[Line out] Asking for Numbers

Flish


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At a line out I ask the throwing captain (or pack leader) for numbers in the line (primarily as I need to know this) and pass this information on to the non throwing team, I believe this is the normal practice, certainly in RFU land, is this the same elsewhere?

I ask as I was listening to Luke Pearce today in Falcons vs Worcester and he basically refused to do this, not in a negative way, but was encouraging the two teams to talk to each other, that he would give each team time to change, telling them to assume full and drop as needed. His line was that he didn’t need to get involved and they hear enough of his voice anyway!

Which got me thinking, do we need to ‘ask’ numbers, is the onus really only to ensure minimum and maximum numbers are correct, sanction accordingly, and allow the non throwing team enough time to setup?
 

Dickie E


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Over here, we do not ask numbers nor do the throwing team offer this information. In fact, some teams have been known to call "all in" then put 5 or 6 in as a ploy to win a FK.

Generally, our only tool is to call "no numbers" if the throwing team doesn't give the opposition time to match numbers.

Up until a few years ago there was a law that required the throwing team to allow time for the opposition to match. That law, unfortunately, is now gone.

It is frequently a mess with players scrambling in or out but that's rugby.
 

SimonSmith


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It’s a crappy FK, and usually non-material.

I ask for numbers as we form, and tell the non throwing team, and give them time to adjust. If they STILL get it wrong, they’re getting done for being stupid/not being able to count.
 

Dickie E


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I ask for numbers as we form,

is that standard practice in AS? What is the sanction if they decline to give you an answer or if their answer is untrue?
 

Flish


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I ask for numbers as we form, and tell the non throwing team, and give them time to adjust. If they STILL get it wrong, they’re getting done for being stupid/not being able to count.

Yup, happens, had one Friday night, 5 called, 6 in - claimed he was the receiver, at the end of the line :shrug:
 

crossref


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On contrast with LP, During Bristol v Leicester I noticed Ian Tempest frequently asking for numbers.
I think different refs do it different ways.

I leave them to it UNLESS it is causing a problem , and then would get involved
 

SimonSmith


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is that standard practice in AS? What is the sanction if they decline to give you an answer or if their answer is untrue?
I don't know if it is or not - there's a lot that's non standard here, including unlimited interchanges.

I've never had that come up, to be honest. I think the smarter forwards see it as zero sum - if they mess about, the opposition will, and then we all have to start counting and that's no good, so why not comply?
I suspect that if it did come up, I'd simply say "wrong number, no free kick" and sell it. 80% of the players also play mongoball, so they have no idea anyway...
 

crossref


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It used to be the Law that the throwing in team were required to give their opponents time to match numbers

They changed that to say, rather, that the opponents will not be penalised if they don't have time

[LAWS]Unless the throw is taken as soon as the lineout is formed, the non-throwing team may not have more players (but may have fewer players) in the lineout than the throwing team. Sanction: Free-kick. [/LAWS]
 

Dickie E


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It used to be the Law that the throwing in team were required to give their opponents time to match numbers

They changed that to say, rather, that the opponents will not be penalised if they don't have time

[LAWS]Unless the throw is taken as soon as the lineout is formed, the non-throwing team may not have more players (but may have fewer players) in the lineout than the throwing team. Sanction: Free-kick. [/LAWS]

I preferred the old way. It meant I could actively manage the situation by blowing time off and allowing the non-throwing team to organise their numbers in a calm & orderly manner.

Now its a free-for-all, with me calling "no numbers" and the non-throwing team desperately trying to get players out of the lineout to match in the back line.
 

crossref


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indeed.

WR need to work out whether it's important to have matched numbers or not.

I actually think that defenders with too many in the lineout gives an advantage to the throwing team - space/numbers out wide. Never really sure why the non-throwing team are penalised!
 

Jz558


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It is a real bugbear of mine. The ball goes out for the first lineout of the game and the defending side immediately start shouting for numbers. If/when it happens, I stop the game and explain to both sides that the throwing side is under no obligation to declare numbers but may do so and the defending side need to count in. I then say I will give both sides time to adjust. Generally sorts it out early on and gets rid of a tactic I suspect is actually used as a disruption technique.
 

Jz558


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how do you do that?

Apologies I didnt write that very clearly. I meant I would allow the non-throwing side to adjust to the correct numbers and it would apply to both sides throughout the game.
 

crossref


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the way the Law is currently worded just encourages all this silliness, it enables to the throwing side to create a little confusion about numbers that the non-throwing side don't really have time to adjust to. Irritating one team for no real benefit of the other.. and then reverse roles.


OK fun and games, and same for both sides, so just live with it --- but I don't think it helps to create a free flowing fun game of rugby.
 

crossref


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Apologies I didnt write that very clearly. I meant I would allow the non-throwing side to adjust to the correct numbers and it would apply to both sides throughout the game.

but how - if the throwing team proceed to throw the ball in .... you blow the whistle? because the Law doesn't really support that, merely saying that the no-throwing team would then not be penalisd.
 

Jz558


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It's very easy to manage on the very few occasions it happens and it's really not difficult to ask the non-throwing side to drop a player. Any delay is shorter than blowing for a free-kick and subsequent restart. If the throw is taken as soon as the lineout is formed let it go under 18.14.
 

Dickie E


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here's how most of my lineouts go.

Non-throwing team (Red) line up with 7 players.

Throwing team (Blue) dawdle in with maybe 5 lineout players and a receiver and maybe 6 lineout players and no receiver. Hooker is ready to throw.

As is my nature, I will try to help a team avoid infringing, so will tell Red to check numbers. Note that at this point I have no idea when the hooker is going to throw in.

Red see that they are overmanned and start trying to figure out who to drop.

As they do so, Blue throw ball in and I call "no numbers".

Blue players & spectators commence the usual "ref, numbers!" chant.

Hearing my call, Red players rejoin lineout/maul or hover around the 5 metre area.

What a schmozzle!

Is this the only rugby event where an offence is either committed or not committed based on how quickly a team can respond to the actions of the other team?
 

ianh5979


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Normally at 1st lineout I get teams to say what normal lineout numbers are. Only need to let opposition know if they are going to change it. I then expect non throwing in team to put in what normal numbers are and penalise if they don't.(ie if team sets regular lineout with 6 and opposition put in 7 at a future lineout they are liable as they know it should be 6), if throwing in team change it I will give opposition time to adjust if they were informed or no numbers if they weren't
 

Dickie E


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presumably if the ref calls "no numbers" before the throw occurs, the non-throwing team could chuck another 2 or 3 players out of their backline into the lineout
 

crossref


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I find that

- in most games the two teams cooperate more or less effectively to match lineout numbers, and the time taken to form up and throw in is steady and manageable. In this case everything is fine

- in some games one or both teams play silly b**rs and cause difficulty and tensions. when this happens the Laws are not hwelpful to the ref who has to manage it.
 
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