Tuesday Jan 30, 2018

Ruan Pienaar's controversial stalling asks questions about the spirit of the law

Ruan Pienaar's controversial stalling asks questions about the spirit of the law
22
Comments

Montpellier got the better of Clermont in their Top 14 clash Sunday night, with former Springbok and Ulster scrum half Ruan Pienaar pulling in a 15-point haul in the 30-29 victory. However, the performance was not without some discussion, as Pienaar made a meal of the time allotted when kicking the game-winning conversion. 

Montpellier led just 17-16 at the break, and the second half was also back and forth before a Malietoa Hingano try and Greig Laidlaw conversion put Clermont up by six. 

With three minutes to play, giant winger Nemani Nadolo crossed for a try bringing Montpellier within one. As the try was close to the posts, the conversion was almost an afterthought.

But Pienaar, with all his experience, was completely content to use the full 90 seconds allotted for the conversion.

Amidst boos and whistles from the crowd and with only seconds to play, Pienaar finally slotted the conversion. Could Clermont have actually pulled off the win in the time remaining? No one knows for certain. Thus begins the argument between spirit of the law and sportsmanship. 

Nonetheless, the win sees Montpellier move into the top spot on the Top 14 table, with 51 points. 

Was it outside the bounds of sportsmanship, or was it merely a crafty move from an intelligent player, ensuring a win for his team?

Credit: canalplus

22 Comments

  •  dancarter
    dancarter

    I played 7s at school level and was a prop in the scrums. Some of the guys I played against were probably close to a foot taller than me and a couple of stone heavier. Either they were genetically gifted, or more likely, they were picking guys outside our age range. Either way I have never been shoved backwards so quickly. I only had 1 or 2 games at flanker unfortunately. It's great fun. The worst bit about the front row in 15s is that by the time you get out of the scrum the opposition can have scored.

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    After being reminded of Paul Blart 'the mall cop' I had a brainwave, props learn to use a Segway and kick...that way they can make their way up to the kicking spot easy enough on the Segway then kick the ball, all within 30 secs!!!

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    Haha 7's scrums are by far the most ridiculous thing I ever had the (dis)pleasure of being part of... That being said, being stuck in the boiler house of a 15's scrum into exactly the most wonderous experience... Lining up the oppo ten and already committing to the hit whilst loosely hanging onto the edge of a scrum is by far the most enjoyable experience...

    Reply
  •  dancarter
    dancarter

    He'd be lucky to be there within the next geological era, never mind with 5 seconds left. Saying that, I played in the front row and I took the drop goals for my team in 7s. I was a distinctly average scrummager but I could knock over drop goals from anywhere inside 30-35 metres...in hindsight I can see why I never made it out of amateur level rugby.

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    Good point....

    Reply

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  • A prop running from his own tryline to go and take a conversion after a teammate scored? Will still only leave him with about 5 seconds to take the kick.....

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    ....then props should learn to kick, cos like fuck are they going to sprint 95m...

    Reply

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  • People on here calling for the time to be cut down to 30 seconds..... Put yourself in this hypothetical scenario: You are the goalkicker of your team, your team is 6 points down and you are defending for dear life on your own tryline, the pass goes wide and you intercept and run all of 95 meters to score in the corner as the cross defense didn't allow you to go under the posts. You're lying on the ground trying to catch your breath and the ref says: "Ok mate, you have 30 seconds to take the conversion."

    Reply
  •  dancarter
    dancarter

    Some referees do stop the clock for scrums if there are delays due to things like resets or waiting for subs to come on.

    Reply
  •  moo
    moo

    No real need at lineouts, as the referee already has a free-kick sanction for delaying the throw/can penalise the defending side for closing the gap, etc. But for scrums with all the supposed no-fault resets, yeah why not?

    Reply
  •  elvis15
    elvis15

    You can say stop the clock, but then why not stop it between scrums and lineouts? Where does that line get drawn between plays? He's got 90 seconds, and is free to use almost every inch of it to make sure he slots the kick that puts them up by one to potentially win the game. Then he's free to use a few more half inches to make sure there's very little time left for the other team to come back and score. Sure, it's more than he needed, but it's his risk to take himself out of that setup rhythm for what is generally an easy kick. After all that he slotted it even when there was an early charge down just prior. Cool as a cucumber.

    Reply
  •  pkamsoo
    pkamsoo

    It was within his rights to use up the alloted time for the conversion. So no issue there. Maybe the law can be amended to allow for 90 seconds to be taken for the conversion but to stop the clock after the try and restart after the conversion. Food for thought. Would apply for penalties as well.

    Reply
  •  dancarter
    dancarter

    He has 90 seconds to take the kick and he used them, so I don't think this is bad sportsmanship at all. If Pienaar kicked the conversion quickly then Clermont had won a penalty or kicked a drop goal to win it afterwards then people would be asking why he didn't take his time with the conversion. As Reality says, I think the issue is with the law that allows 90 seconds for a conversion. I don't think the issue is with Pienaar at all.

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    Probably stop the main clock and 90 seconds for the sake of everyone elses' sanity would be the best course...

    Reply
  •  tommarshall89
    tommarshall89

    This is one of those things that gets flagged when it happens, it hasn't changed the outcome of many, if any other games for a fair while (ready to be corrected if wrong!) and therefore is probably irrelevant. Contradicting myself, it could also be much like the rule change at the breakdown when England played Italy last 6N and the laws get amended to be in line with a penalty where it must be taken 'with out delay'? Who knows, but I applaud his thinking!

    Reply
  •  tommarshall89
    tommarshall89

    Why blame the referee? It's perfectly within the laws...

    Reply
  •  rugbydump
    rugbydump

    As annoying as it is to make mistakes (usually typos or brain fades), the note is appreciated. Feel free to shoot us a private email in future though ;) Yeah, Pienaar had to be pretty confident in his ability to mess about like that knowing his team was still behind and many a kicker have blown easy kicks before. #thuglife

    Reply
  •  reality
    reality

    It's more a problem of the law-makers. 90 seconds for a conversion is absurd. The intelligent thing to do would be stop the clock as soon as the try is scored and restart after the conversion. That way the time factor is completely removed and nobody worries about taking too long or too little. I'd say Pienaar was crafty rather than unsporting.

    Reply
  •  flanker2712
    flanker2712

    Is there any reason why the laws shouldn't be changed so the clock would stop between the try being scored and the conversion kicked? The clock did seem to stop at 53 for a few seconds. Any idea why that was? Seems like Pienaar then turned to the ref and said something and the seconds magically started counting down again. I don't think Pienaar did anything wrong here. But I did find myself wanting him to miss the kick!

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    Not that I'm planning on making a habit of error checking, but according to the video it says Clermont were currently winning 29-28, so this kick gave Montpellier a 1 point lead (rather than 2 as written).... Which brings me onto this, bearing in mind if he misses, Montpellier will probably lose, if he slots it they'll probably win... It's hard to knock the guy for ensuring he's 100% for that kick (regardless of how straightforward it was)... especially as he did so within the laws of the game... However...had he fluffed it somehow, he probably would have wished he had that extra minute or so afterwards...

    Reply
  •  finedisregard
    finedisregard

    You just have to laugh. Don't blame the player blame the ref.

    Reply
  •  moo
    moo

    Don't blame him for trying (and succeeding). But the referee maybe should have told him to get on with it or stopped the watch? Probably not within his remit though. Do I recall Owen Farrell doing something kind of similar, asking the referee 'How long have I got left?'?

    Reply

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Ruan Pienaar's controversial stalling asks questions about the spirit of the law | RugbyDump - Rugby News & Videos