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    Default Interesting Tap Tactics

    Hi All,

    Just wanted to get some advice on a decision I made last week.

    For background, it was a schoolboy U14 level game and they play without numbers hence no numbers in the following stuff.

    Green team has been awarded a penalty on the attacking 22m line. They've opted to to take the tap. The halfback is at the ball and flanked by 4 players [it may have only been 3 - memory is slightly sketchy there] on either side (standing horizontally adjacent to or just in front of him and spaced out over a few metres - a bit like a soccer wall but each man not quite touching) preventing the Gold team from seeing what was being done behind this wall of players and probably preventing them from playing at the ball carrier if they'd moved to a position to. Green have set it up reasonably quickly (Gold are set in a defensive line though) and attempt to take the tap. The Green halfback never has the ball leave his hands while tapping it on his foot. I rule for a scrum to Gold for Green not taking the tap properly [is that correct under the laws - I don't have a law book on me at the moment and feel momentarily unsure but I seem to remember that for a PK taken incorrectly the sanction is a scrum] and comment to Green that I am not going to reward such tactics!

    Just before I blew the whistle I saw this obviously practiced manuever begin to come into action - players running dummy runs on various angles with the Gold side unable to see what's happening and being forced to commit to these runners while the halfback spreads the ball wide. Pretty impressive but I feel it is really against the spirit of the game.

    In hindsight I feel I probably should have penalised under 10.4(m) but they didn't attempt the tactic again so they got the message not to do it anyway.

    Thoughts on this whole scenario - what would you do and did I make an appropriate decision?

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    Default Re: Interesting Tap Tactics

    correct on the "not taken correctly" (however at u14 I MIGHT have suggested he took it again), with regards to the "wall" thing, we had a long discussion on this before on here and there was a general disagreement as to if it should be allowed, "old school" seem to think it was OK, where as "modern thinking" was it was a . I was in the old school camp and don't see a problem with it, would you ping a pass to a player running behind another who was on a dummy line as long as he didn't stop another player from making a tackle or take a player out?
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    Default Re: Interesting Tap Tactics

    I don't see how any one could take the view that a team with the sophistication to attempt a complicated tap penatly move like that on the one hand, should be indulged in two attempts at taking the actual tap properly.

    It is a thing, though, that inmany referees do think (for reasons that escape me!) that a tap is so difficult for a 14 yr old to grasp that he should get two attempts at it - I don't agree, but given the general expectation I make sure to include it in my PMB, so that they have had the warning.

    Turning to this scenario --

    10.4(m) is (m) Acts contrary to good sportsmanship.
    I absolutely don't think it is that! That would be very harsh.

    If the kicking team were charging, you penalise them as a cavalry charge, but sounds like they weren't

    Seems to me it's legal, but watch very hard for obstruction in the execution and PK even the slightest bit of it -- if it's a rehearsed move, they have to execute it carefulyl and accuratley, with no obstructions.

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    Default Re: Interesting Tap Tactics

    Quote Originally Posted by viper492 View Post
    Green team has been awarded a penalty on the attacking 22m line. They've opted to to take the tap. The halfback is at the ball and flanked by 4 players [it may have only been 3 - memory is slightly sketchy there] on either side (standing horizontally adjacent to or just in front of him and spaced out over a few metres
    This is a minor variation on the Cavalry Charge.
    Definitions Kick: A kick is made by hitting the ball with any part of the leg or foot, except the heel, from the toe to the knee but not including the knee; a kick must move the ball a visible distance out of the hand, or along the ground.

    21.4 (i) Behind the ball. All the kicker’s team at a penalty or free kick must be behind the ball until it has been kicked, except the placer for a place kick.
    (It's 21.4 (h) in my law book ...)

    IIRC the Cavalry charge was deemed dangerous because the players were moving fast when taking the ball. If the secondary line of moving players was going to get the ball, you could probably choose between obstruction and dangerous play.
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    Default Re: Interesting Tap Tactics

    as an aside - after many years of refereeing junior games my observation is that complicated tap penalty moves are normally a sign of indifferent quality coaching.

    The very best teams are focused on playing rugby and tend to keep things simple.
    Their moves may be clever but they are never elaborate (as elaborate moves go wrong) and the moves are focused on creating space rather than relying on creating confusion.

    A very elaborate move by U14 is (in my opinion) mostly for the purpose of making the coaches look clever.

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    Default Re: Interesting Tap Tactics

    Quote Originally Posted by crossref View Post
    I don't see how any one could take the view that a team with the sophistication to attempt a complicated tap penatly move like that on the one hand, should be indulged in two attempts at taking the actual tap properly.

    Like I said MIGHT give them a chance to take it again. 1st PK of the match and he get's it wrong, give him a chance, we're not there to catch them out, I see it as our job to educate as well at that age

    And just because you have a "clever" coach it doesn't mean you have players that can execute an elaborate tap PK move
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    Default Re: Interesting Tap Tactics

    i think your expectations are too low - the U14 know perfectly well how to do a tap.
    the reason they often don't bother, is because referees let them get away with it --- and its a safe try as well: and even with those referees that don't let you get away with it, you'll get a warning first time

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    Default Re: Interesting Tap Tactics

    Quote Originally Posted by crossref View Post
    i think your expectations are too low - the U14 know perfectly well how to do a tap.
    the reason they often don't bother, is because referees let them get away with it --- and its a safe try as well: and even with those referees that don't let you get away with it, you'll get a warning first time

    I disagree somewhat with you on that. I would usually allow them to have a second go at it but at the time I felt the move was unfair and that they certainly didn't deserve to have the second attempt to take the tap (in my mind the tactic is/was unfair and this gave me a relatively light way to deal with it as I didn't think it really deserved a penalty against...) - You'd be surprised how many of these kids, despite having played for 5 or 6 years, still don't know how to take a tap properly but once you tell them at the first tap that it must leave their hands or be tapped (and move slightly) on the ground, you don't see another tap taken improperly all game they should all know but the evidence suggests otherwise...What can we do? (*Edit: Obviously we can just award scrums until they learn but that's not necessarily the best thing to do for the game in terms of player enjoyment/safety/for the flow of the game - especially as I've only seen one or two sides this season that can actually pack a half-decent scrum...)


    TheBFG - the usual ethos is a 'take it again' in most of our junior rugby - To be absolutely honest when I awarded the scrum it was the second time I'd done that in 3 seasons of refereeing and I'm not sure if I've seen any other ref awarding one at a junior level (up to U16) for it... Which is very surprising given how often it occurs.
    Last edited by viper492; 01-08-14 at 22:08. Reason: Additional information

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    Default Re: Interesting Tap Tactics

    At junior level I would normally ask them to take it again. After all, "ball not leaving hands" is as much a kick as scratching your nose and neither are "kick taken incorrectly".
    I, for one, like Roman numerals

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    Default Re: Interesting Tap Tactics

    Quote Originally Posted by viper492 View Post
    Hi All,

    Just wanted to get some advice on a decision I made last week.

    For background, it was a schoolboy U14 level game and they play without numbers hence no numbers in the following stuff.

    Green team has been awarded a penalty on the attacking 22m line. They've opted to to take the tap. The halfback is at the ball and flanked by 4 players [it may have only been 3 - memory is slightly sketchy there] on either side (standing horizontally adjacent to or just in front of him and spaced out over a few metres - a bit like a soccer wall but each man not quite touching) preventing the Gold team from seeing what was being done behind this wall of players and probably preventing them from playing at the ball carrier if they'd moved to a position to. Green have set it up reasonably quickly (Gold are set in a defensive line though) and attempt to take the tap. The Green halfback never has the ball leave his hands while tapping it on his foot. I rule for a scrum to Gold for Green not taking the tap properly [is that correct under the laws - I don't have a law book on me at the moment and feel momentarily unsure but I seem to remember that for a PK taken incorrectly the sanction is a scrum] and comment to Green that I am not going to reward such tactics!

    Just before I blew the whistle I saw this obviously practiced manuever begin to come into action - players running dummy runs on various angles with the Gold side unable to see what's happening and being forced to commit to these runners while the halfback spreads the ball wide. Pretty impressive but I feel it is really against the spirit of the game.

    In hindsight I feel I probably should have penalised under 10.4(m) but they didn't attempt the tactic again so they got the message not to do it anyway.

    Thoughts on this whole scenario - what would you do and did I make an appropriate decision?

    Correct decision on the ball not moving a visible distance from the hand.

    As for the tactical moves, there is nothing wrong with it, so long as

    1. the players in the wall are not ahead of the player taking the tap kick (because if they are, then they are effectively all offside at the moment the kick is taken), and

    2. the players in the wall cannot be running before the kick is taken as this would be a "Cavalry Charge", which is specifically outlawed - 10.4 (p)
    Last edited by Ian_Cook; 01-08-14 at 23:08.
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