will take place on the Next Available Weekend following the Organising Committee’s decision.

Note: If a match is abandoned because a team does not have sufficient suitably trained and experienced front row players of at least eighteen years of age pursuant to regulation 11.4 or 11.5 above and one of the causes for such insufficiency is that a front row forward has been ordered off by the referee the Organising Committee should have regard to such fact when determining the result of the match or ordering a replay."

tim White
03-03-06, 13:03
Had exactly this scenario a few weeks back. Record what happened, when, score etc as you would for a red card, the result is up to others. Iwas asked to phone the league secretary and discuss the build up to going uncontested and what effect it had on both the match and probable final score - all to be taken into account when they decide the outcome.

I gaurantee you will not record enough detail, just try to put down everything.

Wert Twacky
06-03-06, 17:03
I'm with everyone else on this Brian - go to uncontested, note the time, and the score, and then let the league sort it out. No worries....
We're always banging on about diverting responsibility onto the players/captains etc, so I wouldn't fret.
You did the right thing about being concerned about safety thou.

This happened to me last season, in the 70th minute etc. We finished with uncontested scrums and I noted the score etc, etc. Never had any probs, so presume it was the right thing to do.