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Thread: Controlling the gap

  1. #1

    ELRA/Club Referee

    Level 8
    Join Date
    19 Aug 11

    Default Controlling the gap

    Okay so i had my first "proper" game last Saturday and it didn't go too bad. However at nearly every scrum the away front rows always seemed to move closer to the mark meaning that the gap at "crouch" was barely 30cm. It didn't seem much of a problem but after a few queries from the home skipper i decided i ought to sort it out by standing in-between the two packs to create a human-mark and still there was poor gap at the crouch call. I know its meant to be no more than an arms length but there isn't a minimum and theres not much point if theres no "hit" in the engagement. Im not sure if i should just let this go if it happens again or how to ensure the gap.

    They were both 4th teams so i didn't expect an amazing scrummage and it might not even matter but thanks for any replies :big grin:

  2. #2

    Referees in Australia
    SimonSmith's Avatar

    Central Australian Rugby Referees
    Join Date
    27 Jan 04

    Default Re: Controlling the gap

    I tell both FRs - if you don't like the gap, stand up.

    That way, if they DON'T stand up, they're saying they're happy.
    The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.
    Marcus Aurelius

    Man may do as he will; he may not will what he wills
    Arthur Schopenhauer

    Tullamore Dew, the Afghan Wigs, and many, many strippers - how to get over your ex. How true.

  3. #3

    Advises in England
    OB..'s Avatar

    Glos & District
    Adviser (grass roots)
    Join Date
    07 Oct 04

    Default Re: Controlling the gap

    The engagement is meant to take place over the mark, so if one team moves too far forward on "Crouch", blow your whistle to stop the scrum and move them back. Both teams should be set up so that after "Crouch" they do not need to move forward on the "Touch", but nor should they be too close. You control it, and if they won't comply, peep!

    Do not stand in the middle of a scrum. Ever.
    He trudg’d along unknowing what he sought,
    And whistled as he went, for want of thought.
    The Referee by John Dryden

  4. #4

    Referees in Canada
    ddjamo's Avatar

    Michigan, Ontario
    Join Date
    29 Jun 08

    Default Re: Controlling the gap

    don't ever stand between them. make the mark and get out. and don't ever take them further apart. if they accept being close and not having a hit - they may be telling you that's what they want. only change the gap for safety reasons and the closer together the safer it is. if they line up close and you back them up - it's on you if something goes wrong.

  5. #5

    Referees in Australia
    Drift's Avatar

    Level 2
    Join Date
    06 Jan 10

    Default Re: Controlling the gap

    I am happy for the teams to set up close or set up far apart. It's up to them although I once had a prop have to take a step forward to get the touch so I got them to stand up and bring it in closer.

    If I have an issue with scrums going down I will bring the scrums closer together and tell the players "we will get the scrums working from this distance and then we can think about getting a bigger gap for you, as long as you show me you can keep the scrum up at this distance" and that generally works well.

  6. #6

    Referees in England
    Dixie's Avatar

    Retired from Berkshire
    Join Date
    26 Oct 06

    Default Re: Controlling the gap

    Quote Originally Posted by doofy96 View Post
    Okay so i had my first "proper" game last Saturday and it didn't go too bad. ... theres not much point if theres no "hit" in the engagement.
    Congratulations on getting your first game out of the way - especially as you were no traumatised by the experience! Well done.

    I'd be very happy with a 30cm gap between two crouched packs. You say there's not much point if there's no "hit" - what do you mean by that? Personally, I take the view that the desire to have the most solid possible "hit" is the biggest blight on the game, causing the multiplicity of resets that we see on TV (but rarely at the lower levels of the game).

    While OB is correct that the packs should come together over the mark, I personally wouldn't waste ages resetting if the packs settled within a foot of the mark (30cm for our French and other metric friends). Consider a PK after you've played a few phases of advantage - are you really certain you're within 30cm of where the offence took place? Does it matter if not?
    Don't feed the pedant!

  7. #7

    Referees in England
    Simon Thomas's Avatar

    Hampshire / Southern Federation
    RFU Group Match Observer
    Join Date
    03 Dec 03

    Default Re: Controlling the gap

    The CTPE process is designed for safety and the Touch element is there to make sure the gap is correct, and prevent collapses etc. You manage the gap distance, not the players - all sorts of reasons to close it, unequal (not straight) on each side, etc.
    At 4th team level it is evcen mlore important to be 100% correct due to fitness levels, differences in experience, size, strength, etc.

    It is vital that you are strict on your scrum management and insist (and if necessary warn and finally penalise any non-compliances) and that you are in control of the engagement, NOT the Front Rows !

    Before the crouch get the distances right to start with in relation to the mark through verbal management.
    Once crouched and touched, keep them statics and then after the engage keep them static. if they don't comply blow and start again.

    Never, ever stand between two bound front rows, or put your arm/hand in either (right in props eye line !).

    Good luck and enjoy your refffing.

  8. #8
    Rugby Club Member ctrainor's Avatar

    Cumbria Referees Society
    Join Date
    23 Jun 05

    Default Re: Controlling the gap

    4th teams I would expect to be virtually touching.
    As long as they obey the CTPE commands, I'm happy and I assume they would be unless they complain.
    Wouldn't worry about the gap but if one team is taking the p*ss ping em
    Ciaran Trainor

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