Friday Jun 22, 2018

Australian U20 Red Card shows exactly why this ruck law was brought in

Australian U20 Red Card shows exactly why this ruck law was brought in
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Comments

The recent amendment to the ruck laws that took effect in May explicitly addressed the kicking of a loose ball in a ruck, which is now illegal. At the U20 Championship, the application was instrumental in producing this red card between Australia vs Italy.

Italy’s Andrea De Masi was the recipient of a boot to the head by Australia’s Michael Wood while at the bottom of a ruck.

The amendment to 15.16(e) states: Players must not: kick, or attempt to kick, the ball out of a ruck. In Wood’s case, he also struck De Masi in the back of the head with his boot, contravening law 9.20(b) of Dangerous Play.

In this particular case, the referee felt he had no choice, as safety had become an issue, and brandished a red card. Australia went on to win the match 44-15.

While this was a perfect example of exactly why this law changed and the occurence it’s trying to prevent, controversial cards have become somewhat of a theme over the past two weekends. 

World Rugby reversed Angus Garder’s red card on Benjamin Fall for his collision with Beauden Barrett after just 12 minutes into the test in Wellington. That decision then prompted Rugby Australia to come to Gardner’s defence.

While we often question law changes, especially experimental (‘nipple line’, anyone?), this change in particular is a good example of them working and being correctly applied.

Credit: World Rugby

28 Comments

  •  drg
    drg

    Actually... technically speaking intent is not an officials job to decide - however due to the laws tying themselves in knots over and over, it seems like intent is something they're having to judge now more and more - which is actually why we're probably seeing more.and more inconsistencies - some referees applying the law by wording, others applying it by "spirit": Mike Brown v Huget 'headbutt' = "both being very immature" whereas others have equalled red cards.. As for counter rucking, there is a time and a place for it - under defended rucks etc. What I see a lot in pro rugby now (not grass roots) is 1-2 man rucks, followed by a scrum half whisking the ball away, given the speed, it's no wonder people feel the need for a kick or something, especially if a scrum half is reaching for the ball.

    Reply
  •  ordiemike
    ordiemike

    I can honestly understand why the rule was implemented and I agree with it. I've been a Rugger for 12Yrs now. As a loose head prop, two of my favorite things are the Ruck and the Scrum! I don't just Love it, I LIVE for the scrum! Followed a close second by the Ruck. Maybe it's just me, but I love pitting my strength and ability against my opponent. It's a test of my skill, technique and sheer will. To connect and drive an opponent back off the ball in a counter ruck is amazing. The thought of fly hacking or kicking the ball out of a ruck has never occurred to me. I don't understand why anyone would deliberately waste a ruck. Even if you get driven off, it just motivates you to give more the next time. As I said, I understand the "safety" reasoning for the rule. I agree with it because I feel it is intended to bring back traditional rucking as well as counter rucking. A few others mentioned they don't see much contested rucks anymore. If I'm going into a ruck, it's to contest it. I will counter ruck any chance I get, because every one is a chance I win possession for my side. Also, as a forward, I was taught that one of my primary responsibilities is to support the team by maintaining possession in the ruck and gaining possession with the counter ruck. Everyone understands that Rugby is inherently dangerous and accidents do happen. That's why it's the officials job to determine if it was intentional dangerous play or negligence which directly resulted in a dangerous play situation. There's really no need IN MY OPINION to be fly hacking or kicking at the ball in a ruck anyway. Let the boys contest the ball! Scrummie can get it to the backs. But if no one makes progress, call a failure to advance the ball and set a scrum or penalty kick or whatever the official deems necessary. Fly hacking is simply a dick move out of laziness.

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    It's very strange how the game has changed over the years, like most, I started in my schooling years, learned 7's to begin with, then 15's, of course the game as a mite differs slightly to the adult set up, but I find the change in adult game that I started playing Vs the adult game now more than the junior to senior change! .. and I started playing seniors for a club maybe 12 yrs ago? (Slightly less I think). There has been lots of positive changes in the game before I came along. I personally have no issues with cards being there for referees to use, however I feel that in the games I watch there is almost a target that referees have to sin bin at least one player a match. It's funny to hear you mention rucks, I sort of feel that because I've been so involved I've sort of lost sight of some of the changes, but yes, I recall now, school boy level all piling into rucks, they were all competed for. Pretty much designed the game so forwards spent the game running after the ball and piling through rucks and backs got to play with it... I think my.main issue is that there is this drive.to make a dangerous game safe, but when you consider some of the nastiest injuries occur because of accidents, it seems pointless. How long has two players running for a high ball and colliding equalled a red card when one lands badly? 4 years now? More? Seems like the supposed message hasn't got through yet. You could pick hundreds of other topics and the answers would be the same, there are real foul play things I'm the game like shoulder charges and punches, which still haven't left the pitch in how many years?? So if you can't eradicate the angry brain fart activities, how are you going to eradicate the accidents? Hope your book goes well!

    Reply
  •  larry
    larry

    I love the sarcasm. Well, the Catholic Church has laws, and I would imagine the Anglican Church does too. Laws and dispensations. Remember the Australian one? Thanks for the backup. Remember when all paragraphs were indented? That's something that has changed as well recently. I just wrote a book, and after sending in the Word version to the publisher, and having it formatted for a 5" by 7" novel, the first paragraph of any chapter was not indented. There are few players involved in rucks anymore. I still don't see why a ball should not be allowed to be kicked out of one. With so few people in rucks, accidentally kicking someone in the head is rarely going to happen. I have on DVD a highlight film of the '67 All Blacks playing in the UK. In the Scotland match Colin Meads was sent off for fly hacking right near the head of the Scots scrum half. It was considered dangerous play. It was in open play, not a ruck situation. I think situations are the reason to make calls for red cards. As Pickay has listed all the things that can lead to a red card, it makes one wonder why the over-reaching strictness. If someone really takes aim at a player in the air, perhaps a red card. If it's incidental contact, and no one gets hurt in the process, why do anything more than call a penalty? I am old school, then, but as a referee, I have to make these calls. Luckily at this point of my refereeing career, at 64, I'm getting few men's matches and many more women's. The gals don't do a lot of foul play. They truly are out there to have fun and that's about it.

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    Yes but if it's dumbed down for all the plebeians to understand then it'll encourage ruffians to start playing and we'll see more and more cards and bans...

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    Oh really? I always thought they were rules? Either way, if you have the ability to say the word "laws" I don't think it's a particularly big deal to keep it laws. Why go through the effort of.changing it when you and I clearly know what they are... The "Laws" of the game...

    Reply
  •  andinov
    andinov

    Yup ... laws in football as well ...

    Reply
  •  finedisregard
    finedisregard

    You're right Andinov. Rugby is a game designed by the English middle and upper classes.

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    Scrums are no contest, 3 props, albeit one generally more spritely, 2 locks and 3 8's generally shoving as hard as they can, no hooker.. I'd be tempted to bring in a law requiring a hook, or something, or at least police the 9's so they aren't feeding! Lifting in lineouts is great imo, as a second row, there is a physical battle, there is also a mind battle. Stamping in rucks? Was that ever a thing? I thought we had rucking only? And the rucking has been removed (a rubbish idea).

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    ....get the f*ck out then and trundle on down to the soccer field..

    Reply
  •  andinov
    andinov

    "Australian U20 Red Card shows exactly why this ruck law was brought in" Does anyone else think the use of the term 'law' is idiotic? They're clearly rules. Besides for snobbish nerds to push up their glasses, raise a finger and say 'well actually ...", I don't see any benefit to this misnomer.

    Reply
  •  andinov
    andinov

    It's Australian commentators speaking about an Australian match! This happens with every country, England and Ireland are dreadful for partisanship. I think the kiwi's are often the best

    Reply
  •  larry
    larry

    I played rugby for quite a number of years. I never felt like I was in danger playing. I saw a few teammates and a few in the opposition suffer from some serious injuries, but few were head injuries. I saw a compound fracture of the leg once, at least one player break an ankle, and quite a few shoulder separations, more form playing on hard grounds and hitting that hard ground shoulder first. I myself had each shoulder suffer that injury. If there was one sport in which I got into hassles with people, with at least two times leading to punch ups, in which someone can get killed from a knock on the temple, it was from surfing.

    Reply
  •  larry
    larry

    I agree. I do not like many of the laws that have been in place since 1993. I got into refereeing because I wanted to continue to be involved in the sport. I have had to make plenty of calls over the years, and whether I liked the law change of not, I had to do what I had to do. That doesn't mean I do not continue to like refereeing. If a game has a good ebb and flow to it, law changes don't really mean much. A team that passes the ball well, keeps the ball alive, and motors downfield isn't going to be playing the multiple phase game that rugby has devolved into all too often. And it is in that multiple breakdown/recyle/breakdown scenario that has led to so many of the game's law changes. What we have now is a form of rugby league in which defenders fan out across the field to mark anyone not involved in the breakdown. They don't need to, as possession of the team with the ball is nearly guaranteed. At least the Saracens counter rucked in that finals match, as they weren't going to let Exeter keep the ball if they could contest for it themselves. The game needs more of that type of play!

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    Actually Larry, that's an extremely good point that is so obvious, but I hadn't particularly considered, more "champagne rugby" is leading to more tackles and considering world rugby issued some stats saying that (was it) 70% of head injuries in the tackle are to the tackler.. so you'd think encouraging tackles would be counterintuitive..

    Reply
  •  larry
    larry

    Yeah, well, I refereed this past season, for about the fifteenth year. Of course I don't call players for hanging on to the ball on the ground, as long as they get rid of it as quickly as possible. I do not allow players to hang on to it too long, over a few seconds. That means a player has two seconds, one thousand one, one thousand two, to roll over, squirm, crawl, whatever it takes to get the ball positioned on his or her side of the breakdown. I'm not giving a whole lot of time, and either should any referee at any level. It still says in the law book the ball must be released immediately. When it gets over a few seconds, someone from the other team more than likely is going to get into a position to grab onto the ball and rob it away. At that point, I'm either going to call the tackled player for not releasing, or if the defender fell over the tackled player in trying to take it away, a penalty on the defender for not keeping his or her feet, or not allowing release of the ball.

    Reply
  •  larry
    larry

    First of all, I have just finished another season of refereeing for the Nothern California Rugby Union Referee Society. I called at least one penalty this past season for a university woman kicking a ball through a ruck in a women's college match. That law change was put in place just about a year ago. Whether I make calls on the pitch or not has nothing to do with my personal opinion of the laws. Of course I make calls as I should. That doesn't mean I like or think that all these law changes over the past few decades have been good for the game. I don't think they have been. Regarding more running in the game with ball in hand, it means more tackles over all, and guess what has been the outcome of that? More concussions! The art of kicking tactically to gain ground and keep possession is a thing of the past. I did not, for instance, like the change in law where a player outside his or her own 22 could not pass the ball to a teammate inside the 22 to have a kick directly into touch. From that law change alone there has been more attempts of teams to try to run out of their own quarter. More than half the time it isn't successful, but more importantly, instead of having a lineout where there rarely are head injuries, unless there's foul play and a punch thrown, and that doesn't happen much anymore in lineouts, there instead is the attempt of a team to run out of its own quarter, meaning there's more than likely going to be a tackle or two made by a charging defense. More tackles, more concussions. As far as allowing players to "position" themselves to lay back ball on their side of a breakdown, it's the number one reason rucks are barely ever contested anymore, and the game has devolved into some form of rugby league. When players had to release a ball right away, a contest to possess the ball from either team was on! Now it's not, except for the occassional counter ruck, which Saracens did quite nicely recently

    Reply
  •  finedisregard
    finedisregard

    Scrums are worse, there is less of a contest than ever. Ref interpretations are made by guessing. Stamping in rucks is a positive good that prevents what we have now (which is a bunch of rugby players on the ground.) Lifting in lineouts are worse, again less of a contest. I wonder if you consider players pretending to be hurt as progression? You kids are jacking up a great sporting tradition.

    Reply
  •  leggaj5
    leggaj5

    At least 69 year ban actually

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    I'd like to know if the Italian went off injured? Sure I'd imagine it wasn't comfortable but it doesn't look like a street fight boot to the head, or even that South American rugby player who properly kicked an opponent in the head. I don't have an issue with an attempt to somewhat keep us all safe, but it's ignorant to try and convince the world rugby is safe. The sport that we know, is being vastly altered to make it "safe" but it's becoming far less the sport we know and more like some hybrid something or other.. Take boxing for instance, that has changed in elements, but there is a recognised level of "yeh, it's dangerous"... Rugby is attempting to appease the masses of mum's by making the game "safe" and the problem is you're leading into the realms of policing accidents... Head clashes are nasty, but now we NEED to hold someone accountable, and really, what difference does it make? If you ACCIDENTALLY clash heads, getting a red card or not won't make a difference to the next time accidentally clash heads. This? I don't know, the days of fly hacking seem to be off, but I was actually wondering if he was overly attempting to kick the ball, looks like he's lifting and driving the opponent back, moves his foot and bam...

    Reply
  •  pickay
    pickay

    Rrrrright... So I reckon you would give the aussie bloke a quadruple red and a 35 year ban then?

    Reply
  •  leggaj5
    leggaj5

    You could literally die if someone kicked you in the temple hard enough.

    Reply
  •  benny
    benny

    You act like we're still playing by the same laws that were set down at Rugby school. The game is not the same, neither is the ball, the uniforms, the people, the medical research or anything else. Protecting the player or not, rucking as far as I was ever aware was to be done backwards to win the ball, not to disrupt the opposition, which is just cynical. The laws changed recently, I haven't seen a single game that would have benefited from fly hacking as you call it but here's an instance when someone has been kicked in the head under the old law. I don't see how this is even controversial.

    Reply

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  • totally agree with Tphillips you clearly havent actually refereed a game in quite a while if you think the ball must be released immediately.. as for the no kicking in the rucks rule, i think it actually makes the game better.. nothing worse for a scrum half than having his hands booted or the ball suddenly flying out the side of a ruck as for the statement there hasn't been a positive law change in 25 years?? passing the ball back into the 22 and kicking it straight out?? the scrum set up? stamping in the ruck? lifting in the line out?? you dont own the sport, dont be so ignorant to the progression

    Reply
  •  finedisregard
    finedisregard

    Tphillips, You are being silly. Trying to change rugby to make it safe is the road to ruin. Fly hacking has been a part of rugby since William Webb Ellis. This is an accidental mistake that should result in a penalty to Italy. If you'd like to play a less physically robust sport then you should do so, just stop fiddling with something that has worked for 195 years. There has not been one positive law change in 25 years. The Law Book is 4x what it was 25 years ago. You guys are ruining this sport.

    Reply
  •  tphillipsstl
    tphillipsstl

    My guess is that you are either no longer practicing as a ref or you have not been to any updated trainings is years. World Rugby has decided (and I agree) that we as a rugby community need to be more careful about dangerous situations involving the head and potential brain injuries. Hacking at a ball when a player is on the ground near it is dangerous. Therefore, kicking at a ball in the ruck is illegal. End of story. It is still legal to try and hook the ball backward, as that require much more control and limits the potential for an accidental hack at a head. This incident is specifically the reason for the new rule. Like it or not that is the law, if you are a ref and are not enforcing the laws as written you need to start, or stop reffing. Now as far as releasing the ball immediately, the way rugby at the highest levels is being reffed these days is to give deference to the attacking team. The higher ups want to see more running rugby and tries scored, and less of a slog at the breakdown and set pieces. That has trickled down to the lower levels and most are being more lenient on how much time a player has to release the ball when tackled, while very strict about how long a tackler has to release the ball carrier. I agree that it's probably gone to far. But this is in no way a reason to hack at a ball near someone's head on the deck. That can't be allowed.

    Reply
  •  larry
    larry

    First of all, rucks are supposed to be contested with the feet, not the hands, or it's hands in the rucks. Second, I do not see why kicking a ball out of a ruck should be a penalty! I am a referee, by the way. It seems to me the kick to the head was rather accidental, but here's another issue I have with rugby since the laws were changed so many years ago already to help the team with the ball keep it after a tackle. Of course the law says a ball must be released immediately upon a player being brought to ground, but that's not true. A tackled player CAN hang on to the ball, roll around a few times on the ground, reposition him or herself to present the ball to his or her side of the pitch, and so on. That IS NOT releasing the ball immediately! The player tackled had the ball in hand on the ground for a few second of time. Where's the whistle for hanging on to the ball after the tackle?

    Reply
  •  gonzoman
    gonzoman

    Some of the Aussie commentators drive me nuts - the referee has got it right, and has also explained the reasoning quite clearly; yet, they are shocked and don't believe what's happening...

    Reply

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Australian U20 Red Card shows exactly why this ruck law was brought in | RugbyDump - Rugby News & Videos