Fending off above armpits

anbocmorrua


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Hi there. Apart from u13s I don't see anything in RFU reg15 that says u14s and above can't fend above the armpits. Is there some other convention or guidance available that prohibits this?
 

Stu10


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U12 and U13 include the following variation:

"The ball carrier may run and dodge potential tacklers but must not fend or hand them off above the armpits."

U14 and older do not have this variation, therefore the laws around the fend/hand-off is the same as the adult game (i.e. can be above the armpits).
 

chbg


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Agreed with Stu (except that U13 Girls cannot fend or hand off - but play as for adults at the next age group U15).

Because we don't assume that rugby is only played by boys, do we .....
 

Flish


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U12 and U13 include the following variation:

"The ball carrier may run and dodge potential tacklers but must not fend or hand them off above the armpits."

U14 and older do not have this variation, therefore the laws around the fend/hand-off is the same as the adult game (i.e. can be above the armpits).

Correct, it is somewhat in conflict with the age grade tackle height changes where all tackles are now below the armpit - ie keep away from the head - so a *lot* of coaches, and refs think that the answer is you can't fend to the face (and worse, some know the correct answer and do their own thing anyway) - I go by the book, you always have the option penalise excess force anyway
 

Stu10


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Agreed with Stu (except that U13 Girls cannot fend or hand off - but play as for adults at the next age group U15).

Because we don't assume that rugby is only played by boys, do we .....

I believe the OP asked for clarification on interpretation of Regulation 15 Appendix 8 and didn't mention boys or girls, not that it matters at u14 since boys and girls follow the same rules of play. I was merely clarifying wording in Regulation 15 Appendices 6-8, rather that commenting on the boys game specifically, though I appreciate your reminder.

FYI, the age bands for girls has changed this season with girls u12 following Reg 15 Appendix 6 (aligned to u12 boys), and u13 and u14 in the u14 girls dual age band that follows Reg 15 Appendix 8 (aligned to u14 boys); therefore I understand this to mean that u12 girls can fend below the armpits, and u13 (and older) girls can fend above the armpits.

 

crossref


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FYI, the age bands for girls has changed this season with girls u12 following Reg 15 Appendix 6 (aligned to u12 boys), and u13 and u14 in the u14 girls dual age band that follows Reg 15 Appendix 8 (aligned to u14 boys); therefore I understand this to mean that u12 girls can fend below the armpits, and u13 (and older) girls can fend above the armpits.
the RFU really need to try and simplify the age group regs !
 

Volun-selected


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the RFU really need to try and simplify the age group regs !
How do you English refs and youth coaches feel about a blanket prohibition we (USA] have on all U19 with both “Players may not fend to the face, head or neck” and “No tackling above the line of the armpits”? Do you think the U14-19 miss out on experience by something broad like this? (Though it makes my life easier.)
 

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I suppose the disquiet Id feel about a blanket ban across all youth age groups is that then leaves senior youth moving to senior rugby with no preparation

1) to use a higher fend
2) getting smashed in the face because they've never had to deal with a higher fend
And its not improbable perhaps that some players could be mixing their U18 colt/youth matches one weekend with a senior game the next and having to mentally flip between the two (though I appreciate this has impacts in other laws too so its not a hill Id die on!)

didds
 
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Flish


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How do you English refs and youth coaches feel about a blanket prohibition we (USA] have on all U19 with both “Players may not fend to the face, head or neck” and “No tackling above the line of the armpits”? Do you think the U14-19 miss out on experience by something broad like this? (Though it makes my life easier.)

I'm expecting a global ban to follow, to be honest, it makes sense in the whole 'avoid the head' conversation, but equally the NROP are supposed to be a transitional increment towards adult rugby so they have to get used to it at some point.

If your Colts team has good progression through to Adult teams then arguably U17 / U18 have a crossover period where they will experience it in Adult so that window exists.

TBH my only real problem with allowing it is we still have a lot of forearm/ball-carrying arm 'fends' (especially from players that play dual code), disallowing a fend to the head moves us one step closer to eradicating these too, as a forearm push to the chest is far more inconsequential than one to the head.
 

Stu10


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I currently coach at u16 in England... I've seen a couple of boys on the wrong end of a hand off to the face, but I don't feel it has been a significantly contentious aspect of the game over the past 3 years. I would not have an issue delaying the fend above the armpits until u15... I agree with Didds that eliminating the high fend at all age-grade levels does not prepare players for senior rugby. We currently have u16 playing school first XV, which is senior colts, and some senior colts are playing seniors, so you need the same rules across u16, junior and senior colts. Also, I would not want to introduce high fends at u16 when some players would simultaneously find themselves playing with senior colts with a couple of years experience of high fends.
 

crossref


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i think before long they will ban hand-offs to the face at adult level. It doesn't make sense that pretty much all other deliberate contact to head = RC, but a hand off is fine.
 

anbocmorrua


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I'm the OP. The reason for my question was that in an u14s match I took charge of the blue player fended the red player leading to a try for blue. Fend was perfectly ok in my opinion. Red players and coaches were v surprised that I didn't penalise the blue player for the fend, and red coaches were convinced it wasn't allowed. Also, in my post match analysis it was suggested by a senior ref at the club that he wouldn't allow fending above the armpits in any age grade game, at his discretion due to excessive force.

Thanks for all the contributions above. It's all really helpful.
 

crossref


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i do feel sorry for the kids - in one match it's not allowed (seems like at Red RFC, it's never allowed) and then they roll up the following week and get an unexpected fend off to the face. ... and concede a try as a result to boot. That must sting,


it really illustrates why (as refs) we shouldn't make up Laws. Only if everyone refs the to the same Laws can the players expect consistency from week to week
 

Stu10


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I'm the OP. The reason for my question was that in an u14s match I took charge of the blue player fended the red player leading to a try for blue. Fend was perfectly ok in my opinion. Red players and coaches were v surprised that I didn't penalise the blue player for the fend, and red coaches were convinced it wasn't allowed. Also, in my post match analysis it was suggested by a senior ref at the club that he wouldn't allow fending above the armpits in any age grade game, at his discretion due to excessive force.

Thanks for all the contributions above. It's all really helpful.
I regularly find myself feeling shock and despair for the amount of times I speak with coaches and referees that do not accurately know the rules of play for the group they are coaching/refereeing. As @crossref says, it is the players that suffer most when a different referee allows or does not allow actions differently to the referee from the previous week, or contrary to what their coach has taught them.
 

SimonSmith


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I rather think that disallowing the fend to the head may have some difficult consequences.
 

Rich_NL

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In Holland it's banned for U18 and below, and there are (to my knowledge) no big problems moving to senior rugby. Same applies for squeeze balls and croc rolls.
 

SimonSmith


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I think I have two concerns, which are conjoined.

If the tackler leads head first, fending will become so high risk as to be impossible.
That, in turn, will lead to a higher propensity for offloading.
Which, in turn, means defense will need to double down on stopping the offload, which means a second defender tackling (relatively) high.
Which in turn...
 

Flish


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We try to teach 1st man to tackle low, second man assist / rip / good jackle position - mostly works
 

Mipper


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I'm the OP. The reason for my question was that in an u14s match I took charge of the blue player fended the red player leading to a try for blue. Fend was perfectly ok in my opinion. Red players and coaches were v surprised that I didn't penalise the blue player for the fend, and red coaches were convinced it wasn't allowed. Also, in my post match analysis it was suggested by a senior ref at the club that he wouldn't allow fending above the armpits in any age grade game, at his discretion due to excessive force.

Thanks for all the contributions above. It's all really helpful.
Well he is correct to not allow a hand-off due to excessive force. This is how the law defines the penalty offence.

My view is that hand offs are fine in the game, they do encourage good tackle technique, and I recall well from my playing days that receiving a hand off was an embarrassment.

I would also add that in my experience a hand off to the chest was far more effective, and that most hand offs to the face are out of malice, thus using excessive force and sanctionable.
 
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