Head-on-head collision by two players in the air after a kick, what's the decision?

jdeagro


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Scenario 1: Red kicks off. Red player chases. Red player jumps up to catch the kick same time as the Blue player (from the receiving team) also jumps up to catch the kick. Both jumps are forward from their respective perspectives (not just vertical jumps). Both players knock heads before either player catches ball and go to ground. Time off to address the injury. Both players ended up being ok eventually.

What next?...how do we restart? Are any penalties committed?

Scenario 2: How about if the Red player instead of going for ball, attempts to tackle Blue player after letting them catch the ball and Blue player has landed on their feet on the ground, and knocks heads with the Blue ball carrier, despite wrapping that player below the shoulders?

In both scenarios, both players had no intentions of knocking heads, and it was an unfortunate accident.
 
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Balones

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It’s not meant to be a trite response, but it comes down to how you as the official wants to call it. (Based on description and not video evidence when it can be discussed and analysed later.) Both could be described as rugby incidents if you see it that way and you could make a scum call (To whichever side you deem equitable.:)) Not every head contact is foul play. Just give clear, concise, confident reasoning. From a purely personal stance, based on your description, in the second scenario, if red was not showing any intention to compete then they need to show appropriate regard for safety for the receiving player. It looks as if the red player was always upright so under our ‘newish‘ above sternum laws I would suggest we have foul play with head contact. Start with RC and possibly mitigate down to YC depending on timing/lowering of blue player.
 

jdeagro


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It’s not meant to be a trite response, but it comes down to how you as the official wants to call it. (Based on description and not video evidence when it can be discussed and analysed later.) Both could be described as rugby incidents if you see it that way and you could make a scum call (To whichever side you deem equitable.:)) Not every head contact is foul play. Just give clear, concise, confident reasoning. From a purely personal stance, based on your description, in the second scenario, if red was not showing any intention to compete then they need to show appropriate regard for safety for the receiving player. It looks as if the red player was always upright so under our ‘newish‘ above sternum laws I would suggest we have foul play with head contact. Start with RC and possibly mitigate down to YC depending on timing/lowering of blue player.
Is there any case where you'd see a referee giving a YC to only the Red player in the first scenario, as it's currently written (and again keeping in mind it was purely accidental from both players)?
 

Rich_NL

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Is there any case where you'd see a referee giving a YC to only the Red player in the first scenario, as it's currently written (and again keeping in mind it was purely accidental from both players)?
If it were foul play, so recklessly leaping in without a reasonable chance of contest (or cynically aiming to hit the receiver in the air).
 

Balones

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Is there any case where you'd see a referee giving a YC to only the Red player in the first scenario, as it's currently written (and again keeping in mind it was purely accidental from both players)?
Not as you’ve explained it. You would need to provide the grounds on which you’d consider a YC for Red along the lines that Rich_NL. E.G. Did Red lead with elbow?
 

jdeagro


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...E.G. Did Red lead with elbow?
Nope. (I was a player not ref during this event FWIW.) Red and Blue were equal in action as far as I recall but it seemed like the ref wanted to ping the kicking team as if they had more responsibility than the receiving team. I suppose the ref's interpretation was the Red player was a tackler despite neither team being in possession of the ball yet. Probably just a mis-decission in the moment, but was curious if there was anything I could be missing by interpretation.
 

Dickie E


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At a certain level of the game, we have seen stationary players being responsible for the safety of airborne players. Perhaps there is a general rule that the player with the lower altitude, even if just millimetres, will be culpable for any accidental contact
 

jdeagro


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At a certain level of the game, we have seen stationary players being responsible for the safety of airborne players. Perhaps there is a general rule that the player with the lower altitude, even if just millimetres, will be culpable for any accidental contact
Well in scenario 1, both are airborne. This incident happened a while ago, so I'm a little fuzzy on the details, but if I recall correctly I'm pretty sure scenario 1 was what actually happened. And then YC to the Red jumping player.

I could agree with that for scenario 2 though. Though depending on circumstances. I've definitely seen cases where the stationary player on the ground is the one taking a boot to the face from the jumping player. I think I've even seen a case where the stationary player was carded because the jumping player landed poorly and got a little hurt. That is one I wouldn't necessarily card the stationary player on.
 

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At a certain level of the game, we have seen stationary players being responsible for the safety of airborne players. Perhaps there is a general rule that the player with the lower altitude, even if just millimetres, will be culpable for any accidental contact
This always sticks in my craw when I watch an elite match and see the jumper essentially get a free shot on a well placed receiver. I’m not talking about cynically or recklessly taking a player out in the air, but where there is a good, high kick and and the receiver gets in the perfect spot to catch, possibly for a mark … so the chaser comes charging in and leaps up, often a knee or two comes up, clatters into the other player and goes arse over tit. Cue the howls of “Red Card” etc. for a situation the jumper precipitated.

Why is this never seen as dangerous/reckless play by the jumper is beyond me. Maybe until we see the farce of an unconscious player being given a RC as they are stretchered off it never will.
 

BikingBud


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Yellow card to the red player.

Law 9 Foul Play:

Dangerous Play:

9. Except in a scrum, ruck or maul, a player who is not in possession of the ball must not hold, push, charge or obstruct an opponent not in possession of the ball.

This also stems from the lack of action in showcase rugby to enforce that chasers must be behind the kicker, they get a flying start, reach high speed and jump recklessly with a high degree of lateral speed into stationery players trying to catch the ball.

Any argument about a fair competition for the ball should be based upon the fact that both players need to start in the same space and jump vertically.

Again it doesn't need a law change just a better, more focussed, approach to risk management and player safety.

I don't really see how anybody can argue otherwise.
 

jdeagro


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Yellow card to the red player
And why not also the blue player? Red player was also not in possession of the ball when the Blue player knocked his head into the Red player.

I also don't really find colliding heads fits the definition of any of these: "hold, push, charge or obstruct". But maybe?

This also stems from the lack of action in showcase rugby to enforce that chasers must be behind the kicker, they get a flying start, reach high speed and jump recklessly with a high degree of lateral speed into stationery players trying to catch the ball.
I do think reckless jumpers should be pinged, agreed. Note both players were not stationary and were in the air competing for ball.
 

BikingBud


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If they were both stationery and jumped vertically there would be little chance of head contact. If one or both players jump laterally the head will wobble.

Red player chases. Red player jumps up to catch the kick same time as receiving Blue player
By your description the movement was with red who was chasing whereas blue was receiving. Difficult to charge when you are stationery!
 

jdeagro


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If they were both stationery and jumped vertically there would be little chance of head contact. If one or both players jump laterally the head will wobble.


By your description the movement was with red who was chasing whereas blue was receiving. Difficult to charge when you are stationery!
"jumps up to catch the kick same time as receiving Blue player" - Sorry I guess in it's original context it's a bit ambiguous of a sentence, but I'm meaning to say they both jumped at the same time (and use the word receiving to indicate Blue is on the receiving team, but he wasn't necessarily in a receiving position). I updated my original post.
 

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rugby incident.

play on. (stop game if you need medics on asap obvs and restart witha scrum to side in possession)
 

jdeagro


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rugby incident.

play on. (stop game if you need medics on asap obvs and restart witha scrum to side in possession)
You just made me do a double-take when I just read you say that on the other thread about the double tackle lol.

I like this answer simply because it's consistent to both sides in a situation where I personally felt their was equal blame. I also would've accepted if the ref gave out YC to both players. But I did not see justification (at least for scenario 1) to only YC one side in the incident.

Also, out of curiosity which team would you say is "in possession" when neither team had the ball at the time of the incident? Perhaps we just go to the receiving team out of simplicity for the situation? I doubt many would balk about that.
 

Phil E


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You just made me do a double-take when I just read you say that on the other thread about the double tackle lol.

I like this answer simply because it's consistent to both sides in a situation where I personally felt their was equal blame. I also would've accepted if the ref gave out YC to both players. But I did not see justification (at least for scenario 1) to only YC one side in the incident.

Also, out of curiosity which team would you say is "in possession" when neither team had the ball at the time of the incident? Perhaps we just go to the receiving team out of simplicity for the situation? I doubt many would balk about that.

The law says team going forward, not team in possession.
 

Ciaran Trainor


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For me, after play has stopped.
Scenario 1. Peep, I stopped play guys, Safety first, accidental clash of heads, nobody at fault, Scrum Blue.
Scenario 2. Pep, No foul play, accidental clash of heads, Safety first, Scrum Blue.

Doubt anyone could argue or convince me otherwise
 

Balones

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For me, after play has stopped.
Scenario 1. Peep, I stopped play guys, Safety first, accidental clash of heads, nobody at fault, Scrum Blue.
Scenario 2. Pep, No foul play, accidental clash of heads, Safety first, Scrum Blue.

Doubt anyone could argue or convince me otherwise
Why scrum blue and not red?
 
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