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What is a Forward Pass?

South African referee Mark Lawrence answers a question on the forward pass rule
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Thanks for the question, one which most spectators don't know or understand. If you ask them what is a forward pass, you get a lot of different answers but generally they all equate to .."when the man gets the ball in front of the passer". WHAT A LOAD OF RUBBISH! But that’s what they think because they have never read the law.

So firstly lets quote the law

Law 12 DEFINITION THROW FORWARD
A throw forward occurs when a player throws or passes the ball forward. ‘Forward’ means towards the opposing team’s dead ball line.

You will note they talk of "a throw forward" and this is an action which refers to the act of the pass, not the act of catching! What I am saying is that the spectator judges where the ball was caught. That is a forward catch at best and is not an infringement under law.

You see when someone driving a car at 100km/h throws a ball backwards out of the car and then brakes and stops. The ball will come past the car. Is that a throw forward? Never!

What happens is that the ball is travelling at the speed of the car (100km/h) when you throw it backwards at 20km/h it still has a forward momentum of 80km and that is why the ball moves forward , but it has not been thrown forward.

Now the rugby ball is the same. The player running with the ball at 30km/h pass the ball backwards at 20km/h. The ball has a forward momentum of 10km/h. That is about 2 metres per second if you convert from km to metres. That means that if the ball is in the air for 1 second it will drift forward by 2m. That is why when this player passes the ball perfectly flat as he reaches the 22m line, the ball will be caught 2 m into the 22m. That is not a forward pass but a forward catch and is not an infringement! But the spectators all call out forward pass and are aggrieved when the referee plays on.

3 Years, 1 Month ago

What is a Forward Pass?

"Definition: Throw Forward

A throw forward occurs when a player throws or? passes the ball forward. 'Forward' means towards the opposing team's dead ball line."

Where the ball travels is irrelevant to the rule, clearly.

3 Years, 1 Month ago

What is a Forward Pass?

You are right Mezza and I apologise for getting catty, it's obvious our disagreement is on semantics and not physics.

But I have to disagree with you still, it doesn't say what you're claiming, Mezza. It says a pass towards the goal line is forward, it says nothing about the ball traveling towards the goal line.

This video is from the IRB, it's on the IRB website and the IRB Youtube channel. If you Email the IRB they will clarify for you and confirm that the ball can indeed travel forward relative to the goal line, so long as the pass isn't thrown from the hands in a forward direction.

You may not like it, but that is the official IRB position.

3 Years, 1 Month ago

What is a Forward Pass?

The NRL in Australia are already looking into GPS technology to track forward passes. It's really not difficult to judge, you simply need to measure Initial location, End location, Initial velocity and Final velocity. GPS tech might take a few more years to get accurate enough, but it's something the IRB should also look into.

3 Years, 1 Month ago

What is a Forward Pass?

Sorry Einstein I was responding to Mezza with my last post.

3 Years, 1 Month ago

What is a Forward Pass?

No. The IRB state that the ball must not be passed towards the opposition goal line. It's right there, in writing! There's a clear distinction between passing a ball towards your opponents goal line and a ball traveling towards your opponents goal line. Or, at least, I thought it was quite clear.

How can the video be wrong? The IRB made the video! You can Email them and they will confirm for you that the rules are as I say they are, that a ball only needs to be passed flat or backwards(from the hands) and is free to travel wherever it pleases.

The physics is obvious. The ball moves forward because of the forward momentum that comes with throwing a ball while moving at speed. So long as the pass leaves the hands in a flat or backwards direction it is legal. If you're running and throw a pass backwards in direction it's still liable to travel some with the momentum generated from you passing at speed. v = ut 1/2at^2 - The Equations of Motion

However you are also wrong about air resistance, the wind can curve a ball. That's why higher passes almost always seem to travel forward. Throw a ball flat, high into the air on a windy day and watch the air curve the ball 15 meters forward.

In Rugby League they clarified it quite clearly for people who don't 'get' it - "The direction of a pass is relative to the player making it and not to the actual path relative to the ground. A player running
towards his opponents’ goal line may throw the ball towards a colleague who is behind him but because of the thrower’s own momentum the ball travels forward relative to the ground. This is not a forward pass as the thrower has not passed the ball forward in relation to himself."

All that matters is the direction in which the ball leaves your hands. That you throw the pass backwards or flat relative to where you are. Nothing else matters. The IRB are quite clear on this.

3 Years, 1 Month ago

What is a Forward Pass?

Also I think there is room for some rudeness and hostility to people like John who create lies to deceive other members. I am not going to be polite to people who peddle lies.

3 Years, 1 Month ago

What is a Forward Pass?

This video was made by the IRB, Mezza. The rule obviously isn't clear enough for people who cannot read, and the IRB felt it necessary to elaborate and clear up the misunderstanding for people like yourself.

Quite clearly the law says that the ball cannot be passed forward, not that the ball cannot travel forward. No where in the rules does it say the ball cannot travel forward relative to where it was thrown - If it does, then the rules are still bunk as the IRB clearly hold a different view in 2011.

If the ball is thrown in a direction that is flat or backwards, that is legal, no matter if it travels 20 foot forward. This is not me saying it - I am repeating the official line from the International Rugby Board, who make the rules and police the game.

If you and John were in charge of the game then about 40% of passes would be called forward and people would come to a complete stand-still before passing so to avoid being pinged. After all, it's near impossible to throw anything other than a forward pass while moving at speed, by your interpretation.

In fact, all the great team tries - Okay, 80% of them - are technically illegal, if we play by your rules.

3 Years, 1 Month ago

What is a Forward Pass?

What on earth are you talking about? Rugby League follows the same laws as in the video posted. The rule in Rugby League is clear - If you pass it flat or backwards, regardless of how the ball travels after it leaves your hands, it is legal. There is nothing confusing or difficult about it. It's Rugby - where the referees are incompetent and the supposedly intelligent fans cannot grasp basic physics - that has huge problems with the forward pass rule.

You also don't have a clue what you're talking about. It seems you're confusing yourself by being unable to read. You say, "The Law states that the ball must not be passed forward and forward is defined in the laws of the game as 'towards the opponents dead ball line'" - Ergo, the ball must not be passed towards the opponents dead ball line.

Well, that's exactly what the video RD posted is saying. The ball can TRAVEL where ever it likes, but it cannot be passed forward. The difference between passing a ball forward and a ball traveling forward is quite significant. I could lend you a dictionary if you're struggling with some of the language, however.

But there you go people, John says it so it must be true. If you throw a ball backwards over your head that's actually a forward pass, because RD User John says so.

3 Years, 1 Month ago

Rugby World Cup Daily - France to wear white as Craig Joubert gets final

Often it's easy to confuse a shit stadium and an empty stadium. I think Michaels point was that the stadiums being used are almost all shit, and look like something a second-tier, semi-professional sport would be played in. Hardly paints a good picture of Rugby to new fans. How a country without proper stadia or resources lands a World Cup is beyond me.

3 Years, 1 Month ago

 
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