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Thread: penalty for interfering with the scrum half

      
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    Default penalty for interfering with the scrum half

    It's become standard to award a penalty for a player in a ruck who grabs the scrum half as he is about to clear the ball. Does anyone know what the justification is for this in the law book? What gives the "dummy half" special status?

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    Default Re: penalty for interfering with the scrum half

    For me the reason is to do with the fact that the ball is in the ruck until it is removed by the scrum half. Often a player grabbing the s/h will not be bound to the ruck or will have come round the side. If he starts from an offside position when the s/h lifts the ball, then he is offside. But I wouldn't give the s/h too long to play the ball. As soon as he has lifted it out of the ruck, ruck over and he is fair game for onside players.

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    Default Re: penalty for interfering with the scrum half

    All fine. But often we see an onside player come through the ruck to a position where he can legally get at the scrum half and the ref will call "leave the 9 alone" and then penalise if the 9 is interfered with. Why?

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    Default Re: penalty for interfering with the scrum half

    Quote Originally Posted by AMGS View Post
    All fine. But often we see an onside player come through the ruck to a position where he can legally get at the scrum half and the ref will call "leave the 9 alone" and then penalise if the 9 is interfered with. Why?
    Well if the number 9 is not part of the ruck then the onside player should not be intefering with him. When the scrum half has hands on, the ball has not left the ruck yet so the onside player cannot interfere, only when the ball is lifted clear can the onside player go for the 9 as at that point the ruck is over, but until then the onside player needs to be bound into the ruck. In the majority of cases, the onside player will unbind prior to the ball being lifted clear of the ruck, therefore they are now an offside player, peep.

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    Default Re: penalty for interfering with the scrum half

    The truth is we protect the SH by convention, not by law. If a player in the ruck, bound by an arm, can grasp the SH as he picks up the ball there is no specific law that prohibits that.

    However, by convention we allow the SH to dig for it to get the ball back in play. That makes him vulnerable to players in the ruck. It makes sense for us to protect him to, again, get the ball back in play.

    The next major rewrite of the laws needs to codify this. I should live so long!

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    Default Re: penalty for interfering with the scrum half

    Usually it's playing the man without the ball.

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    Default Re: penalty for interfering with the scrum half

    And there is a clarification issued (at least in Scotland) about not being able to wade through the ruck (what might be claimed to be coming through the middle) as that is deemed as not bound, and thus offside.

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    Default Re: penalty for interfering with the scrum half

    "Dorset and Wilts". Is that like "eats roots and leaves"?

    (sorry, just having a 6am moment)
    I, for one, like Roman numerals

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    Default Re: penalty for interfering with the scrum half

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisR View Post
    The truth is we protect the SH by convention, not by law. If a player in the ruck, bound by an arm, can grasp the SH as he picks up the ball there is no specific law that prohibits that.

    However, by convention we allow the SH to dig for it to get the ball back in play. That makes him vulnerable to players in the ruck. It makes sense for us to protect him to, again, get the ball back in play.

    The next major rewrite of the laws needs to codify this. I should live so long!
    We could also allow the scrumhalf to pass forward, or just get the ball handed to him on his command.

    Quote Originally Posted by AMGS View Post
    All fine. But often we see an onside player come through the ruck to a position where he can legally get at the scrum half and the ref will call "leave the 9 alone" and then penalise if the 9 is interfered with. Why?
    Great answers so far, have they been helpful?

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    Default Re: penalty for interfering with the scrum half

    There is also 16.4(a):

    Players must not return the ball into a ruck.


    Has the interfering player left the ruck,or is he still part of what was the ruck?

    However that penalty is only a FK.

    If the SH does not yet have the ball, he is being pushed or held with out the ball - 10.4(f)

    If he has it, outside the ruck, is he, and the ball, being pulled back into the ruck?

    Was the player fully part of the ruck, or was he sliding/'swimming' around the edge, in front of the offside line?

    But above all we want a successful end to the ruck so that the ball is back into open play.
    Be reasonable - do it my way.

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