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Thursday Mar 30, 2017

The peculiar Vannes vs Narbonne 'no maul' stand off

The peculiar Vannes vs Narbonne 'no maul' stand off
18
Comments

Last weekend’s ProD2 clash between Vannes and Narbonne will hardly be remembered as being a classic. Soggy conditions made fast-flowing open rugby virtually impossible in a game which saw Vannes run out 24-16 winners.

But what will invariably stand out is a bizarre moment of play, in which both sides tried to exploit the laws of the game to their advantage.

Having employed their own version of the “tackle only” ruling inspired by the Southern Hemisphere, Italy aren’t the only team in 2017 to try something different.

Vannes attempted to form a maul from a line-out and would have successfully done so were it not for a severe lack of Narbonne players required to form one. Instead, they stood off, perhaps in the hope that the Vannes players advanced and putting one of them in front of the ball carrier and conceding a penalty.

Referee Mathieu Delpy looked as perplexed as the Narbonne faithful at the Parc des Sports et de l’Amitié as neither side budged an inch. Delpy eventually awarded Vannes a scrum.

The trick Narbonne missed was the fact that since no maul was actually formed, they could have easily ran round to the back of the maul, closed off the exit and win the penalty.

It was a tactic the Italians also used during the 6 Nations between 2006 and 2007 to great effect. There, players were able to run seemingly offside and tackle the ball carrier of the opposition at the back of the unformed maul.

According to the laws of the game, it is unclear whether Delpy awarded the scrum for an unsuccessful maul or simply as a means to restart the game.

An unsuccessful maul can be defined via Law 17.6(d) as such: When a maul remains stationary or has stopped moving forward for more than 5 seconds, but the ball is being moved and the referee can see it, a reasonable time is allowed for the ball to emerge. If it does not emerge within a reasonable time, a scrum is ordered.

Since no maul was formed, it is perhaps the latter ruling Delpy employed.

View Vannes’ unusual line-out maul tactic, and Narbonne’s reaction:

And Italy’s similar tactics in the 6 Nations:

18 Comments

  • larry
    7:28 PM 06/04/2017

    The ironic thing is the team without the ball, by not BINDING, maul or ruck, are creating a case to contest and attack the ball carrier directly. Perhaps this practice is going to bring back actual contesting of ball in the loose. Counter rucking rarely occurs, and 'truck and trailer' is just legalized obstruction.

    Reply
  • larry
    7:24 PM 06/04/2017

    The changes in laws are going to mean that this sort of play is the result. The ball really isn't contested anymore in the loose as it used to be. And if it was, perhaps the backs might have some space again.

    Reply
  • 12:20 PM 06/04/2017

    Use it or lose it

    Reply
  • larry
    10:32 PM 05/04/2017

    Look at the definitions of what a maul is, and what a ruck is. There needs to be binding/contact by opposing players. If there is none, then there is no ruck, or maul, and that ball is free for the side not in possession to go in and try to take away. Basically this situation, like that Italy England match, seems to be one of free play because there is no ruck or maul that has formed. By the way, one of the last penalties I gave recently was for hands in the ruck, when a player dropped her bind on an opposing player and bent over to pick up the ball that was on the ground, having been released by the tackled player on the other team. She thought she became the acting scrum half in doing so. I told her she wasn't and needed to heel the ball back.

    Reply
  • larry
    7:37 PM 05/04/2017

    Lineouts, rucks, now mauls: if ball possession isn't contested anymore, one might just want to scrap rugby union and install rugby league rules!

    Reply
  • larry
    7:36 PM 05/04/2017

    Since lifting was allowed back twenty years ago, 80% of the time there is no contest for line out ball. What's better? Having a real contest by players jumping for ball with only their feet to push off the ground, and the occasional barging and elbowing, or just letting at least 8 out of 10 line outs get "won" by the team throwing in but rarely any penalties as a result? Then this stuff happens, and it's back to 'square one.'

    Reply
  • larry
    7:28 PM 05/04/2017

    It happened because rugby laws have been changed for the worse over the last few decades. I'll go back to what Stephen Jones, the rugby writer, said back in 1993: "After a successful 1991 Rugby World Cup, why all the law changes?"

    Reply
  • larry
    7:27 PM 05/04/2017

    The changes in maul law that has allowed the "truck and trailer," otherwise what I call legalized obstruction, need to be changed back to the old law! These modern mauls are nothing more than blatant obstruction totally giving advantage to the side with the ball. There was nothing wrong with the old law that would not allow what really is American football style blocking for the person holding the ball at the maul's base.

    Reply
  • breakaway
    5:23 AM 03/04/2017

    "in this case, the jumper still has the ball in his hands" Is this clear? Does the jumper still have the ball or was it passed back to #19. If the jumper still has it then presumably the white team could drive forward through the yawning gap that red has left in the lineout, and gain a few easy metres. If #19 white has the ball then a maul has formed, and red players can run round and tackle him. But it seems to me that both the jumper and #19 have the ball, which leaves us in a sort of rugby laws twilight zone, stranded between a lineout and a maul. I think the ref should call "use it", wait a reasonable amount of time (as for an unresolved ruck or maul) and then order a scrum. If neither team is moving forward, which is clearly the case here, then the put-in should go to the attacking side, again as per an unsuccessful ruck or maul. Maybe that's what happened here.

    Reply
  • joeythelemur
    4:38 AM 03/04/2017

    Good old Nigel Owens in that Italy-England match. Clear and accurate as usual.

    Reply
  • rdump0
    5:36 PM 01/04/2017

    Exactly. What I find most astonishing here is that ALL players involved know exactly they should not move. It looks like they all knew exactly the rule here. As opposed to most of us here who have to dig out the laws to understand what has happened!!!

    Reply
  • 45678
    11:03 AM 01/04/2017

    I've always wondered if the non competing team should be penalised for leaving the line out before it is complete.

    Reply
  • im1
    12:21 PM 31/03/2017

    good point This is where the ref just needs to grow some balls and give the defending team a scrum or lineout or free kick if the attacking team don't 'use it' quick enough.

    Reply
  • fm87
    6:12 PM 30/03/2017

    thanks - couple question though, isn't the lineout over? the ball is transfered in de first sec of the video(?) why was a scrum awarded favouring th whites?

    Reply
  • nhunter
    5:45 PM 30/03/2017

    Thanks Didier - the plot thickens. Interesting as to why this happened. But why was it scrum white, and what possible advantage is this to either side, if it just transfers from a line out to a scrum? Seems a tactic with no real advantage, unless you are trying to run the clock down. Interesting times when all coaches are testing the rule book.

    Reply
  • didier
    5:14 PM 30/03/2017

    Actually, this is more complicated than it looks, the reason why the red team can not go around the "Maul" as we saw sometimes in similar situations like the Italy video you are showing, is that in this case, the jumper still has the ball in his hands (it wasn t transfered in the "maul" to the players behind him), therefore, the lineout is not completed, so no-one can move past the lineout line. So basically, if the jumper transfers the ball to the next guy in the maul:lineout over, the reds can go around and grab the ball carrier. -- If the "maul" moves forward: lineout over, so the reds can go around as well. By not moving and not transfering the ball, we are in an unsolvable conundrum (from what I gathered in the french rugby blogs, the reason why the players all seem to know what's happening is that this exact situation had happened earlier in the game, the red team went behind the maul, and the referee penalized them rightly. That's why everyone is frantically looking at the ref to understand what they can do...) A tweet from a great rugby refereeing twitter account explaining the situation (he answers to all types of questions in the responses to that tweet: https://twitter.com/EspritdelaRegle/status/845595650796519425

    Reply
  • colombes
    3:44 PM 30/03/2017

    i heard somebody grumpily wail "it's not rugby" more seriously, it's this kind of astonishing defence tactics which will help players and managers to find astonishing ways to attack it.

    Reply
  • m.meuble
    2:06 PM 30/03/2017

    From what I heard (but could not see the game), Narbonne had been penalized just before for going around the formed maul and tackling the ball carrier. (ref mistake?). They tried because they had been severly destroyed by Vannes' mauls in the game. Then traumatized by the former lineout, it gave the following sequence. Ahhh rugby and rules.

    Reply


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