Wednesday Jun 17, 2015 Referees to get stricter as tackle and scrums laws amended

Referees to get stricter as tackle and scrums laws amended
18
Comments

Ahead of September’s Rugby World Cup, the governing body, World Rugby announced that current laws will be more strictly enforced by referee, assistant referees and television match officials.

The World Rugby Laws Representation Group (LRG) met in April and agreed on the implementation of certain rules, such as in-the-air contact – which has developed into a highly contentious issue in recent months – truck-and-trailer at mauls and feeding in the scrums.

The group decided that from now on, any player making a high or so-called choke tackle around the neck can be at risk of being sin-binned or sent off. It also said that dangerous clean-outs around the neck at rucks and mauls must be penalised.

The main enforcement changes are as follows:

High Tackles and Neck contact – Law 10.4(e)

  • Every time the head or the neck is deliberately grabbed or choked, the offending player runs the risk of receiving a yellow or red card
  • Cleanouts around the neck must be penalised

Challenging players in the air – Law 10.4(i)

  • Play on – Fair challenge with both players in a realistic position to catch the ball. Even if the player(s) land(s) dangerously, play on
  • Penalty only – Fair challenge with wrong timing – No pulling down
  • Yellow card – Not a fair challenge, there is no contest and the player is pulled down landing on his back or side
  • Red card – Not a fair challenge, there is no contest and the player lands on his head, neck or shoulder

Scrum feed – Law 20.6(d)

  • Ensure that all scrum feeds are credible
  • FK if clearly not straight
  • Look for shoulders not being parallel
  • Manage the situation

Chairman of the LRG John Jeffrey said: “The eyes of the rugby-loving world will be on the Rugby World Cup later this year and, as always, there will be plenty of attention paid to the decisions of the match officials. The LRG has sought to clarify to players, coaches, media and spectators exactly what they can expect from referees in these key areas during the tournament.

“It was felt that law changes were not necessary in these areas but that referees needed to apply the current law more effectively in some cases.”

The full list of amended laws and video examples can be found by visiting the World Rugby website here

18 Comments

  •  larry
    larry

    Go back to the old laws regarding the maul and the problems you cite go away. And I will cite a very extreme example of what can happen. There was a try scored in a match that was on this site recently, the video that is (I think it was in the Under 20 WC), and when a truck and trailer started near the opponent's goal, no defenders joined the maul. It was quite hilarious to see four or five forwards, all bound together, running ahead of the ball carrier at the rear with no one on the opposition bound on, and it was an easy try. I guess the defenders were not defending to see if they could induce the referee to judge obstruction or sheparding having taken place. There was no such call. Try awarded. Well, I am from an earlier era of play, when the idea was to get in support of the ball carrier, not ahead as some sort of "clearer-outer."

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    Kuz, not sure where to start really; I guess I agreee with most of what you've written, but that "Clever move by England"? If you've actually watched any rugby over the last season or so, you'd see that competing for the high ball has been the most ridiculous farce we've had for a long long time. Players have been rightfully competing for the ball and have had to walk off the pitch following a red or yellow card. What I believe the new law changes have done, is help to fairly police that. I think the majority of competitions in recent years have been extremely fair and have not warranted any cards, so we'll see if it actually makes any difference to anyone...

    Reply
  •  kuz
    kuz

    Sorry for hogging the comments here. I just have one more gripe and that is, when the offensive team is given a penalty, they should be allowed to take a quick tap at every occasion. What the hell are these referees doing, in bringing back certain quick tips of the ball in the legal position behind the referee or on the spot of the penalty, yet some quick taps are allowed to proceed, often eventuating in tries. This could be the undoing of a World Cup final and I am very nervous about refs holding too much power here. If it's a quick tap and they get the ball back and tap the ball legally, then let the game flow for goodness sake. This opinion that I have, goes hand-in-hand with my previous comment

    Reply
  •  kuz
    kuz

    The other rule that I think has been highly unpoliced is how the defending team that is penaliwed, often throws the ball away. If a defending player is penalised, they should have to put the ball on the ground immediately. If the player has clearly heard and seen they referee award the penalty, then makes it difficult for the offensive half back to recover the ball, then the attacking team should get an extra 10 m.

    Reply
  •  kuz
    kuz

    Larry, I hear what you are saying, yet I think the truck and trailer is fair. This option as an offence will hold teams accountable for lack of communication and lack of unity at the maul. I think what needs to be policed is the person with be ball at the back of the rolling maul who has his hand on the bum of the last player and is acting like he is in the maul. I believe that the second the ball holder takes his shoulder off their team mates backside, then their should be a turnover given to the opposing side by way of a scrum. The way that refs left a loosey hang out at the back and look around like a ferret and spot openings is not in the spirit of rugby. I'd they are in the maul, they need to be in the maul and not have that advantage of sight. That is for the halfback to communicate to his players.

    Reply
  •  kuz
    kuz

    Pinging him (red card)

    Reply
  •  kuz
    kuz

    Clever move by England. Anything to give them and the advantage when they tell the referees that are on their payroll to ping the all Blacks in the final, probably with the full back jumping for a ball and purposely landing on his back after a fair contest of the ball with an all black. Watch out for this one.

    Reply
  •  larry
    larry

    Yes, it's been awhile since referees at first class rugby level really applied the straight down the middle of the front row feed law. How often does a scrum half even slightly turn toward his own scrum and spins the ball well under, even behind, the hooker's boots? Nick Farr was a pro at it.

    Reply
  •  larry
    larry

    It happened in '91. Players, especially forwards, were warned about barging into rucks, going past the ball and falling over, the so-called "over the top."

    Reply
  •  larry
    larry

    How often do you see scrum halves feed their second row and there's no call? Lots of times is the correct answer. As a ref I'm sure I've allowed a scrumhalf throwing the ball in with a slight spin towards his own hookers feet, and it's not so much I'm allowing that than a scrum half being quick enough and clever enough not to make it obvious. There's that "fine line" between what can be okay and not okay. How often, though, does a scrum half actually even turn slightly toward his own scrum, throws it in practically behind his hookers boots, and gets away with it? Much too often. Years ago players didn't jump up in the air so much to retrieve high kicks. Fullbacks used to turn a shoulder toward the opposition, and jumping just wasn't that common. In more recent times this jumping has become the way to play an up and under. Perhaps jumping for a ball in the air needs to be examined. Ban it? Maybe!

    Reply
  •  larry
    larry

    I didn't see anything regarding "truck and trailer," but that is something that needs to be banned. It is a play out of the early days of American football, circa 1890's early 1900's, the "flying wedge." It was banned in American universities in 1906, which corresponded with the decision in California to drop American football altogether and play rugby. Let's have a return to the old laws regarding mauls, where the ball carrier was pushed forward by his side, as he (she) was the spearhead of the maul, and only channeled the ball back when the maul became static. This moving screen of players (truck), in front of the ball carrier (trailer) is counter to the spirit and laws of rugby.

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    I'm not 100% sure a mid season change would be helpful in most circumstances. However I don't believe these changes are all that big...

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    I quite like the additional scrum laws... I mean, soon enough they'll manage to get every single part of the scrum written down... "Ensure that all scrum feeds are credible FK if clearly not straight" So is this a change? Were scrum feeds allowed to not be credible until these laws? Scrum feeds have been a joke for a long long time. Remember when hookers were guys like Keith Wood and not just a third prop? The second set of changes (to aerial ball/contact), I'm too lazy to see what has actually been amended, but I hope these changes are used sensibly. Also I would like the referees to take into consideration mitigating factors... for instance recently Parisse was carded (I think) for an incident that wasn't that bad, but he was held back which was a contributing factor.. Anyway, we can only hope these are all positive steps.

    Reply
  •  elvis15
    elvis15

    No problem with all three, and the first two are particularly welcome changes.

    Reply
  •  stroudos
    stroudos

    Curious timing for this - ie not very long before the world cup. But players won't be able to complain that they weren't given enough notice I suppose, seeing as there's nothing new, rather applying the rules correctly... I wonder what on earth "manage the situation" at scrumtime means. Isn't that simply a three-word job description for a ref's entire job?

    Reply
  •  hanji
    hanji

    YES! More reset scrums. World Rugby finally got all my e-mails!

    Reply
  •  eddie-g
    eddie-g

    The first two changes are over-due. The neck clear-outs have been a problem for too long, and the high-ball rules have been a nonsense recently. What is probably the best news is that they are giving back discretion to the refs - no mandatory cards for neck-holds, but full authority to the ref to hand one out if he thinks it was serious. And full authority to the ref to decide if the kick-chaser is making a fair challenge for the ball. That was taken away from them before, with some farcical results as a consequence (and the fault of the rules, not the refs). Not sure exactly what's been changed with the scrum-feed rule - maybe they just want the refs to be a bit stricter.

    Reply
  •  browner
    browner

    Re: necks - about time ! I'm sure JJ said something similar regarding 'straight' feeds a few years ago, ( NB.. law says "along the middle line" ) hopefully this time he means it!

    Reply

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