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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Bryan Habana hat-trick sinks the wounded Wallabies in Pretoria

Bryan Habana scored a hat-trick of tries as the Springboks dominated a battered Wallaby side at Loftus Versveld on Saturday. The home side scored five tries to one in a 31-8 rout, as they look to end their Rugby Championship campaign on a high.

The Springboks fielded two debutant starters in key positions, namely Johan Goosen at flyhalf and Jaco Taute at second center, but it only served to improve their game as they willingly spread the ball, playing a brand of rugby that South African fans have waited a long time to see.

They have since denied there was a change in game plan, but the exclusion of Morne Steyn seems to have made a difference to the general attitude with ball in hand. Goal kicking was still a concern though as they missed four of their first five kicks at goal. On this occasion it was fairly irrelevant though as they were comfortable in most other facets of the game, and led 14-3 at halftime.

The Wallabies went into the game with a late change forced through injury, and that set the tone as it looked like a battlefiend out there, with one horrible knock in particular for courageous Adam Ashley-Cooper, who saved a try, but left the field on a stretcher.

With ten minutes left they had made their alotted seven substitutions, so as if an earlier yellow card to James Slipper wasn't enough to deal with, they were unable to bring on another player, so played the last ten with just 14 men on the field.

The Springboks took full advantage of both instances, scoring some lovely tries as Francois Louw combined with super-charged Habana on more than one occasion, and they had a third try ruled out by the TMO in the second half after great runs from Jean de Villiers and Ruan Pienaar.

In the end the scoreline could have been a lot worse for the visitors, as their resources were severely depleted and they are now in a situation where they have to travel to Argentina for their final Rugby Championship game, but will struggle to put together a full squad.

A bonus point win over Argentina, and a loss by South Africa to the All Blacks, would mean that the Wallabies could still finish in second place though.

Posted by Rugbydump at 3:54 pm | View Comments (68)

Viewing 68 comments

evlloyd September 30, 2012 5:31 pm

The old forward pass debate comes to mind with Habanas third try there. the ball clearly moved forward from the point of origin, and yet with the two players running forwards Habana remained behind the passer as he received it. I think its technically a forward pass. So much for Roland being a stickler to the letter of the law (WC Semifinal anyone?)

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Facepalm September 30, 2012 5:40 pm

It doesn't matter if the ball goes forward. It matters if the ball was passed forward. In this case Lowe was sprinting full tilt so momentum carried the ball forwards, even though it was initially passed backwards. Therefore the pass is considered not to be forwards.

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Pretzel September 30, 2012 9:37 pm

The problem I have with that third try was if Lowe had stopped dead after he had passed it would it have been considered forward?

I really haven't delved too deeply into the forward pass, momentum stuff, it generally doesn't concern me too much, however this video shows that Lowe passes at about the middle of that light strip of grass and Habana catches it pretty much on the halfway line, that is a fair amount towards the opposition try line..

So what we are saying is in theory as long as Lowe is running directly to the opposition tryline and his arms are pointing more towards his own try line as he passes the ball, then it doesn't really matter where it ends?

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Karl October 01, 2012 3:56 am

If the ball is propelled forward it is a forward pass. I t doesn't matter at all how fast you are running the ball must go backwards (or horizontal at most) for a legal pass. The pass for Habana's third try was clearly forward and if the game had been closer we would have heard more about it.

The exception is if initially propelled backwards forward then goes forward either because of wind or bounce it is not a forward pass.

The whole rubbish about momentum is exactly that - rubbish. And is usually followed by some nonsense about it being impossible to pass backwards when you are running at full speed.

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memberbenefits October 01, 2012 4:18 am

It's not rubbish as this video demonstrates

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Eggman October 01, 2012 8:41 am

Tough decision, I think though that the ball actually left Lowe's hands horizontally and then travelled forwards because of his momentum.. Thus it wouldn't be considered a forward pass. Generally though very difficult for the refs to see and i didn't notice it while watching the game live as being particularly forward.

Just check out the video of memberbenefits if your unclear about the forward pass rule. It doesn't matter if the ball goes forwards, as long as the pass was backwards. This is because when a player runs 20 km/h and then passes, the ball is also travelling 20 km/h in the dircetion of the runner. Even if thrown backwards the ball still goes forwards because of that.

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stroudos October 01, 2012 2:37 pm

WTF is this? Gang trolling? Why do people STILL insist on bringing this up? It's been done to death on every known rugby-related site on the Earth-based Internet and probably some dedicated to physics. It has been illustrated unequivocally that a ball can travel forward even if it's been thrown backwards.

"Just to be clear, I'm talking to evlloyd and Karl, who are monumentally wrong on this.)

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Alex_The_Kiid October 02, 2012 1:06 am

@ evlloyd, Pretzel and Karl

You guys are idiots if you dont understand momentum, and passing at speed. Its actually getting really old, but somehow people still cant get their heads around it! Leave the Rugby discussions to the big boys from know on ok? You guys have lost all credibility!

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Pretzel October 02, 2012 1:41 pm

Alex the kid, once again proving how child like he really is, I would say you've lost all credibility, but you never had any to begin with.

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Eggman October 03, 2012 2:29 pm

The pass would be legal as long as it is thrown backwards, however, the player, for my understanding, would be offside and thus the opposition would be given a penalty

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Jon October 04, 2012 2:39 am

Karl, the answer is that technically the player would be offside. So it would be a legal pass, but an offside penalty.

The reality is that it's an imperfect rule (like most rules in union) that is completely at the discretion of the referee.

So basically, the ref is asked to make an educated guess about whether the player has thrown the ball backwards or not, and whether the resulting movement of the ball is caused by momentum, or has actually been aimed forward by the player.

Passes will therefore always be open to debate if they drift forward.

But the rule about the player passing the ball backwards and allowing the ref to be discretionary when it comes to the drifting of the ball forward due to relative velocity, is to allow the game to be played with out calling every second pass forward (which you would have to do if you used the strict rule about where the pass is caught relative to where it is released).
There's no way around it, because of physics. A player can throw a ball backwards as hard as he likes, if he is moving forward it will drift forward. There's nothing he can do about it.

So the compromise is to focus on the action of the player throwing the ball backwards and leave it up to the ref's discretion as to whether any movement forward through the air was out of his control.

If you look at that IRB video again, you can see the difference. Look at the infamous pass that gave the French their victory over NZ in the 2007 WC. That was thrown forward, clearly. It wasn't propelled backwards and then drifted. It was released from the hands in the direction of the opposing teams dead ball line. So it was a forward pass. But here's the thing, it was a forward pass whether you apply the IRB rules, or the rules that you prefer (about where a ball is caught relative to where it is released) - and it still wasn't ruled forward.

It's always going to be an area of conjecture, no matter what rule you apply.

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Karl October 03, 2012 2:36 pm

How can you aim a pass at someone in an offside position, and at the same time throw the pass backwards?
I understand the physics by the way, but still, if you're aiming at a spot ahead of you, it's hard to say you're passing backwards, no matter how fast you're running.

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Jon October 04, 2012 6:43 am

Karl, a player cannot prevent a ball drifting forward at the speed he is moving, unless he can somehow defy the laws of physics.
It is possible to be slow enough that the backwards movement is more than the forward drift, but this is all irrelevant, because it would be absurd when you think about the practicalities.
Guys would have to come to a stop before they passed. As the video demonstrates, even if a player who is running forward hurls a ball backwards over his own head (you can't throw in a more backwards direction than that), if he is moving at an reasonable pace, the ball will drift forward, and will almost certainly drift further forward than the point he releases the ball.
Again, nothing can be done, it's just the laws of physics.

In regards to your bouncing ball/ ball coming off the hand question.
It doesn't negate the original law.
ie if a player passes backwards, then the ball drifts forwards, this is all fine. The ball can then hit the ground, and bounce well forward, a couple meters further than it drifted. It would still be legal. That would be the technical ruling. In reality, if a ball hits the ground it is usually a short pop pass, which is rarely going to drift forward very far and so it usually doesn't matter. And also in reality, as you say often these are just called forward.
But I have often seen passes, like the ones in the video, drift forward hit the ground, bounce and then get picked up and it's play on. Happens all the time.

With the hand thing, that is talking about the opposition. In other words if a player passes the ball, it touches an opposition player's hand and then moves forward through the air, it is not a forward pass. If it hits a player on the same teams hand and goes forward, it's not a forward pass either, but it is a knock on.

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FoXtroT October 02, 2012 4:57 pm

"A throw forward occurs when a player throws or passes the ball forward."

Key word/s there are throw/passes forward. You can pass it backwards, but it will still move forwards. Get that through your head. They do not pass it forward, it is passed backwards but momentum moves it forward. It is the passing action that you must look at, not the movement of the ball.

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Jon October 03, 2012 5:08 am

Karl, that is the way the law has been interpreted for decades.
Referees are taught this, and have been taught this for many, many years.
In fact, if the law were applied in the way you suggest (ie the ball must be caught in a position behind where the passing player releases the ball) a ridiculous percentage of passes in every single game of rugby would need to be called forward.
You'd be looking at about 50% of all passes being called illegal. The game would become a farce.

It's not something that can be controlled. It's just physics. There's really no way around this. The rule must be this way, or the game would become unreffable (which is a word I've just made up, but you get what I mean).

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Karl October 04, 2012 5:32 am

OK, I get your point that if the rule were applied to the direction the ball moves then the number of forward passes in a game may become unmanageable.

What do you think about the exception (where the ball hits the ground or another player and bounces forward). According to what the video says the rule is, this is not an exception, as whether the ball bounces or hits the ground has has nothing to do with the direction the player is aiming the pass. The only way I can think of that this could actually be a legitimate exception is if the ball is knocked forward out of a players hand while he is in the action of passing backwards - it should be a legitimate pass? Every time I've seen this situation it has been ruled a knock on.

And one clarification, a player can pass a ball so it travels backwards, it just needs to be at a less horizontal angle.

I would be interested in seeing some analysis of a game to see how many passes actually travel forward.

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Karl October 05, 2012 2:07 pm

Thanks for your reply Jon. However I do have to quibble with some of your comments.

- The pass over the head was not horizontal agreed, but it was much more vertical than backwards. If a pass was thrown laterally with that arc the player would be laughed off the field.

- My point with the bouncing pass is that it is in the law as an *exception*. Given the momentum interpretation of the law, it is not an exception - the ball was angled behind the player passing before it bounced. Which makes me think that the talk about momentum is a post-hoc interpretation that is has not been thought through in relation to the laws. Given an interpretation that the direction the ball travels is what matters, then the bouncing pass is an *exception*. And you do see long passes bounce. The Aussie pass that Habana let go into touch before he scored a try was just one example.

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Karl October 03, 2012 7:57 am

I get your point Jon,
but what about my example of where the receiving player is stationary? Does that mean it is legal to pass the ball to a player in an offside position as long as you are running fast enough so you would be able to stay ahead of the ball if you kept on running at the same speed?

Also the wording of the exception in the rules seems to indicate that the wording of the rule was ment to indicate the ball must travel back from the position of passing, as the ball bouncing forward cannot be an exception if it has been directed behind the player passing the ball.

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Karl October 03, 2012 4:46 am

I've watched the video, and thanks for speaking patiently with me. I've also seen some other semi-official statements along the same lines. And it concerns me. Firstly, if the momentum carries the ball forward, it never travels backwards at all. He is throwing the ball in such a way as it travels towards the opposition dead ball line. In the video you posted, if the player receiving the ball is not running but stationary, then is it still a legal pass? But how can it be a legal pass back, if it has gone forward to a player in an offside position? What is more, it is nigh on impossible for referees to determine whether the ball has gone forward, back, or horizontal with respect to the player passing the ball as player velocity changes quickly and is difficult to measure.

If this is really the way the rules are going to be interpreted then it will make forward passes more of a mare's nest than the breakdown. And it seems counter to the phrasing on the laws, especially when you read the exceptions.

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Jon October 03, 2012 3:10 am

Karl, this has been done to death, but for your benefit, we'll go over it again.

1. The rule you cite specifically does not mention where the ball travels, where it is caught or anything like that. It doesn't because that's not what makes a pass forward. It specifically says 'when a player throws or passes the ball forward'. In other words it is the players action that is scrutinized, not the actual flight of the ball. If the action the player makes is to throw a ball in a backwards direction but the ball then travels forwards, it is still a legal pass. And yes this is completely possible and frequently happens because of :

2. Basic physics. If a ball is flung backwards, it will head backwards in the direction it is flung. However, at the same time, it will drift through the air forwards if the player who threw was also traveling forwards. It will drift forward at roughly the same speed the the player is moving forwards. In other words, it will move diagonally backwards at the same time as it drifts forwards. This is all school boy physics we are talking about. The best way to see it is visually, which is why you should watch this video :

This is an IRB produced video to describe just what we are talking about. It makes it very clear that if a player passes a ball backwards at the five meter line, but the ball then drifts forwards and is caught at the ten meter line, it is still a legal pass. It's all about the direction the ball is moving out of the hands. Where it then ends up is a completely different matter and it isn't against the laws of the game if the ball drifts forward and is caught in front of where the passer originally released the ball.

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Pretzel October 03, 2012 3:38 pm

I think it would be very difficult to complete a pass like that. Think about it, you AIM when you pass, and I suppose what the rules are trying to say is that if your AIM is backwards then the pass is going to be fine. However an offside position is in front of you so what the ball carrier is going to have to do is sort of aim the ball behind him and pass it hoping the momentum would carry it forward quicker than the lateral movement could reach the offside player...

An easy way to perhaps understand it is to consider the ball carriers body position, imagine standing still and passing the ball in three directions; 1. forward at 45 degrees, 2. lateral, and 3. backwards at 45 degrees (with lateral being the 0 degree mark)...The first pass would obviously be forward, the second pass would be fine as would the third... consider your body positioning when making those passes, you know where you arms, shoulders etc would be aiming. Now if you did the exact same passes but running you'd still have the same body positioning, and the outcome for all 3 would be the same, 1. forward 2,3 fine legal passes....

But really that link up there is good enough at explaining the incident for me...

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Karl October 02, 2012 3:46 pm

Let's check the rules ...
A throw forward occurs when a player throws or passes the ball forward.
‘Forward’ means towards the opposing team’s dead ball line.
Bounce forward. If the ball is not thrown forward but it hits a player or the
ground and bounces forward, this is not a throw forward.

Note, that what determines a forward pass is the direction of the ball with respect to the dead ball line, not the player passing the ball. Yes, the momentum of the player passing the ball does effect the trajectory of the ball but the lateral trajectory of the ball is linear so it can't start backwards and then go forwards unless there is some wicked spin or wind.

Next time, before you start calling someone an idiot, check to see if they're actually right first.

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Boshman October 01, 2012 8:19 am

Forward passes aren't determined on where the ball is passed from and where it ends up. Its the angle the ball is released from the passers hands that determines if its a forward pass or not. Momentum will always carry the ball forward when a player is running forward and passing sideways. This is schoolboy basics though, anybody that has played rugby or is an avid supporter understands it.

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Facepalm September 30, 2012 5:37 pm

Habana's got to be the world in-form winger at the moment. It's hard to see who else would contend with him for that spot. I'm definitely interested to see how North fares against him in the upcoming tests. Another interesting upcoming battle is the rematch between Waburton and Pocock. I find the main difference between the back rowers of each hemisphere is the intensity of the way in which they hit each ruck. Southern hemisphere players tend to absolutely throw themselves at it, something you see much less of in the 6N. That's my thought anyway.

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Vinnie October 03, 2012 6:08 am

Habana have played well through out TRC, especially when he got given nothing to work with in the first few games. I reckon JP Pieterson would have given a run when he returns from fitness. My word he was on fire for the Sharks.
Unfortunately, Mike Hooper is serious contender for the Wallaby starting 7 spot.
If England start both Robshaw and Haskell, there might be a fight.

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Matt September 30, 2012 5:39 pm

I'm really not sure about the penalty at 4:44 ... the support was late in my opinion
But nice game from the boks and Goosen

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Woodsman September 30, 2012 9:29 pm

I fully agree. We got pinged for similar offences yesterday, hugely frustrating when you're clearly within your rights to contest for the ball and you get let down by poor officiating.

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Julien September 30, 2012 7:09 pm

At 7.45, it's not forward?

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Ottawa Rugger September 30, 2012 7:30 pm

I can't help but think that Habana's second try could potentially have been disallowed, as it appears a Wallaby defender is obstructed, if just for one split second, and misses the ankle tap. I may be splitting hairs, and it's not likely to have had a material result on the game's outcome. That said, it even appears in these highlights that Habana played a barn-burner of a match. I don't think if that try were to have been disallowed his game would have been any less world-class.

I think the Boks have found a great #10 in Goosen. Unfortunately, I didn't see enough of Australia in possession to make a similar judgement either way on Beale. (At the very least, he keeps the off-field antics more toned-down than Quade "look at me!" Cooper)

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dave September 30, 2012 8:27 pm

I noticed that that habana got a push from his team mate on the second try giving him a little speed boost
don't know if that's legal or not
word up, i'm from ottawa too, good to see rugby's getting attention here

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Eggman September 30, 2012 8:47 pm

I don't think it's obstruction because it's behind the ball carrier. The Springbok is entitled to run his support line for Habana and doesn't have to make room for uncoming defenders.

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Eggman September 30, 2012 8:50 pm

Well that was quite painful to watch.. good effort by the boks, Goosen looks way better than Steyn right now. Good to see them actually running the ball and going wide, instead of the boring kick and chase and bashing away with the forwards that we've seen in the last couple years.

Difficult to rate the Aussie performance because there were so many injuries before and during the game. The way South Africa played though even the best Wallabie side would have struggled to win.. I'm just hoping that they got enough players to play Argentina next week ;)

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Jon October 01, 2012 12:15 am

How idiotic were the refs, telling the Wallabies they could send Polota-Nau off cuz he was injured, then changing their minds after he went and not letting him back on.
What a pack of idiotis.

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themull October 01, 2012 4:16 pm

Didn't see the match but from the video it sounded like it was a doctor who told the ref that the player was unfit to continue...If that was the case then there is only one idiot in this discussion...

If this wasn't the case then I don't see how the refs can stop a player being brought back on

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katman October 01, 2012 8:47 pm

It was indeed the doctor who said he wasn't fit to play. And because they'd already used all seven their subs, they had to finish with 14. They had taken one of their props off early (might have been Robinson) and brought him back on later in the second half to replace Alexander (I think). This is meant to be an exception to the 7 subs law to prevent uncontested scrums, but the Wallabies have been doing this for a while now without the second prop even pretending to be injured. Because they'd already used all seven their subs, Fa'ingaa (spelling?) couldn't come on for the injured Polota-Nau and was wasted on the bench. Technically they could have brought Alexander back (as an uninjured front row forward can replace an injured front row forward without counting as one of the subs), but the ref didn't point out this option to them and they didn't seem to know they could. Just as well though, because this business of rotating the fatties early on only to bring them back when the next fatty gets tired makes a mockery of the subs rules and is not in the spirit of the law. In this case it appears that karma had the last laugh.

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Eggman October 01, 2012 10:37 pm

I think Alexander couldn't come on anymore because at that time the ref already called for uncontested scrums and thus they couldn't swap him on anymore.. Anyway massive cock up by the Aussie coaches..

Hope that means that they stop subbing Robinson after 30 minutes to bring him back on later, or make him do some cardio so he can actually last 80 minutes...

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katman October 02, 2012 9:15 am

The law says that once the ref has called uncontested scrums, an already subbed prop or hooker can't return to replace an "injured" prop or hooker. But in this game he hadn't actually called the first uncontested scrum yet, so technically they were within their right to bring Alexander back on. This would mean they'd have three props in the front row and one of them would take over line-out throws.

So technically yes, but morally no.

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jon October 04, 2012 6:44 am

Turns out the IRB admits it was a mistake, and Australia should have had 15.

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katman October 04, 2012 8:03 am

As I said earlier, technically yes, but morally no. If you have to learn the hard way that substitution loopholes aren’t right, then so be it. And I know a lot of other teams do this too, but that doesn’t make it right. There’s not that much difference between this and the English “Bloodgate” scandal.

Besides, the Aussies wanted to bring Polata-Nau back on, not Faingaa. And the ref said he couldn’t come back because the doctor said no. They didn’t even try to push the Faingaa issue then.

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Jon October 04, 2012 11:52 am

Katman, they tried to sub Faingaa on.
They were told in no uncertain terms that they couldn't.
So they said alright, we'll leave Polota-Nau on.
And they were told that they couldn't, since he was injured.

At the end of the day they absolutely should have been allowed to sub Faingaa on.

If there's a problem with the rules, it's one that every team takes advantage of, and it's unfair to arbitrarily punish one team in the middle of a test match, in direct convention of the laws of the game. Which is what happened.

So whether you agree or not with a law, or how a team takes advantage of it, that doesn't mean refs should go around arbitrarily violating those rules.
It's easy as a supporter of South Africa to say that Australia got what they deserved. A lot more difficult if the situation was reversed.

Regardless, if the rule is a problem, change the rule.

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deelman October 01, 2012 3:38 am

The forward pass thing works like this. You need to freeze the frame at the moment the pass occurred. If the two players are in the legal position in regards to each other, the throw is legal.
Even if player A is running in front of player B and passes the ball to player B at full tilt, it is quite possible for the ball to still drift forward because of their relative speed over the ground at the time of the pass. If Brian Habana was running half a meter in front of of someone like Bjorn Basson at say a 10.6 sec/100meter pace, and Basson was four meters away, the ball would have to travel forward to get to Basson's hands. We wouldn't notice, since we would see Basson behind Habana and not watch the ground or lines. It's the flat pass over a line which reveals this phenomena and gets us to sit up and ask questions. When in fact it happens all the time, even in passes that aren't flat.

So, to conclude, ahem, the most important thing is not the lines on the field. As a matter of fact, SCREW the lines! They just confuse everything. Freeze frame at the moment the ball leaves player A's hands and see where B is. Of course, if B has to reach a lot to get to it, then it could be forward, but generally this is the best rule of thumb, in my opinion.

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Guy October 01, 2012 8:27 am

I see what you mean but it is not completely correct. If I throw a looping pass forward (American Football style) a player behind me might still be able to catch it. Still, it is a forward pass.

You are right when you say most of the balls are carried forward by momentum. Most of those passes are considered legal. Only when the player passing the ball is stopped dead in his tracks a split second after passing the ball, the pass is considered forward. Talking about inconsistency...;-)

So basicly you might conclude that whether a pass is forward or not is also (at least for a part) determined by the speed of the passer of the ball, after he threw it.

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Pretzel October 01, 2012 1:08 pm

So its really somewhat as I said, as long as the passing players hands are pointing backwards as he passes the ball, it sort of doesn't matter where it ends up (to some extent of course) because HE passes it BEHIND him...

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stroudos October 01, 2012 2:54 pm

The last time this debate reared its hideous ugly head on these pages, I went through the last three or four RD videos at that time and pointed out at least ten examples of legitimate passes that raised no eyebrows at all, but to the ill-informed observer might appear to be forward passes.

I remember one in particular where the pitch markings were really handy, especially with the camera being on the halfway line - Dan Carter was about 3m short of the halfway line when he threw that pass and it was collected at least 2m into the other half. The ball travelled approximately 5m towards the opposition's tryline but no-one batted an eyelid - BECAUSE IT WAS NOT A FORWARD PASS!!

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Pretzel October 01, 2012 9:03 pm

As I've said up there, it's not something that I have ever really had to focus on too deeply, being a second row/back row player, passing is not something which comes into my game in huge quantities, also I am playing from a first person point of view therefore I don't view the pitch lines from a camera angle such as in this video.

It is therefore something I have never really got 100% up to speed on. I was merely after some clarification that as long as the passers passing action is behind "himself" (towards his own try line) then the pass would be deemed acceptable regardless of where it ends it's most basic watered down definition...

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Guy October 01, 2012 9:08 pm

I think we agree 100%. To clearify my point: the interpretation whether a pass is forward or not, changes the moment the player gets stopped dead in his tracks. The pass is the same, the interpretation is different because the referee looks at where the pass ends up in relation to where the player ends up.

It's quite theoretical, apologies for that. Most of us seem to agree on which pass should be rules forward and which one doesn't.

And, as Stroudos points out: within a few months we will have the same discussion.

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Pretzel October 02, 2012 1:46 pm

Exactly, that too was my point... As we can see here the pass is thrown from behind the halfway line and caught on the halfway line, the ball has travelled forward due to the momentum. Freeze there and look at the players, Habana is still behind the passing player. Therefore no one batters an eyelid. However if the passer is smashed, then EVERYONE batters an eyelid because he is hammered somewhere behind the halfway line and Habana catches the ball on the halfway line.

I am just wondering if that is something a referee would call a forward pass because as you say the referee sees the passer on the ground before the half way line, so a "backwards pass" doesn't "look" right if it's caught on the half way line..

I never suggested this pass was actually forward, it is merely a question on interpretation...

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Nemo34 October 02, 2012 12:43 pm

Indeed, it is allowed to send the ball forward and have a player running from behind you grab the ball in front of you. It is called an up-and-under. The only constraint is that to do so you should kick the ball, not throw it.

No matter how fast the player is running, no matter whether he is running toward the tryline, toward his own tryline, toward the sideline or whatever. He may be jumping, kneeing, falling or scratching his ass. Throwing the ball toward the tryline is a forward pass.

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Jon October 04, 2012 3:11 am

That's true Nemo. If a player throws a ball forward it is a forward pass.
But a player can (and frequently they do) throw a ball backwards, and still the ball will end up in a position in front of where he threw it.
He can propel it backwards with all his strength, and it won't make a lick of difference if he is also moving forward as he throws it backwards. Because of physics (specifically relative velocity), the ball will invariably and completely outside the player's control, drift forwards through the air at roughly the same speed that the player is traveling forward.

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Nemo34 October 04, 2012 6:53 am

The IRB rule says a forward pass is a pass toward the try line. The course, bearing and speed of the player are not to be taken into account as the "forwardness" of the pass is mesured relatively to the ground, not relatively to the player.

It is funny how often this argument keeps on coming back

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Jon October 04, 2012 12:00 pm

Nemo, the rules don't say that at all. Did you even read the law??
Jesus mate, I just had a ridiculously long argument about this, just scroll up. I explained it in ridiculous detail, all you have to do is scroll up the screen a bit.
If you can't accept the logic, just look at this video made by the IRB:

This video is made by the IRB, you know, the guys in charge of the rules. if you still can't get your head around, I don't know mate. Maybe just imagine your own rules for things?

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Benny October 01, 2012 9:00 pm

Glad to see the Boks' backs discovered passing and now they are the subject of the debate around forward passing rather than the ABs as usual

I was probably more concerned with Habana's first try. Looked like Pienaar's pop was forward.

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Canadian content October 01, 2012 9:30 pm

I'm not so sure that Habana is not only the in-form wing in the world right now but perhaps the world's in form player (with Kieran Read running neck in neck). He was unbelieveable during that match, three tries, one of which he completely manufactured, huge defense, challenging for balls at the defensive ruck, initiating attack with quick penalties, and driving forwards over the line to score tries during mauls!

What other wing, or player, currently contributes to his team's success in so many aspects? He'd probably win a tight head if given the chance!

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Ando October 02, 2012 2:48 am

What an absolute clusterf*ck from the Aussies, everything seemed to go wrong. Headless chooks in attack with no semblance of a game plan, with guys like Dom Shipperley proving yet again that they aren't worthy of the gold jersey, too much ball given up through excellent Springboks counter-rucking, and pretty soft all round (surprisingly, the Wallabies scrum notwithstanding). AAC proved himself yet again to be the class he is, putting his body on the line to stop a certain five-pointer - the guy's a legend.

There hasn't been much chat about the ref's decision to not allow the sub onto the field and forcing the Aussies to play 14 on 15 (however endlessly amusing it was to see tubby Ben Robinson toss in the lineouts). I'm not sure of the ruling on this one, if they had used up their subs should they have still been allowed to make it for a front-rower?

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Jon October 02, 2012 6:25 am

Ando, they could have sent Alexander back on, but the ref didn't let them know that.
It was also dumb because even though the doctor said Polota-Nau was injured, he clearly was capable and desired to keep playing, but they refused to let him.
Whole thing was a screw up, caused in large part by the ridiculous injury toll Australia endured during the game. Five players went down with injury.

It's nuts when you look at the currently injured team on the sideline. It's superior to the current test XV :

15. Berrick Barnes 14. James O'Connor 13. Rob Horne 12. Adam Ashley-Cooper 11. Drew Mitchell 10. Quade Cooper 9. Will Genia 8. Wycliff Palu 7. David Pocock 6. Ben McCalman 5. James Horwill 4. Siteleki Timani 3. Sekope Kepu 2. Stephen Moore 1. Salesi Maafu

Other guys injured are Jake Schatz, Nic White, Ben Palmer, Leelafano and Lachie Turner.

With Elsom gone, Vickerman retired and Sharpe's approaching retirement things are looking pretty desperate for Australia on the injury/retirement front.

Besides that the team seems to have little structure in attack. 90% it seems to be one off hit ups by a forward or backline players crabbing sideways. It's a shambles.

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katman October 02, 2012 10:00 am

That's what you get for playing the "let's sub our fatties after 20 minutes so we can bring them back on later" game. It's borderline cheating, so karma was always going to pay a visit at some point.

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Jon October 02, 2012 1:32 pm

Katman, while I understand the sentiment, teams have been doing it for ages, and not just Australia.
To be fair, the Aussies don't even try and pretend the guy's injured. But teams have been doing it for a while now, taking advantage of the injury rules to front rowers and using it to cycle the front row to maintain their fitness.

Regardless of that, it was absurd what happened and it should not have been allowed to happen. It was ridiculous.

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Ando October 02, 2012 4:48 pm

So they could have subbed Alexander back on (I think he had already been on the field, right?), but could not have brought on Fainga'a off the bench to replace Polota-Nau? All very confusing - now where's my rule book...

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vinnie October 03, 2012 6:20 am

The Wallabies best 15 or 23 are as good as any side in the world but beyond that there is little depth. This is what happens when you don't have a domestic competition below Super Rugby.
As for a lack of structure, this is what happens after you get steamed in the tight and the break down and the forwards won't even know where to run let alone try to make any meaningful difference

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Jon October 03, 2012 6:45 am

Vinnie I don't disagree.
But even when Australia has had closer to a full strength team this season their attack has been less than impressive.
A far cry from the days of 2010 and early 2011.

Alot of one out hit ups. Alot of crabbing sideways. Very little support running.

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Nemo34 October 02, 2012 11:26 am

Bullshit. A forward pass is a forward pass. That's among the first things your learn in rugby school. When you attend one of course...

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katman October 02, 2012 1:21 pm

Your learn? Bloody rugby schools.

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Sydney Subby October 03, 2012 4:54 am

Can someone explain what Slipper's sin-binning was for? I only got to watch the highlights, but it looks to me like the tackled player was isolated and that both Wallaby players were well within their rights to try to pilfer the ball. Maybe another angle showed that Slipper did not maintain his feet?

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Jon October 03, 2012 6:43 am

Sydney, it wasn't legit at all in my opinion.
Slipper seemed to have every right to play the ball, he was on his feet, entered through the gate, wasn't the tackler so didn't have to release.
The Bok support was too slow.
The ref just made a decision that Australia had to release for some reason, penalised them, then decided because the Boks were on the attack it deserved a yellow.
Very, very harsh call.
Wrong call in my opinion, should have been a turnover to Australia.

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Eggman October 03, 2012 2:32 pm

If Slipper stayed on his feet I'd agree with you, I'm not sure though that he did. The angle we get from the camera doesn't really show whether he might be eaning on the bok player with his right leg. Rolland was better positioned to see that..
It looked fine from our angle though

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Jon October 04, 2012 2:44 am

Sure, that's true Eggman, though he was on his feet initially.

But it doesn't matter, Australia would still have I lost, I believe.

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Big Red October 05, 2012 8:49 am

I think it is a shame that the performance of Habana is over-looked by an argument about the laws. He scores three tries, sets up a couple of opportunities, has the presence of mind to take the quick lineout, stops a prop/ hooker from scoring from about 5-10 metres out and critically joins a rolling maul and turns and drives the ball carrying flanker to space to find the line. Cracking performance. Although the laws are contentious, I agree with Stroudos's argument and to be honest it is down to what the referee sees. Come on SA

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