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Thread: What I know about wheeling

      
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    Player or Coach ChrisR's Avatar

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    Default What I know about wheeling

    Having read a couple of threads lately that have addressed scrum wheeling I’m of the opinion that there are some misconceptions about wheeling and front row play.

    Wheeling is a useful tool. Too bad it’s been pinged to the point of extinction.

    Purpose of the wheel:

    Attacking team (putting the ball in): Wheel to the right for a #8 take away from the defending SH and moving the defending back row away from the attacking channel. Risk is over-wheeling (thru 90) and losing the re-set put-in so most attacking wheels are stopped at 45.

    Defending team: Wheel to the left when a #8 take is likely. Bring the ball around toward the defending SH. Wheel thru 90 (could be left or right wheel) to get the reset.

    Mechanics:

    This is an easy maneuver. Going to the right the THP becomes the pivot, going left the LHP is the pivot. The locks and #8 take short side steps and crab around the pivot. The flanks just go along for the ride. The non-pivot prop does NOT have to pull, he simply gives ground.

    To defeat the opponent’s wheel the entire scrum sidesteps (crabs) into the wheel.

    Debating points:

    Wheeling and counter-wheeling is not dangerous when performed in control.

    Wheeling, when performed as described above, does not violate Law. The misconception that the non-pivot prop has to pull his opponent is myth. When the present-day prop can’t even get a bind due to tight jerseys how can he be deemed to be pulling? His opponent can’t stop pushing (just look at the position of his feet, try being in that position and not push) so he simply gives ground.

    Wheeling thru 90 is usually a defensive ploy to get the re-set rather than an attacking error.
    Take away the turnover and wheels thru 90 would decrease. A team that would then want to waste time by going thru 90 would be putting possession at risk if straight feeds were enforced.

    My observation:

    Caveat: Living in the sticks in the USA severely restricts my access to rugby on TV. No reception, no cable, dial-up internet access.

    Trying to manage scrums thru punitive measures just produces arbitrary penalties and opens up the referee to be ‘gamed’. Example: USA vs. Italy in RWC2011. Early on the Italy awarded a scrum well into their own half, win the ball and put on a bit of a shove. Front row goes down on Castrogiovanni’s side. Immediate penalty to Italy tho referee on other side of scrum. Italy gets out of it’s own half and gets the LO throw. So, who had the most to gain from the scrum going down?
    One look at McDonald’s face when Italy got the PK said everything.

    It’s better to live with the resets than to be dishing out PKs and cards when it’s nigh on impossible to determine who’s at fault, if anyone.

  2. #2

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    Default Re: What I know about wheeling

    Quote Originally Posted by Marauder View Post
    Wheeling, when performed as described above, does not violate Law.
    An insightful introduction to the principles of the wheel and its tactical usefulness, but the above statement is where I disagree in certain circumstances:

    Quote Originally Posted by Marauder View Post
    The non-pivot prop does NOT have to pull, he simply gives ground.
    The statement above goes against the principle of this law with reference to the Front Row:

    Law 20.2 (a) - All players in a position to shove


    I recoginize that the pivot THP / LHP isnt required to pull backwards for a wheel, and provided that a team is "loading up" on one side to drive through that side and beat their opponents, I certainly see this as playing "positive" (let's not get hung up on that definition for now). My issue comes with when teams, knowing they are being beaten at the scrum, are not engaging their opponents in an effort to shove, but are rather wheeling the scrum by giving way to their opponents immediately upon engagement to draw the turnover (a bit more than a "soft hit"; they engage but apply no pressure). I dont blame the teams for this; the 90-degree turnover law is at fault here (and one of the first laws I'd change). I think we agree on this based on your statement below:

    Quote Originally Posted by Marauder View Post
    Take away the turnover and wheels thru 90 would decrease. A team that would then want to waste time by going thru 90 would be putting possession at risk if straight feeds were enforced.
    Quote Originally Posted by Marauder View Post
    Trying to manage scrums thru punitive measures just produces arbitrary penalties and opens up the referee to be ‘gamed’. Example: USA vs. Italy in RWC2011. Early on the Italy awarded a scrum well into their own half, win the ball and put on a bit of a shove. Front row goes down on Castrogiovanni’s side. Immediate penalty to Italy tho referee on other side of scrum. Italy gets out of it’s own half and gets the LO throw. So, who had the most to gain from the scrum going down?
    One look at McDonald’s face when Italy got the PK said everything..
    With my refereeing hat on:
    1. Team A are the team putting the ball in
    2. Team A secure the ball, and drive Team B backwards
    3. The Scrum collapses

    Recognizing that every situation is different, and based on the referee's previous management and observations in this area, the penalty against Team A is unlikely. I agree with your point about a reset over "guesswork", but if you're suggesting that I'm going to Penalize the front row of the team that won the ball and drove their opponents backwards, this is near-on impossible to sell in this situation. At best, I might reset, go to the other side, speak to the other props, and, if the same thing happens again (Team A win the ball and drive team B backwards) penalize Team B.

    "But how can you do that when it might have been Team A that collapsed to draw the Penalty"

    My first thought is: Team B were driven backwards. They were dominated by Team A. I am not on the field to "even up the contest". I'm here to reward the team that scrummages and beats their opponent. I sympathize with MacDonald as I feel he's a good player in an absolutely terrible scrum, but I have no sympathy if he's expecting me to bail him out b/c his team were driven backwards and the scrum went to ground. I'm all for "refereeing what's in front of you", but I'm also all for "making the logical call". Do I doubt that CastroGee had some help in bringing it down? I'm not even thinking about that when I penalize the team going backwards.

    Quote Originally Posted by Marauder View Post
    It’s better to live with the resets than to be dishing out PKs and cards when it’s nigh on impossible to determine who’s at fault, if anyone.
    Agreed, with the caveat that referees can also sell the call in advance and set themselves up to put the pressure all on the players depending on how things are going at scrumtime.

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    Default Re: What I know about wheeling

    big difference between an illegal whip wheel and a tactical tilt.

    what is described above would be dealt with...not saying I would immediately ping but it would be stopped very quickly. again, what you are calling wheeling is a tilt. a wheel where the thp pulls/gives ground is not going to gain any sympathy from me.

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    Default Re: What I know about wheeling

    Quote Originally Posted by ddjamo View Post
    big difference between an illegal whip wheel and a tactical tilt.
    This was just the point I was trying to make in my previous thread.

    Yes I can see a difference, but it seems to me that at the televised higher levels all wheeled scrums are penalised.

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    Player or Coach ChrisR's Avatar

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    Default Re: What I know about wheeling

    Bryan,

    Regards “being in a position to shove”, key word “position”. If a scrum is being pushed back are all players offending? No. Giving ground is not a sin.

    We do agree that if the team in possession (not necessarily the team that last put it in) got the re-set then the defensive wheeling thru 90 would about disappear.

    What we don’t seem to agree on is the idea that a weaker scrum should be allowed to wheel by employing technique rather than power. And ddjamo seems to be agreeing with you. Now you are inserting your vision of how the game should be played rather than just applying the Laws. In my game skill is a quality attribute.

    If a team is being outmuscled in the scrum then their only recourse is skill. And controlled wheeling is skill. The USA could have used some in the RWC. I remember distinctly on one of the few scrum balls they won cleanly they were whipped around like a carousel and gave up the re-set. They didn’t know how to wheel or counter-wheel. That is probably because, in our domestic competitions, they’d just get pinged.

    Look up “Whip Wheel” in the Laws. Find it? It’s a figment of your imagination. It’s assumed that the prop must be “pulling” his opponent. The only reference to “pulling” is in 20.8 (g) Twisting, dipping or collapsing. Do you think this Law was written with wheeling in mind? So why take this Law out of context?

    Taff, you are correct. Trying to manage the scrum thru punishment is about as effective as Texas capital punishment. The criminals aren’t deterred, there are just more dead innocents.

    Bryan, as to the digression on collapsing. By presupposing that the team going backwards is at fault you are playing yourself into the game. Italy got their 4th try (and bonus point) thru a penalty try they knew was coming when they chose a scrum on the first penalty from a collapsed 5m scrum and then brought it down.

    Look at Castrogiovanni’s arm position prior to engagement. His right elbow is tucked in tight and so prevents MacDonald from getting a high (or long) bind. That allows C. to drop M. any time he wants. There is nothing in Law that demands a prop allow his opponent to bind. There should be.

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    Default Re: What I know about wheeling

    Whip Wheeling is the term used to define "fast/dangerous wheel" -it is penalised under "Dangerous Play" or "actions likely to cause the scrum to collapse".

    Rule of thumb: If number 8 moves their feet in a 'side, together, side, together' movement that will be slow enough to be safe. If they 'walk' round it will probably be too fast.
    Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others.
    (Groucho Marx)

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    Default Re: What I know about wheeling

    Quote Originally Posted by Marauder View Post
    Look up “Whip Wheel” in the Laws. Find it? It’s a figment of your imagination. It’s assumed that the prop must be “pulling” his opponent. The only reference to “pulling” is in 20.8 (g) Twisting, dipping or collapsing. Do you think this Law was written with wheeling in mind? So why take this Law out of context?
    .
    Who are you replying to here? I never once mentioned whip-wheeling. Telling me it's a figment of my imagination is well, confusing as I never mentioned it. Either that or there was some other quoting that got lost in the reply (I think you're trying to reply to several people at once; that tends to send mixed messages in writing/replying to posts if posters dont quote replies).

    Quote Originally Posted by Marauder View Post
    Bryan, as to the digression on collapsing. By presupposing that the team going backwards is at fault you are playing yourself into the game. Italy got their 4th try (and bonus point) thru a penalty try they knew was coming when they chose a scrum on the first penalty from a collapsed 5m scrum and then brought it down.

    Look at Castrogiovanni’s arm position prior to engagement. His right elbow is tucked in tight and so prevents MacDonald from getting a high (or long) bind. That allows C. to drop M. any time he wants. There is nothing in Law that demands a prop allow his opponent to bind. There should be.
    You are using a specific case here. I am trying to be more generic. A team going backwards at scrumtime is normally not going to be rewarded. This isnt a game of "never say never, never say always" but rather refereeing what's in front of you. If a team is being driven backwards, they are losing the scrum. If a team is being driven backwards at a scrum 5m from their goal-line and the scrum collapses, it's likely that the probable-cause here is the defending team.

    What you call "playing the game" I'm calling "making the most clear-and-obvious decision" i.e. a defending team going to ground under pressure after being driven backwards.

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    Default Re: What I know about wheeling

    Quote Originally Posted by tim White View Post
    .... Rule of thumb: If number 8 moves their feet in a 'side, together, side, together' movement that will be slow enough to be safe. If they 'walk' round it will probably be too fast.
    I can understand it being dangerous if say a THP pulls his opponent round (when the oppo is expecting a push) and the scrum collapses because his feet can't keep up, but I still don't understand what's dangerous (and therefore liable to a PK instead of a FK) about "walking" round?

    TBH I've given up trying to make sense of some TV wheeling sanctions. It's clear in my own mind, and I'm happy to stick to how I understand it should be reffed.
    Last edited by Taff; 23-01-12 at 14:01.

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    Player or Coach ChrisR's Avatar

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    Default Re: What I know about wheeling

    Bryan,

    Sorry for the confusion. I was responding to you and ddjamo in the same paragraph.

    Unfortunately I have only dial-up internet connection (48kb at best) and for some strange reason ( Robert Burns may have the answer) if I try to reply in the regular manner there is a delay between key-strokes such that half the letters go missing. Therefore I have to reply in MS Word then cut and paste it into the reply box.

    The point I’m making by using specific examples is that applying “generic” rules of thumb is going to be wrong at least some of the time. And it sets up the referee to be gamed by the players. That is why my examples are so pertinent to the issue.

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    Default Re: What I know about wheeling

    As a former LHP with 21 years of experience, I agree with Marauder's original points. In my game last Saturday, my referee coach basically said that wheels should not occur, even "legally", and should be managed or penalized. I think these are some focus areas coming from high. If there is an obviously dominant scrum, then either the LHP (usually) or the THP can simply drive more than their other prop, an effective and relatively safe wheel can be done without any pulling or other dark tactics. The pivot side prop is still in a driving position, just not driving as much as the wheeled side. I did it many times in my playing days. I applaud a dominant scrum that can effectively, and safely, wheel as a defensive maneuver to win back possession of the ball.

    Don't forget that the scrum is still a contest that is won by both skill and strength. Changing the laws to eliminate the wheel may result in fewer scrum resets, but it takes away another contest within the game.

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