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    Default Ball carrier collapsing maul

    Blue takes the ball into contact and is kept up and a maul created, I shout 'maul keep it up' I often hear blue team shout go to ground. This usually results in the ball carrier hanging on to the ball with legs trailing. If he's knee touches the ground I should 'release blue'. They usually complain that they took the ball in.

    If the maul collapses I award penalty to red. Right?

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    Default Re: Ball carrier collapsing maul

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe@trfc View Post
    Blue takes the ball into contact and is kept up and a maul created, I shout 'maul keep it up' I often hear blue team shout go to ground. This usually results in the ball carrier hanging on to the ball with legs trailing. If he's knee touches the ground I should 'release blue'. They usually complain that they took the ball in.

    If the maul collapses I award penalty to red. Right?
    Your shout of maul is fine, but I wouldn't add "keep it up" because it implies the ball carrier isn't permitted to go to ground, which his is ....see law 17.2 (d)

    In addition opposition players might be happy to let him go to ground in order that he then offends , ie ....they want a PK

    It might be a good idea for you to law reference your thinking, it might help you decide the state of play that you are considering at that precise time. http://www.irblaws.com/index.php?law=17

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    Default Re: Ball carrier collapsing maul

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe@trfc View Post
    Blue takes the ball into contact and is kept up and a maul created, I shout 'maul keep it up' I often hear blue team shout go to ground. This usually results in the ball carrier hanging on to the ball with legs trailing. If he's knee touches the ground I should 'release blue'. They usually complain that they took the ball in.

    If the maul collapses I award penalty to red. Right?
    Ok to shout "Maul" (I like to call "Blue maul") but as per Browner don't call "keep it up".
    Yes, Blue would probably call "go to ground" if they felt they were not progressing and may be held up resulting in a turn over scrum. They are entitled to go to ground but must make the ball available immediately (if not sooner!!). If ball not available -scrum Red. If the maul is collapsed by Red - penalty Blue. Some referees get confused as to whether Red player/s need to release ball carrier and or roll away when and if ball carrier gets to ground!

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    Default Re: Ball carrier collapsing maul

    Quote Originally Posted by Decorily View Post
    Ok to shout "Maul" (I like to call "Blue maul") but as per Browner don't call "keep it up".
    Yes, Blue would probably call "go to ground" if they felt they were not progressing and may be held up resulting in a turn over scrum. They are entitled to go to ground but must make the ball available immediately (if not sooner!!). If ball not available -scrum Red. If the maul is collapsed by Red - penalty Blue. Some referees get confused as to whether Red player/s need to release ball carrier and or roll away when and if ball carrier gets to ground!
    The answer to that last being, AIUI: no, because the maul remains a maul until it ends, either successfully if the ball is available immediately the BC goes to ground - so play continues away from the maul - or unsuccessfully if not - so the ref blows up immediately for the scrum.

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    Default Re: Ball carrier collapsing maul

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe@trfc View Post
    Blue takes the ball into contact and is kept up and a maul created, I shout 'maul keep it up' I often hear blue team shout go to ground. This usually results in the ball carrier hanging on to the ball with legs trailing. If he's knee touches the ground I should 'release blue'. They usually complain that they took the ball in.

    If the maul collapses I award penalty to red. Right?
    Two points to note.

    If the blue ball carrier goes to ground out of choice, he does not have to release the ball.

    If the blue ball carrier goes to ground willingly and does not collapse the maul illegally as a consequence, why should red get a penalty? Scrum yes, ball not immediately available, turnover.

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    Default Re: Ball carrier collapsing maul

    Joe@TRFC, this is an area giving rise to a great deal of confusion. The ball carrier (as Browner notes), is perfectly entitled to go to ground in a maul - but that's not quite the same as saying that he is entitled to pull the maul down with him. So I have no worries about your call of "Keep it up!" - it's a call I routinely used myself. It requires the participants to keep the maul upright - not a requirement on the ball carrier to keep himself upright.

    There are at least two reasons why the BC might be coached to go to ground. The first stems from the day they changed the law to introduce a different outcome to an unsuccessful maul compared to an unsuccessful ruck. The unsuccessful maul restarts with a turnover scrum, while the unsuccessful ruck restarts with a scrum to the side going forward - often the BC's team. So coaches persuaded their players to get to ground in the hope of converting the maul to a ruck. This logic, if it ever actually worked, is now flawed. The maul remains a maul, even when on the deck, and ends successfully only if the ball is immediately available to be played.

    The second reason is that a player's dead weight in attempting to get to ground may be enough to break the hold of oppositions wrappers. This is fine - but it carries a risk. If the oppo keep hold but can't support that weight, resulting in them going to ground, the referee may determine that the maul has been destabilised by the BC attempting to go to ground, and he may be pinged for collapsing the maul. In that case, your action of penalising the BC is correct - though it can be a hard sell sometimes.

    You mention that you tell the BC to release the ball when his trailing knee touches the ground. I suspect your rationale for this derives from Law 15.3:

    15.3 BROUGHT TO THE GROUND DEFINED
    (a) If the ball carrier has one knee or both knees on the ground, that player has been ‘brought to ground’.
    (b) If the ball carrier is sitting on the ground, or on top of another player on the ground the ball carrier has been ‘brought to ground’.


    The difficulty is that mauls are covered in Law 17, and 15(2) is clear that a tackle and a maul cannot co-exist:

    15.2 WHEN A TACKLE CANNOT TAKE PLACE
    When the ball carrier is held by one opponent and a team-mate of the ball carrier binds on to that ball carrier, a maul has been formed and a tackle cannot take place.


    The basic tenet of a maul is that the ball can be played with the hands. We see no clear requirement that a player off his feet must release the ball - though many refs infer that from a statement in the definitions to Law 14. In short, it's a mess.

    For me, the way to navigate the mess is to try to keep the maul upright; be prepared to PK a ball carrier whose attempts to go to ground clearly caused a collapse; but otherwise to look for an immediate availability and if it is not there, award the turnover scrum for the unsuccessful maul.

    Good luck!
    Don't feed the pedant!

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    Default Re: Ball carrier collapsing maul

    17.2(d) includes an exception to allow the BC to go to ground for the unstated purpose of releasing the ball and converting the maul into a ruck. Sometimes this happens and all is nice and simple.

    However, when the ops also have a grasp on the ball and the BC tries to go to ground he is likely to end up in the situation in the OP with knees on the ground but no ball available. What then? There are several different outcomes to this scenario not covered in law. Except for a genuine and purposeful collapse of the maul I think a PK is a harsh sanction. I think a turnover scrum will fit most scenarios and be a fair result.

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    Default Re: Ball carrier collapsing maul

    From a coaching perspective I advocate players staying on their feet and forcing the ball to ground before the maul stalls and so convert the maul into a ruck. This can often be done even when the ops get a piece of the ball.

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    Default Re: Ball carrier collapsing maul

    Quote Originally Posted by Marauder View Post
    From a coaching perspective I advocate players staying on their feet and forcing the ball to ground before the maul stalls and so convert the maul into a ruck. This can often be done even when the ops get a piece of the ball.
    My experience is that the ball carrier tries to go to ground when he is wrapped up in the middle of the maul and can't get the ball to the back of the maul. They often do this under the mistaken belief that if they get to the ground the opposition will have to release them and thus grant them the ball. This belief is incorrect and usually results in a turnover scrum because the ball is not immediately available.

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    Default Re: Ball carrier collapsing maul

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil E View Post
    My experience is that the ball carrier tries to go to ground when he is wrapped up in the middle of the maul and can't get the ball to the back of the maul. They often do this under the mistaken belief that if they get to the ground the opposition will have to release them and thus grant them the ball. This belief is incorrect and usually results in a turnover scrum because the ball is not immediately available.
    I agree on the mistaken belief Phil, but have a slightly different take on what should happen next.

    Don't forget ...the general law is you can't deliberately collapse a maul, so the permission to go to ground operates as an exception , But (as always) the exception comes with a qualifying condition.........which is

    . The ball carrier in a maul may go to ground providing the ball is available immediately and play continues.
    . So, if you can't make the ball available, then you have not met the single permission of this exception.

    So in the case of a 'knee dropper' he has two options , make it available quick OR cease being part of that maul by letting go and removing himself from it, others can then see the maul through to its conclusion (which once dropper has let go ) usually results in an opposition strip of possession.

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