Blocker at a Ruck

breako


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Sometimes you see teams but a blocker (player not bound to the ruck) to stand in front of the kicker. SA did this several times in recent Lions tests.

Surely that's offside?
 

buff


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The blocker would not be offside at the ruck if behind the hindmost point of the ruck, even if in front of the kicker. I think it is a problem, but it isn't offside.
 

Decorily

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The blocker would not be offside at the ruck if behind the hindmost point of the ruck, even if in front of the kicker. I think it is a problem, but it isn't offside.
It appears they are not always behind the 'hindmost ' and even if they are is it not obstruction?
 

Dickie E


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It appears they are not always behind the 'hindmost ' and even if they are is it not obstruction?

the law says this:

[LAWS]A player must not intentionally prevent an opponent from tackling or attempting to tackle the ball-carrier. [/LAWS]

The question then is: is a stationery player who is onside entitled to hold his ground?
 

buff


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It appears they are not always behind the 'hindmost ' and even if they are is it not obstruction?
If the blockers are not behind the hindmost point of the ruck they are offside. Their actions are almost always material in this situation, so they should be penalized. I think it at least violates the spirit of the law on obstruction, but the blocking on rucks and running blocking lines 10 meters or so up from the catcher are now accepted.
 

Ian_Cook


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Sometimes you see teams but a blocker (player not bound to the ruck) to stand in front of the kicker. SA did this several times in recent Lions tests.

Surely that's offside?


If they are in front of the hindmost point of the ruck, then they are offside at the ruck (Law 15.4)


If onside at the ruck, but ahead of the kicker, they are technically offside in open play, but not penalised unless they interfere with play (Law 10.1, Law 10.4a), move forward towards the ball (Law 10.4b) or infringe the 10m law (Law 10.4c)
 

didds

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If onside at the ruck, but ahead of the kicker, they are technically offside in open play, but not penalised unless they interfere with play (Law 10.1, Law 10.4a)...

so if remaining stationary, but preventing direct access for a tackle... is that not interfering with play?

I am mindful of the concept that players have to be "somewhere", and that of course at elite levels such trivial, meaningless actions are not penalised </sarcasm> ... but the question alwys remains "if it is trivial and meaningless, why do these players stand in these positions constantly?"
 

Ian_Cook


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so if remaining stationary, but preventing direct access for a tackle... is that not interfering with play?

I am mindful of the concept that players have to be "somewhere", and that of course at elite levels such trivial, meaningless actions are not penalised </sarcasm> ... but the question alwys remains "if it is trivial and meaningless, why do these players stand in these positions constantly?"


The initial conditions are

• There is a ruck/maul and the ball is in it,
• The "blocker" is standing where he is, legally onside at the ruck/maul
• The players in the ruck/maul area are legally participating in that phase
• The scrum-half is behind the ruck/maul

No opposing players can advance while the ball is still in the ruck/maul. Now the ball comes out or is taken out and the ruck/maul is over.

If a member of the opposing team tries to get to the scrum-half and runs into the blocker, tough. The blocker does not have evaporate into thin air or to get out of his way. However, if the opposing player tries to run around the blocker, and the blocker moves to prevent him, then that is obstruction.

If you argue that the blocker is still obstructing even if he does not move, that you must also argue that all the players in a scrum, ruck or maul are obstructing the moment a ball comes out.
 

Decorily

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The initial conditions are

• There is a ruck/maul and the ball is in it,
• The "blocker" is standing where he is, legally onside at the ruck/maul
• The players in the ruck/maul area are legally participating in that phase
• The scrum-half is behind the ruck/maul

No opposing players can advance while the ball is still in the ruck/maul. Now the ball comes out or is taken out and the ruck/maul is over.

If a member of the opposing team tries to get to the scrum-half and runs into the blocker, tough. The blocker does not have evaporate into thin air or to get out of his way. However, if the opposing player tries to run around the blocker, and the blocker moves to prevent him, then that is obstruction.

If you argue that the blocker is still obstructing even if he does not move, that you must also argue that all the players in a scrum, ruck or maul are obstructing the moment a ball comes out.

Waffle!
 

Ian_Cook


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Would you like that with jam, honey or golden syrup, and with cream or without?

You obviously think something I have said is incorrect, so please point out that part.
 

OB..


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[LAWS]9.3 A player must not intentionally prevent an opponent from tackling or attempting to tackle the ball-carrier.
9.4 A player must not intentionally prevent an opponent from having the opportunity to play the ball, other than by competing for possession.

[/LAWS]
 
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Ian_Cook


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[LAWS]9.3 A player must not intentionally prevent an opponent from tackling or attempting to tackle the ball-carrier.
9.4 A player must not intentionally prevent an opponent from having the opportunity to play the ball, other than by competing for possession.

[/LAWS]

Not sure what you are trying to say here. Are you saying that a player has to get out of the way of an opponent?
 

OB..


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Not sure what you are trying to say here. Are you saying that a player has to get out of the way of an opponent?
Yes.

An earlier version said the player must not "move or stand" in the way. At one time teams tried to place a couple of players in front of the one going to catch the kick. That was stopped.
 

Flish


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If a member of the opposing team tries to get to the scrum-half and runs into the blocker, tough. The blocker does not have evaporate into thin air or to get out of his way. However, if the opposing player tries to run around the blocker, and the blocker moves to prevent him, then that is obstruction.

So ‘blocker’ is onside at the ruck, in front of the SH, if I’m imagining this correctly, then ball is passed behind to the SH, so he’s now in front of the ball carrier in open play?

I would consider penalising this, I would have to see it, and it would possibly depend on the distance between the would be tackler / ‘blocker’ and the SH but over a short distance that could certainly be argued as ‘preventing the opposition from playing as they wished’ or ‘interfering with play’, I would at minimum be having a word
 

Zebra1922


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When I watched the Lions series I saw this a lot, but on watching in slow motion the ‘blocking’ player was usually behind the back foot of the ruck, but in front of the kicker. So not offside at the ruck, but technically offside in open play. I would not blow unless they actively move to block a player attempting to charge the kick. If they hold their ground I have no problem with it.

I warn players in games I referee not to stand in an offside position at the ruck (i.e. ahead of the back foot) unless they are bound properly. A hand on a player is not bound.
 

thepercy


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Does it change anything if the blockers are bound to the ruck, forming a wall?
 

Ian_Cook


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Yes.

An earlier version said the player must not "move or stand" in the way. At one time teams tried to place a couple of players in front of the one going to catch the kick. That was stopped.

So ‘blocker’ is onside at the ruck, in front of the SH, if I’m imagining this correctly, then ball is passed behind to the SH, so he’s now in front of the ball carrier in open play?

I would consider penalising this, I would have to see it, and it would possibly depend on the distance between the would be tackler / ‘blocker’ and the SH but over a short distance that could certainly be argued as ‘preventing the opposition from playing as they wished’ or ‘interfering with play’, I would at minimum be having a word

The point I am trying to make here is, if there were no blockers, but the ball comes back to the SH for the kick and other SH is blocked by the players in the ruck, are they not also "front of the ball carrier in open play?" If not, why not. Do they have to get out of the way? If not, why not.

And as ThePercy correctly asks "Does it change anything if the blockers are bound to the ruck, forming a wall?"
 

Flish


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The point I am trying to make here is, if there were no blockers, but the ball comes back to the SH for the kick and other SH is blocked by the players in the ruck, are they not also "front of the ball carrier in open play?" If not, why not. Do they have to get out of the way? If not, why not.

And as ThePercy correctly asks "Does it change anything if the blockers are bound to the ruck, forming a wall?"

Do we? No, not by convention, same for if bound (properly) to the ruck, again by convention. Could we? As the laws are written, could be interpreted that way, so we could? - would be a pretty crap 'gotcha' ridden game though. In reverse, is there anything in law that says we shouldn't penalise them? Anything that says that they are immune from a penalty?

Hence my answer above, that I would think about the blocker, his position, any hints as to his intention (subtle moves to block etc), and penalise if I felt appropriate, almost certainly have a chat. Comes back to rewarding positive play and not encouraging negative play, I want a positive game where players are free to play and do positive things, deliberately blocking doesn't fall into that category for me. He's certainly not got some magic get out of jail free card IMO
 

Ian_Cook


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Do we? No, not by convention, same for if bound (properly) to the ruck, again by convention. Could we? As the laws are written, could be interpreted that way, so we could? - would be a pretty crap 'gotcha' ridden game though. In reverse, is there anything in law that says we shouldn't penalise them? Anything that says that they are immune from a penalty?

Hence my answer above, that I would think about the blocker, his position, any hints as to his intention (subtle moves to block etc), and penalise if I felt appropriate, almost certainly have a chat. Comes back to rewarding positive play and not encouraging negative play, I want a positive game where players are free to play and do positive things, deliberately blocking doesn't fall into that category for me. He's certainly not got some magic get out of jail free card IMO

Correct assessment IMO, but of course, you need to be careful not to assume you know what the players are thinking.

How may times do you see players in that exact same position (behind the HMP and to the left or right of the ruck) receive a pass for a short drive around the fringe to set up another ruck, or ready to support a player who takes the ball from the ruck and skirts the fringe to attempts a line break? Answer. A lot more of often then you see them there protecting the kicker.

I go back to my original assessment. If the player is simply standing there, he's fine. If he makes ANY move to get in the path of an opponent once he is in front of the ball, he's obstructing. I do not subscribe to the idea that a player has to get out of the way of an opponent, never have, never will and its not a law of the game anyway.
 

Jz558


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I might not like the tactic but I think it is a legal exploitation of the laws providing the player doesnt move. I think it is much more of a liberty allowing the scrum half to walk beyond the back foot of a caterpillar and dribble the ball to the back.

I also think there is a significant difference between the blocker stood at the back of a ruck, who was onside and hasnt moved and two players in open play following a kick off running to a point at which they can block the opposition. That seems to me the very definition of obstruction.
 
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