Lifting leg to clear in the Ruck

Patrick

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I feel what's seen most often at the level of rugby I'm used to (and probably Patrick as well), in North America especially, is that the player isn't lifting the leg and driving the unbalanced player straight backwards in an attempt to clear him out. Instead, you have a player who's not advancing in a ruck and instead of getting out and forming a defensive line like most high level players would, they instead grab a leg and pivot the player they're picking up with that leg and fall on him or dump him on the ground. Most of the time it looks more like a UFC move than proper rugby tactics.

Yep - for sure at the U19s but also frequently at men's lower levels. Never in women's - at least I haven't seen an instance yet.

Above that level (D1 and some competitive D2s), I mostly see charging the Ruck without any attempt to bind with the coach yelling from Touch 'Charge over!' - perfect...

- Patrick
 

Pegleg

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I have to disagree. This is NOT dangerous in and of itself.

If a player, legally bound in a ruck or maul, takes an opponents leg to de-power him it is not contrary to law.

If, by doing so, he collapses ruck/maul then he is liable to sanction.

Just my opinion.

There's a little problem with this line of thought.

A few laws for you:

16.3(c) A player must not intentionally collapse a ruck. This is dangerous play.
Sanction: Penalty kick Does this differentiate between attempting to and succeeding? I think not. So, if you're trying (in my opinion) to collapse a ruck, I am going to ping you.

17.2 (e) A player must not intentionally collapse a maul. This is dangerous play.
Sanction: Penalty kick Does this differentiate between attempting to and succeeding? I think not. So, if you're trying (in my opinion) to collapse a Maul, I am going to ping you.

Moving to a related situation to rucks and mauls, the scrum:


20.9 (a) All players: Collapsing. A player must not intentionally collapse a scrum. A player must not
intentionally fall or kneel in a scrum. This is dangerous play.
Sanction: Penalty kick Does this differentiate between attempting to and succeeding? I think not. So, if you're trying (in my opinion) to collapse a scrum, I am going to ping you.

So three requirements not to collapse.
As I say I am not going to differentiate between successful attempts to collapse and those that fail.
The scrum law also states:


20.8(g) Twisting, dipping or collapsing. Front row players must not twist or lower their bodies, or
pull opponents, or do anything that is likely to collapse the scrum, either when the ball is
being thrown in or afterwards.
Sanction: Penalty kick

For me the bit I've underlined is critical "anything that is likely to collapse". True this law specifically refers to the front row. However, is it logical to say that whilst the front row can't do such things others can? That would be absurd.

Furthermore why do we have the above laws? Simply to try and keep the player safe and uninjured. So for me there is no logic to not saying that "A player must NOT do anything that is likely to collapse a Scrum, ruck or maul.

So since lifting a leg is likely to cause a collapse of a ruck or maul I think it should be pigged just as we do with a scrum.

Now people will no doubt argue that "if the IRB wanted that interpretation they would put it in each of the Maul and ruck law just as 20.8 (g) is in the Scrum law AND extend the remit to cover all player and not just front rows." However, If we:

1; use common sense. Why allow the 4,5,6,7 and / or 8 to "do anything that is likely to collapse the scrum" but ban 1,2 & 3 from doing so? It is not logical. As referees surely we are there to make (workable) sense of a poorly written law book.

2; Prescient. When the IRB confirmed the "rolling against stationary ball" situation with regard to touch. It was asked if this should apply also to the other lines (Goal, 22, DBL etc) the IRB said that it was logical to be consistent so (of course) it should.#

I therefore believe that we can / should reasonably assume the unwritten laws as follows:

A player must not intentionally collapse a scrum, ruck or maul. This is dangerous play.

Sanction: Penalty kick

and

Twisting, dipping or collapsing. Players must not twist or lower their bodies, or
pull opponents, or do anything that is likely to collapse a scrum, ruck or maul.
Sanction: Penalty kick






 

Pegleg

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Furthermore, we are there to apply the laws with regard to: Safety, equity and law. The WRU, in its level one course places the emphasis in this order.

It therefore seems odd to, potentially, have to identical ruck scenarios with a player's leg being lifted. Identical to the point where one of the rucks changes course and collapse with serious injury occurring.

So when the, inevitable, questions are asked what does the referee say to explain his part in the events?

Referee: "I felt red 6, who was legally bound in the ruck, took blue 4's leg in an attempt to de-power him and not to collapse the ruck. When It collapsed I gave a penalty."

Investigator: "What about your duty of care?"

Referee: " I referee according to the laws of the game. There is nothing that says you can't grab the leg of a player in a ruck. As long as you don't collapse the ruck. If you do then it's a penalty. I gave the Penalty so I acted correctly."

Investigator: " What about the inference in law 20.8 and 20. 9 as to the dangers inherent in collapsing scums which are very similar structures dynamically?"

and the debate goes on.

Why put yourself and the players in that position. Lifting a leg is likely to cause a dangerous collapse. Manage it BEFORE the injury and not after is the best way.
 

The Fat


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Need to differentiate the leg lift between players cleaning out in a driving through action as opposed to players who are basically static and then grab and lift the leg of an opponent in the ruck.

The first action is universally coached where the person cleaning out takes an arm and leg while positioning his shoulder below the chest/torso of the person being cleared out as he drives through (plane taking off scenario). This is quite legal and acceptable.

The second action of grabbing the leg of an opposition player in the ruck and lifting (usually from a more static position) is dangerous play IMO and should be managed/penalised.


 
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ChrisR

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Pegleg, you're extrapolating beyond reason.

Would you sanction a tackler if he took the BC's leg and took him to ground? I wouldn't unless the BC ended up on his head. Am I wrong for not whistling the leg lift a the tackle because it could have ended badly? I don't think so but I think that this analogy has as much bearing on the subject as scrum law.

It is illegal for a front row player in a scrum to drive his opponent upwards. Does this apply to rucks or mauls? There is no way that a scrum player can legally grasp an opponents leg. Therefor, all references to scrums/scrum law are meaningless regards this thread.

I agree that a dangerous situation can develop when a player lifts an opponents leg. If you think that it is, in and of itself, dangerous then ping it. Me? I'm going to read it in the context of the situation and act accordingly.
 

Pegleg

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A tackle is clearly defined as legal. sorry it is you that is extrapolating to the extreme.

A player expects to be tackled. He does not expect to have his legs lifted in a ruck or maul.

Interestingly I have been conducting a survey amongst players and not one, so far, thinks leg lifting should be allowed in ruck or maul.
 

ChrisR

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Yes, agreed, tackles are legal. However some aspects of tackles are illegal. Lifting a leg in a tackle is not deemed illegal. Lifting a leg in a ruck/maul is not banned in law so my point was if you think it dangerous then treat it as such.

I think that it could become dangerous if it was used to collapse the ruck/maul but not dangerous in and of itself. Similarly lifting a leg in a tackle could become dangerous if it was used to put the BC on his head.

Yes, players don't like getting their leg lifted. So what. Drive low and your leg won't be available.
 

SimonSmith


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To jump on Marauders point:
i think that describing an act as automatically illegal is risky.

better to judge each instance as you see it, other than the usual absolutes (fingers in the eyes for example)
 

The Fat


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General question.
There are certain "Laws" that we get in our heads that are just not questioned. For me, the lifting of an opponents leg in a maul is one of those. I would have "bet me left nut" that there was specific reference to this in the LoTG but on checking, could not find it in either Law 10 or Law 17.
I have checked back to the 2009 book but came up empty handed. Are others under the same line of thought i.e. lifting the leg in a maul was SPECIFICALLY mentioned in the LoTG?
Any historical reference to a past law from OB perhaps?
 

Pegleg

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Yes, agreed, tackles are legal. However some aspects of tackles are illegal. Lifting a leg in a tackle is not deemed illegal. Lifting a leg in a ruck/maul is not banned in law so my point was if you think it dangerous then treat it as such.

I think that it could become dangerous if it was used to collapse the ruck/maul but not dangerous in and of itself. Similarly lifting a leg in a tackle could become dangerous if it was used to put the BC on his head.

Yes, players don't like getting their leg lifted. So what. Drive low and your leg won't be available.


I consider it illegal in a ruck or maul because I have yet to see it one there where I've not felt it dangerous. If I ever see it and consider it not dangerous I'll let it go. Regarding your earlier diferentiation between Scrum and ruck / maul. We used to use the term loose scrum for rucks (when they really were rucks) Dynamically they are very similar.
 

ChrisR

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I haven't heard "loose scrum" for a while! I agree that there is a connection between ruck, maul & scrum that isn't in tackle. That is the binding of additional players and that element has caused me to reconsider and modify my position. A product and benefit of the diverse views and experiences of this august group.

I'm dropping 'scrum' from the conversation as it has no direct bearing on the subject (there is no legal way that a scrum player can grasp an opponents leg).

I agree that lifting an opponents leg in a maul can destabilize it because because it's multiple players bound in a very dynamic and unpredictable environment. Therefor, I agree with the majority that would disallow it.

Rucks tend to be much less dynamic than mauls but, again, multiple players bound together could create problems if one of the is destabilized by a leg lift causing a collapse. So, where multiple players form the ruck I'll side with the majority.

That leaves one-on-one clearing out. This I don't have a problem with a player taking a leg if all else is legal
 

ChrisR

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Continuing previous post ....

One v. one leg-lifting clear out. This could be the BC's support driving off the jackler who, crouching for the ball, is somewhat vulnerable to getting his leg grabbed. If the jackler gets the ball in hand then this morphs into a tackle. It could be a defender driving off the BC's support. It could be the BC's support engaging the incoming opponent over the ball and taking his leg to keep from being driven off.

I see none of these 1 v. 1 scenarios as illegal or dangerous in and of themselves.

However, if the leg-lifter drop his op on top of the ball then collapsing the ruck would come into play.

If the leg-lifter drives his op away to expose the ball and end the ruck and both stay on their feet then no problem.

If the op goes to ground away from the ruck it's also no problem for me but I suspect others won't see it that way.
 

L'irlandais

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... Regarding your earlier diferentiation between Scrum and ruck / maul. We used to use the term loose scrum for rucks (when they really were rucks) Dynamically they are very similar.
In French a ruck is still called "mêlée spontannée" (or sometimes "mêlée ouverte") Mêlée being the official term for "scrum". Elsewhere "mêlée" in french refers to "hand-to-hand combat".
 

Patrick

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Sorry Guys, been away doing 'life' things - plus the Thanksgiving holiday is upon us over here so all the boys are out of school and work seems to have compressed to a ridiculous few hours.

Anyway, I had a couple matches this weekend - all collage boys, D1.

I used the 'release the leg' to GREAT effect!

I tried to take into consideration pushing back vs collapsing and it really worked.

Three, maybe four calls in the first half and NONE in the second half.

Thanks for all the input!

Patrick
 
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