[Scrum] Confused about these 2 scrum laws. Help please !

ChrisR

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Blue v Red

It must be remembered that if a red scrum is going backwards and the front row "stands up", the original long bind of the props on their blue opposition props has probably now changed. They may still have a grip on the opposite prop's jersey in some cases but they are no longer in the "bind position" as illustrated in the Law book.
I know there will be people who will poo poo this possible explanation and say that the illustrations are not Laws as such but they are intended to assist in explaining what the intent or meaning of a Law is.
Since the front rows are required to maintain their binds from the commencement to the end of the scrum, this may be where the "standing up" interpretation came from.

And the "long bind" by the Blue props? I suppose that didn't change. The "long bind" is not a law requirement. It does help the LHP prevent the THP from getting leverage on his arm. That's it, nothing else. Not a Law requirement regardless of diagrams.
 

OB..


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Yet again people are trying to work things out from the wording in the laws. Standing up is not mentioned in the laws, and a shoving position is not defined. Although standing up was actually considered the better option in the nineteenth century, these days a shoving position is where you are bending down, properly bound, and pushing straight and level against your opponents, as at the start of a properly set scrum..
 

Ian_Cook


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You are wrong on two counts.

Standing up, in and of itself, is not illegal. But it is ineffective play and will be an advantage to the opponents. So why take away the advantage the ops have gained? WR, by amending the Advantage Law, are asking you to let it play out.

Are Red scrum really driving legally? I don't have the film references (dial-up access prohibits video) but I suspect that the major cause of standing up is not being driven backwards but being driven up.

100% agree. The vast majority of the time (at least in the elite game) that I see referees pinging a prop for standing up, it is because his opponent is driving him upwards, which is illegal.....

[LAWS]Law 20.8 Front Row Players
(i) Lifting or forcing an opponent up. A front row player must not lift an opponent in the air, or force an opponent upwards out of the scrum, either when the ball is being thrown in or afterwards. This is dangerous play.
Sanction: Penalty kick [/LAWS]

... but you hardly ever see players pinged for it
 

BikingBud


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Giving an opposing front row its "wings" or pinging them out showed a level of dominance and for anyone that has played in the front row this is the battle that runs throughout the game, sometimes more important than the score itself. You do not just stand up, you are force up due to the pressure of the opponents and as has been mentioned having a good second row, otherwise yuo just all go back. It hurts when it happens, both to your pride and physically. If a team is continually getting their head shoved up their a*** then it may have been sympathetic refereeing to blow it, and the principle may have somewhat diminished as most front rows now only play 60ish mins before being subbed and you do not get the benefits in the last 20 from a dominant scum that you used to.

However, the battle still goes on even for this shorter period yet I feel it has been de-powered somewhat for safety reasons possibly supporting those nations that considered the scrum a dead aspect of the game. Furthermore the deliberate and continual blind eye to feeding has also hollowed out the scrum contest as the opportunity to get all your ball and maybe up to 50% of their ball by dominating them in the scrum has also gone.

If we wish to retain unique aspects of the game we should not strip those challenges out. The arm wrestle is part of the game the same as the beauty of the winger turning the defender inside out. Blow for safety and we have to come up with a reason not to ping a dominant scrum.
 

menace


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I suggest that you read 20.4:

(e) When a scrum remains stationary and the ball does not emerge immediately a further scrum is ordered at the place of the stoppage. The ball is thrown in by the team not in possession at the time of the stoppage.


(f) When a scrum becomes stationary and does not start moving immediately, the ball must emerge immediately. If it does not a further scrum will be ordered. The ball is thrown in by the team not in possession at the time of the stoppage.


(g) If a scrum collapses or lifts up into the air without sanction a further scrum will be ordered and the team who originally threw in the ball will throw the ball in again. If a scrum has to be reformed for any other reason not covered in this Law the team who
originally threw in the ball will throw the ball in again.


Why must someone get pinged? If the retreating team has the ball and can't get it away then the advancing team get the feed at the reset, advantage gained. If the advancing team has the ball they should be able to get it away. Either way driving forward is very disruptive to the retreating team. Isn't that enough?
I see your compelling argument. But what I see is likely to happen as a tactuc is that a weak scrum being mullered is just going to stand up ad nauseum ....knowing that the worst that is going to happen is a scrum turnover? By far an easy bail out optiom for a weaker scrum. For every action there will be an opposite reaction.

And I think youve just countered your argument as to why the need for the advantage - to reduce scrum resets but youre now advocating an option for a scrum reset when a scrum goes to shite?
I think a PK would be a better option to get the game moving..not another scrum reset!?

Im trying to be open to your thinking but youre just not convincing me yet. I think Ill stick with what we've been instructed to do by ARU and what is expected from my association.
 

Ian_Cook


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...You do not just stand up, you are force up due to the pressure of the opponents..

While that is true, it is also very, very rare for it to happen that way (purely from the pressure of a forward push) in the elite modern game.

What is more common is that the LHP will, after the set, drop his head and right shoulder ever so slightly, so that, instead of pushing shoulder to shoulder on the top of the THP's shoulder "above" the clavicle, he is pushing "below" or in front of the THP's clavicle. As the weight comes on he lifts his head and shoulders while pushing forwards with his body, the upwards body motion as he drives forwards lifts the THP so that he appears to stand up.

The countermeasure for the THP is to pack as low as legally possible so that LHP cannot get his head under. One of the reason that Carl Hayman was so successful as a THP was because he was tall and physically very strong. He could prevent the LHP from getting under his chest.

The referee needs to watch for the LHP doing this, its very subtle and difficult to spot; the LHP generally ends up after the set and before the throw in with his head and shoulders just slightly below his hips. If you spot this, ping it and tell the LHP that you know what he is trying to do. If he thinks you are on to him, he is less likely to try it on.
 

Camquin

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So Red LHP cheats, Blue THP gets punished and elite ref tells everyone he is not making it up as he goes along.
Crowd goes away thinking elite ref is an idiot.
World rugby goes away and changes the engage sequence yet again, but elite refs do not bother to enforce any of it.
Lather rinse repeat.
 

ChrisR

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Menace, my thinking is that I'd rather see scrums be allowed to go to completion without a reset and without PK/FK. I think WR is encouraging this by expanding allowable advantage to cases where the front row goes up or down unless the front row's feet come off the ground.

If we penalize a player for being driven up then we surely encourage his opposite number to drive him up again. We see this happen when the front row goes down. If the ball winning side get a bit of a push on and the front row drops the side going backwards will always get the blame. Castrogiovanni (sp?) is a master of this and the USA has been his favorite victim.

This film clip should be required watching: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXmC_fku15Y

This is truly ugly. It may appeal to some but not to me. Who is to blame for this shambles? One culprit is the culture. Scrums stopped being a simple restart with an opportunity for clever set play and became a platform for manufacturing PKs. Unfortunately referees, in an attempt to curtail front row shenanigans, have become unwittingly complicit.

OK, I'm getting off the soapbox so I can shovel the deer shit off the roof.

To all who play, coach, manage, referee and cheer have a happy celebration in whatever manner calls you!
 

BikingBud


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The dip and squeeze is where the advantage can come in immediately. You can effectively pin your opponents head and shoulders and then as you drive through they have a very weak position and have no option other than up. Some may say it is cheating others may say its the competition of the front row. Personally once you had that level of dominance then you would not chase every scrum, save energy for other areas of play, more select those scrums in certain areas, especially their 5 M defensive scrums where you want ball against the head or turnover the SH/No8 picking poor ball.

A strong THP can bear down on a well positioned LHP and nullify the dip and squeeze but if anyone in the front row is asleep, even for split second, it can go horribly wrong. But let the game play, if it is dangerous then ping the team committing the dangerous act not the victims.
 

Ian_Cook


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....the deliberate and continual blind eye to feeding has also hollowed out the scrum contest as the opportunity to get all your ball and maybe up to 50% of their ball by dominating them in the scrum has also gone.....

I don't see the squint feed as the cause of scrum problems, I see it as a consequence of a change in scrummaging philosophy.

It used to be that BOTH Hookers hooked for the ball. You had a 7 v 7 pushing contest when the ball was thrown in. The SH fed the ball straight, partly because a squint feed was a PK not a FK, and partly because, even with a straight feed, his own hooker was for more likely to hook the ball than his opponent. This is so for two reasons

1. the hooker of the team throwing in is positioned closer to the SH.

2. he would call for the ball to be fed using a timing sequence, tapping visibly on the LHP's shoulder..... TAP---TAP---FEED.

So the hooker of the team throwing in not only got first bite of the cherry, he had the advantage of knowing exactly when that opportunity for the first bite was going to come.

Then some teams started ignoring the hook on the opposition feed (because the chances of a hook against the feed was rare - you might see one in every few games if you were lucky). Instead, they had the hooker put his feet back and push. Now while the "eight-man shove" had been around for some years, it was the Pumas who developed it and turned it into an art form, the "co-ordinated eight man shove" In Argentina, this technique was known as "La Bajada", a technique developed by San Isidro Club coach Francisco Ocampo. They used their 8 v 7 weight advantage in an attempt to push the feeding team off their own ball. Even if they didn't succeed, the feeding team's scrum would still be under severe pressure or going backwards while the SH is trying to clear the ball. To counter this, the feeding team would have their hooker also put his feet back and push, resulting in hookers no longer hooking, and ultimately, the squint feed was born.

I have heard the argument that a good hooker will be able to strike and then get his feet back to make it into an 8 v 8 pushing contest again, but I don't buy it. If the eight-man shove comes on while the opposing hooker is trying to hook the ball, then he is already at a big disadvantage. The hooker might be able to get his feet back in, say half a second, but could be too late by then; his scrum is already likely to be going backwards....just try getting your feet back while you are being pushed back and backpedaling.

IMO, until the 7 v 8 pushing disadvantage for the feeding team is addressed, the problems with squint feeding at elite level are going to remain. If you force the SH to feed straight without addressing the 7 v 8 shoving contest, you are creating a difficult and disadvantageous situation for the feeding team. We have seen a number of scrums this past season where the ball has been fed reasonably straight and its ended up in the middle of two equally matched packs trying to push each other off the ball; neither hooker striking for the ball because they are afraid to stop pushing. I have seen instances of the ball sitting in the tunnel for 10 - 20 seconds and the scrum going nowhere.

Now, I don't claim to have any solutions, but I do have a couple of ideas that might help. One is a direct approach, the other an indirect approach

The Direct Approach. Make it mandatory for both hookers to strike (so that they cannot push). Failing to strike for the ball when it is thrown in could be FK offense. This would restore the 7 v 7 pushing contest, get back to a hooking contest again, and prevent the opposing hooker from getting a head start on the shove.

The Indirect Approach. Assess the materiality of the throw-in. The referee would only ping squint feeds if the non-feeding team's hooker strikes for the ball. If he chooses not to strike, then allow the squint feed to go unpenalised on the grounds that it was immaterial. If the non-feeding hooker doesn't want to compete fore the ball, why should be be handed the advantage on a plate? If he wants to force the opposition SH to feed straight, all he has to do is a make a genuine attempt to strike.

Both approaches would be fairly easy to implement and adjudicate. All the referee would need to do is see legs from both sides of the tunnel strike out at the ball. It doesn't really matter if the opposition hooker is making a genuine attempt to strike because if he is seen flicking his leg out then we know he doesn't have both feet back pushing.


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


For those who are interested here is more on La Bajada, with a brief explanation of how it works.

In Spanish, "La Bajada" literally means "The Descent". The idea is to concentrate all the power of the scrum through centre of the front row, pushing inwards and forwards, not just forwards. They push along a imaginary arrows drawn pointing inwards from either side of the No 8, which means all the power is directed towards the hooker." This is called "Empuje Coordinado" (Coordinated Push). The scrumhalf gives a three part call after the engagement.

"Presión" (Pressure) - all the players tighten their binds and fill their lungs with air.

"Uno" (One) everyone sinks (the descent). The players' legs are bent 90° at the knees.

"Dos" (Two) The pack comes straight forward while violently expelling the air from their lungs. It is important that, at this point nobody moves their feet until forward momentum is established. If the first drive is insufficient the scrumhalf begins the call again and the opposing pack is usually caught off guard and pushed back.

You can usually tell when a Pumas scrum is going to try La Bajada, there are several difficult to spot clues such as feet positions of the locks and flankers, but the most obvious and easy to spot clue is that the locks usually grip their props around the hip/waist area instead of in the more traditional grip on the front of the jersey by going between the legs of the props.

scrum-lock-hip-bind.jpg
scrum-lock-hip-bind2.jpg
 
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Pegleg

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Now, I don't claim to have any solutions, but I do have a couple of ideas that might help. One is a direct approach, the other an indirect approach

The Direct Approach. Make it mandatory for both hookers to strike (so that they cannot push). Failing to strike for the ball when it is thrown in could be FK offense. This would restore the 7 v 7 pushing contest, get back to a hooking contest again, and prevent the opposing hooker from getting a head start on the shove.

The Indirect Approach. Assess the materiality of the throw-in. The referee would only ping squint feeds if the non-feeding team's hooker strikes for the ball. If he chooses not to strike, then allow the squint feed to go unpenalised on the grounds that it was immaterial. If the non-feeding hooker doesn't want to compete fore the ball, why should be be handed the advantage on a plate? If he wants to force the opposition SH to feed straight, all he has to do is a make a genuine attempt to strike.

Both approaches would be fairly easy to implement and adjudicate. All the referee would need to do is see legs from both sides of the tunnel strike out at the ball. It doesn't really matter if the opposition hooker is making a genuine attempt to strike because if he is seen flicking his leg out then we know he doesn't have both feet back pushing.

Agree with both of those We could "trial" the second very easily the Laws people could simply say: "Apply material effect to the feed" - job done. The first would require WR to direct it. PErhaps the Indirect approach should be given a go first and move one if required.
 

Camquin

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I do not think the indirect approach would work as it is essentially where we are at elit level.
Neither hooker strikes and feed is always and deliberately squint.
The no 9 does not even bother to stand square.

Actually applying the laws as written and applied in every other rugby match would be a good first start.

Ensure the front rows start square, all four props take a bind and there is no early push.
That include the tight head calling "hut two three four" at engage.
If you start with less pressure it is easier to hook.

As the side putting in get a signal from the no 9, so can push marginally before their opponents, who have to go back to relying on the loose head calling "ball in" before they can react, so even if they choose a 8 man shove, they are disadvantaged.
 

Pegleg

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I disagree. 8v7 is a big problem. the size and power has moved on since the "good old days". We can't put the genie back in the bottle. We have to find another way. Ian's suggestion is valid. sides would know that they'll get the NS IF we tell them that we are using M.E. Of course if we do not deliver we remain part of the problem.
 

ChrisR

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I think Ian's indirect approach has real merit.

It's pointless striking for the ball if every feed is squint and it's pointless asking for a straight feed if you're not going to strike for the ball.

If it was understood that an ops strike at a squint feed would render a FK then there would be a real incentive to put it down the middle. And if the ops knew it was coming down the middle there would be an incentive to go for it.

I especially like it as it would require no law changes, directives or game management guidelines. Just an extra word at the PMB.
 

Ian_Cook


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I do not think the indirect approach would work as it is essentially where we are at elit level.
Neither hooker strikes and feed is always and deliberately squint.

If you are the opposition hooker, and you know you will get a PK/FK if you strike and the SH feeds the ball crooked, you are going to strike to keep the SH honest. At the very least, you are going to take up a position that will make the SH think you are going to strike, and that means you wont have your feet back to push at the moment that ball goes in.... job done!

Actually applying the laws as written and applied in every other rugby match would be a good first start.

Ensure the front rows start square, all four props take a bind and there is no early push.
That include the tight head calling "hut two three four" at engage.
If you start with less pressure it is easier to hook.

And you expect the non-throwing in pack to co-operate with your "less pressure"?

Good luck with that.

As the side putting in get a signal from the no 9, so can push marginally before their opponents, who have to go back to relying on the loose head calling "ball in" before they can react, so even if they choose a 8 man shove, they are disadvantaged.


Nice theory, but it doesn't work in practice. The practical reality is, as we have seen, simply putting the ball in straight when neither team is striking often results in the ball in the tunnel with neither side able to push the other side off it.

In the elite game, most packs are fairly evenly matched. Its the 8 v 7 situation that often creates the imbalance so teams try to avoid it. With two evenly matched packs, the ONLY way the ball can be quickly won (with a straight feed) is by hooking it. There is no point in enforcing a straight feed if there is not going to be a hooking competition for the ball.
 

Paule23


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I'm not sure there is a need for a change i the laws. Enforce the current law, credible feed down the middle, no early striking from either side. The advantage from the team putting in (timing, closer to the ball) is partly offset by the opposition having the choice to compete for the ball, or shove 8 v 7. Fair contest for the ball overall in my book. The key is enforcing the law, particularly over quint feed. I don't see why it is so difficult for elite referees to do this, it is fairly obvious when the feed is squint, and I am sure they see it, therefore they must have some informal directive not to penalise and let the scrum continue. This is a shame in my book and goes against one of the core aims of the game, to allow a fair contest for the ball.
 

Pegleg

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But there's the problem. We are moving to a point where, unless the feed is crooked, neither side strikes and we have stale mate. Simply it is not safe to hook 7 v 8. We need to make it 7V7 untill thre ball is hooked and then it is 8V8 if we don't then it's goingto get worse.
 

Ian_Cook


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I'm not sure there is a need for a change i the laws. Enforce the current law, credible feed down the middle, no early striking from either side. The advantage from the team putting in (timing, closer to the ball) is partly offset by the opposition having the choice to compete for the ball, or shove 8 v 7. Fair contest for the ball overall in my book. The key is enforcing the law, particularly over quint feed. I don't see why it is so difficult for elite referees to do this, it is fairly obvious when the feed is squint, and I am sure they see it, therefore they must have some informal directive not to penalise and let the scrum continue. This is a shame in my book and goes against one of the core aims of the game, to allow a fair contest for the ball.

I'm not asking for a change in the Laws, nor am I suggesting it, just a change in approach.

Its all very well to say "enforce the current law, credible feed down the middle, no early striking from either side", but the reality is, that very often, neither side is striking at all. The scrum is becoming a PK generator rather than a means of restarting the game fairly (which is what it is supposed to be according to those very same Laws that you want enforced).

Things have evolved to a point now where it has become something of a disadvantage to have the feed to the scrum. If you force a straight feed without addressing the 7 v 8 pushing advantage of the opposition, then you exacerbate that situation.

By pinging a crooked feed only when the opposing hooker strikes at the ball, you encourage hooking, and discourage crooked feeds. ANY SH worthy of the title will see the opposing hooker's foot position, and he will KNOW if the hooker intends to strike or to simply push.
 

menace


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I dont mind the concept. And hard to criticise it until you try it - but my only reservation (and it may be baseless) is rhat it's just another thing we'd have to look out for andif our focus is on the strike deep inside a scrum then your focus is taken away from other elements of things that can, will, and go wrong in a scrum... things like the FR shoulders/back and binds...then also what the backline and SHs are doing. We have a lot to look at and take in now adding another one to make a judgment on may be bringing in a new monkey for the ref.
 

Pegleg

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I dont mind the concept. And hard to criticise it until you try it - but my only reservation (and it may be baseless) is rhat it's just another thing we'd have to look out for andif our focus is on the strike deep inside a scrum then your focus is taken away from other elements of things that can, will, and go wrong in a scrum... things like the FR shoulders/back and binds...then also what the backline and SHs are doing. We have a lot to look at and take in now adding another one to make a judgment on may be bringing in a new monkey for the ref.

But you are supposed to be looking at the feed anyway.
 
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