Back foot in a ruck.

Andy P

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Saw in a game mid week. A ruck over a tackled player. He ended up flat with his feet pointing towards his scrum half and has placed the ball quickly down the side of his body. His pack, on their feet!!) drive past him until his legs were out of the back of the ruck and the ball was then by his shins with clear sky above it.

The opposition players not involved in the ruck stayed at their back foot and waited for the scrum half to play the ball. wasn't it already out once pack have driven past the ball?
 

Phil E


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Saw in a game mid week. A ruck over a tackled player. He ended up flat with his feet pointing towards his scrum half and has placed the ball quickly down the side of his body. His pack, on their feet!!) drive past him until his legs were out of the back of the ruck and the ball was then by his shins with clear sky above it.

The opposition players not involved in the ruck stayed at their back foot and waited for the scrum half to play the ball. wasn't it already out once pack have driven past the ball?

IMO the tackled player is part of the ruck, even though he is not specificaly bound onto the ruck.
So the ball isn't out until it is past his toes.

This is in line with the 'long and narrow gate' concept.
 

Dixie


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IMO the tackled player is part of the ruck, even though he is not specificaly bound onto the ruck.
So the ball isn't out until it is past his toes.

This is in line with the 'long and narrow gate' concept.
Hmmm - not convinced. The Gate is a tackle concept - it doesn't exist at a ruck - so its clearly irrelevant whether or not a ruck interpretation chimes with a tackle concept. If the tackled player is deemed part of the ruck, there would be a lot of PKs under 16.2(d):

[LAWS](d) All players forming, joining or taking part in a ruck must be on their feet.
Sanction: Penalty kick[/LAWS]

IMO, the tackled player (and tackler is unable to get away in time) should be ignored for the purposes of all ruck laws, except if they actively interfere. This is different from players who were once part of the ruck, but for legitimate reasons now find themselves on the deck. Those we can treat as still involved - but if a player is lying on the deck, grasping a bit of another rucker's clothing and thus moving the rear foot back 8 feet - sorry, ball's out if it's next to him but behind everyone else.
 

Phil E


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IMO, the tackled player (and tackler is unable to get away in time) should be ignored for the purposes of all ruck laws, except if they actively interfere. This is different from players who were once part of the ruck, but for legitimate reasons now find themselves on the deck. Those we can treat as still involved - but if a player is lying on the deck, grasping a bit of another rucker's clothing and thus moving the rear foot back 8 feet - sorry, ball's out if it's next to him but behind everyone else.

Ball carrier is buried.
Several of his team mates, to quote you, "for legitimate reasons now find themselves on the deck".
They are all facing the same way ('ish)

We now have 3 or 4 or 5 pairs of legs sticking out of the ruck.
According to you, one pair of legs are not part of the ruck and 3 or 4 pairs are. :wtf:
So when the ball is inside just one leg I presume you check who it belongs to before calling the ball in or out? :shrug:

Far easier to just include the ball carrier as part of the ruck.
Why make life difficult for yourself?
 

Dixie


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Why make life difficult for yourself?
Fair enough. I assume you always ping the fact that he's off his feet? If not - why are you making life difficult for yourself by ignoring specific bits of law that players and assessors may know?
 

Phil E


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Fair enough. I assume you always ping the fact that he's off his feet? If not - why are you making life difficult for yourself by ignoring specific bits of law that players and assessors may know?

Materiality :wink:
 

Davet

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Fair enough. I assume you always ping the fact that he's off his feet? If not - why are you making life difficult for yourself by ignoring specific bits of law that players and assessors may know?

You may be surprised at the specific oddments of law that assessors may pick up while enjoying bonhommie with the blazers on the touchline.

Ferinstnce - 16.3.a and 16.3.b quite clearly understand that players may well go off their feet at a ruck - and it's only when they don't make an effort not to that there is an offence, and that if such fallen players make sure they keep out of the way of the ball then 16.4.d tells us not to ping them.
 

Ciaran Trainor


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Saw in a game mid week. A ruck over a tackled player. He ended up flat with his feet pointing towards his scrum half and has placed the ball quickly down the side of his body. His pack, on their feet!!) drive past him until his legs were out of the back of the ruck and the ball was then by his shins with clear sky above it.

The opposition players not involved in the ruck stayed at their back foot and waited for the scrum half to play the ball. wasn't it already out once pack have driven past the ball?

by this description the ball is out the side of the ruck, if it was between his legs, still in for me
 

didds

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but player on the floor = not in the game = not in the ruck. so ball between HIS legs, prostrate, with pack past him = OUT surely?

if not, he could be lengthways, head first up the pitch, ball between his ankles, ruck "gone past" until the "back of the ruck" is just adjacent to his ears and the ball still be in! That's just bloody stupid - the ball could be 6 feet behind "the ruck" in that case and still be in!

didds
 

Ian_Cook


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[LAWS]DEFINITIONS
A ruck is a phase of play where one or more players from each team, who are on their feet, in physical contact, close around the ball on the ground. Open play has
ended.
Players are rucking when they are in a ruck and using their feet to try to win or keep possession of the ball, without being guilty of foul play.[/LAWS]
Unfortunately, these definitions seem to no longer accurately describe a ruck

The whole intent of the ruck was that it was an "informal" (as in no specific rows of players with individual binding Laws) scrummage that started with the ball already in it. The basic operations relating to the ball in the ruck are the same as those in the scrum

the ball is on the ground
players move the ball with their feet
players aren't allowed hands on the ball

The whole reason for the "hindmost foot" concept was that the ball would be competed for by using feet, and that the last (hindmost) player in the ruck would move the ball back to the acting scrum-half by rolling it back with a foot, and when he did that, the ball would pass behind his hindmost foot. The ball was considered out at that point.

Unfortunately, as the iRB has made the use of feet in the ruck more and more difficult, so the ruck has progressively become more and more of a disorganised shamozzle, with players off their feet and players lying all over the ball. However, there are a couple of things that we can say for certain...

1. The tackled player and any tacklers, if they are on the ground, are not supposed to be part of the ruck. How can they be, when they aren't even supposed to be there at all...

[LAWS]15.4 THE TACKLER
(b) The tackler must immediately get up or move away from the tackled player and from the ball at once.

15.5 THE TACKLED PLAYER
(b) A tackled player must immediately pass the ball or release it. That player must also get up or move away from it at once.[/LAWS]

2. Players who subsequently go off their feet are no longer part of the ruck.

[LAWS]16.2 JOINING A RUCK
(d) All players forming, joining or taking part in a ruck must be on their feet.
[/LAWS]

3. Even if all the players taking part in a ruck go off their feet after a ruck has been formed, the ruck still exists..

[LAWS]16.6 SUCCESSFUL END TO A RUCK
A ruck ends successfully when the ball leaves the ruck, or when the ball is on or over the goal line.

16.7 UNSUCCESSFUL END TO A RUCK
(a) A ruck ends unsuccessfully when the ball becomes unplayable and a scrum is ordered. The team that was moving forward immediately before the ball became unplayable in the ruck throws in the ball. If neither team was moving forward, or if the referee cannot decide which team was moving forward before the ball became unplayable in the ruck, the team that was moving forward
before the ruck began throws in the ball. If neither team was moving forward, then the attacking team throws in the ball.
(b) Before the referee blows the whistle for a scrum, the referee allows a reasonable amount of time for the ball to emerge, especially if either team is moving forward. If the ruck stops moving, or if the referee decides that the ball will probably not emerge within a reasonable time, the referee must order a scrum.[/LAWS]

Nothing there about the ruck ending when all the players go off their feet, and this brings us to a curious anomaly in the Laws. It is entirely possible to have a ruck... with no players in it!!!

Now, I am sure that the Lawmakers never intended this. Its a great example of the "Law of Unindented Consequences"; the effect of removing the use of the feet to win the ball in a ruck has led to the possibility of having a ruck with no players in it.

So how do we deal with this.

Well, for one thing, since we have a ruck in the first place, at least one player in each team must have been on their feet at some point, so we can say

► The hindmost feet of those two players will set the offside lines, and be the determining points of when the ball is in or out.
► If any players join the ruck, the offsides and determining points may be reset to their hindmost feet.

The problem comes if any of the hindmost players go off their feet, do their feet still define the offside lines and positions where the ball is deemed out?

If the tackler and/or tackled player are not on their feet, then they are not part of the ruck; they never were, so the position of their feet is irrelevant. However, the position of the feet of any players who were in the ruck and who subsequently went off their feet, are relevant, and that brings us to yet another problem. In the shambles of bodies lying all over the place, it is not always possible to tell which legs belong to which players, so quickly determining if the pair of feet sticking out the back of the ruck belong to he tackler, the tackled player, or a ruck player gone off his feet, is not always possible.

IMO, this is one of those rare occasions in which Occam's Razor doesn't apply; the simplest solution is to treat ALL feet as the same, but it probably isn't the correct answer.
 
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