Maul - BC Knees Go to Ground

Gracie


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One of those decisions in a game where you doubt yourself!

Blue BC is wrapped up by red defender, other players quickly join in and 'maul' is called. Blue manages to get their knees to ground to immediate cries from his side that the red player must release him. Red player quickly releases the BC (I had said nothing), he gets to his feet still carrying the ball and runs towards the posts. I ping him for not releasing the ball in the tackle.

It turned out this, trying to get to ground and gain a PK was a clear tactic by Blue to overcome tunrovers. It was cute but the execution was not as clever!

My reading of this situation is that in a maul if the BC can get their knees to ground they have been tackled and the defender becomes the tackler and must release the player straight away; at the same time the tackled player must release the ball and make it immediately available; the defender can re-engage to get the ball (from their goal post side) - nice in theory but tough in atight maul situation. If the ball is not immediatley available turnover and scrum to defending side.

My sympathy was with the defenders. In a tight maul it can be hard to know that the player you were holding up to gain a turnover has managed to get a knee to ground.

In the game, I used Blue team's failure to make the ball immediately available a reason to award turnovers consistently.


But was I right?
 

Flish


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I think you were wrong, a maul can’t become a tackle, they don’t have to release. If the ball goes to ground a maul could become a ruck, but don’t think this fits your description. If his knees are on the ground it’s still a maul, although I would be thinking of quickly blowing it as unsuccessful and ordering a scrum. Technically, if they all let go of the ball carrier, even though they don’t have to, then it’s a successful maul and play on although it looks wrong
 

Dickie E


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Agree with Flish. Once you call 'maul' forget about tackle laws. If he gets a knee to the ground and the maul remains stationary, tell the SH that the maul has stopped moving. If it doesn't start moving again in 5 secs, blow it up as unplayable.

Note: don't be too quick to call 'maul'. If it is still a dynamic gaggle and likely to go to ground any time soon, treat it as a tackle.
 
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Taff


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... Note: don't be too quick to call 'maul'. If it is still a dynamic gaggle and likely to go to ground any time soon, treat it as a tackle.
Which is what they mean when you hear the expression “let it breathe” ie even though you may technically have a Maul, for the sake of continuity don’t call it a Maul straight away.

.... It turned out this, trying to get to ground and gain a PK was a clear tactic by Blue to overcome tunrovers.
I don’t think they were going to ground to gain a PK; they were trying to get to ground to create a Ruck.

.... My reading of this situation is that in a maul if the BC can get their knees to ground they have been tackled and the defender becomes the tackler and must release the player straight away ...
This is where you are getting confused Gracie. Once you have a Maul you can’t have a tackle.

If the ball carrier (BC) is held by a couple of opponents (but no team mates) then you haven’t yet got a Maul and the BC will try going to ground because it could still be a tackle, but once the Maul has formed (ie BC, and at least 1 opponent and 1 team mate – all on their feet and bound on) after letting it “breathe” a bit it’s too late for the BC to claim a tackle. So even if the BC gets to ground, there is no obligation on the opponents to release anyone; in fact releasing is the last thing they want to do as they want the turnover ball. Makes sense?
 
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Gracie


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The perfect steer is once its called a maul no tackle can take place; what was so wierd is that the Blue team kept screaming for a penalty because their BC's knees were on the ground and to address Taff's point, the BC made no attempt to get the ball to ground, just their knees!

It was one of those once in a blue moon "am I having a senior moment?' occasions because they were so vociferous I ended up questioning myself - turns out I should have trusted my instincts!

Thanks guys





I don’t think they were going to ground to gain a PK; they were trying to get to ground to create a Ruck
 

Dickie E


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also be wary of the ball carrier's team mate/s who try to "assist" the ball carrier to get to ground by dragging the whole thing down. Actually illegal but not always penalised.

[LAWS]9. All other players in a maul must endeavour to stay on their feet. [/LAWS]
 

didds

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I don’t think they were going to ground to gain a PK; they were trying to get to ground to create a Ruck.


whereas whilst in a parallel universe that may have been the outcome i think the reason the BC went to ground (grounded a knee) was a mistaken belief this created a tackle and the "tackler" has to release the BC - from where he can then play the ball as he feels fit/able (eg present for ruck, pass to another player etc.

clearly Blue hadn't really thought this through because they then obviously believed there wasn't a tackle despite tackle law being the crux of their tactic.

Meanwhile back in our universe...
didds
 

didds

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also be wary of the ball carrier's team mate/s who try to "assist" the ball carrier to get to ground by dragging the whole thing down. Actually illegal but not always penalised.

[LAWS]9. All other players in a maul must endeavour to stay on their feet. [/LAWS]


I don;t disagree but I do note that says "stay on THEIR feet"

Sp if they do stay on their feet but still drag the BC down presumably this law has not been broken anyway.

didds
 

Marc Wakeham


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I don;t disagree but I do note that says "stay on THEIR feet"

Sp if they do stay on their feet but still drag the BC down presumably this law has not been broken anyway.

didds

The danger of a literal reading of the laws.

Back to the question. Once it is a maul tackles are not longer a consideration. Yes, don't rush to call it a maul but don't be daft either If you have 6 or 7 plays bound on and the (2V1) criteria is met . Why be wrong in law by pretending it is not a maul?
 

Camquin

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And there is also

11: Players must not:

a: Intentionally collapse a maul
 

Phil E


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what was so wierd is that the Blue team kept screaming for a penalty

In which case I would have been happy to oblige...with a penalty against them for appealing.

If the ball carrier has his knees on the ground he has gone to ground. In the same way we deem a tackled player has gone to ground.
If the ball isn't immediately made available then its a turnover scrum.

[LAWS]DURING A MAUL
8. The ball-carrier in a maul may go to ground provided that player makes the ball available immediately. Sanction: Scrum.[/LAWS]

[LAWS]ENDING A MAUL
17. A maul ends unsuccessfully when:
d. The ball-carrier goes to ground and the ball is not immediately available.[/LAWS]
 

Jz558


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Having qualified 3 seasons ago I have found this site to be more than useful for my development as a referee. Rather than join the Society I decided to referee Youth games at both my local Club and School which has not only proved to be fantastically rewarding but has also given me the opportunity to be involved in high quality matches involving extremely talented young academy players and also others featuring those just starting out in our sport.

During that time, without doubt, the laws surrounding the ball carrier going to ground at the maul is the scenario I find myself explaining most often. I conservatively estimate that I have to explain this either to players or coaches in 1 in 3 of all the games I referee with very little distinction in frequency between age groups. I’ve heard “but Sir I’ve gone to ground so that’s a tackle” so often I am seriously considering including it in my PMB going forward. To me it seems to have taken over from “You’ve got to let him up” as the number one myth in rugby.

Still as every cloud has a silver lining, whilst I had begun to doubt my understanding of this area of the game, I was delighted to have it confirmed by earlier contributions and it prompted my first contribution on your excellent forum. Added to this, if I am questioned on it again this Saturday, this forum thread will be relatively easy to find as added gravitas.
 

DocY


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Having qualified 3 seasons ago I have found this site to be more than useful for my development as a referee. Rather than join the Society I decided to referee Youth games at both my local Club and School which has not only proved to be fantastically rewarding but has also given me the opportunity to be involved in high quality matches involving extremely talented young academy players and also others featuring those just starting out in our sport.

During that time, without doubt, the laws surrounding the ball carrier going to ground at the maul is the scenario I find myself explaining most often. I conservatively estimate that I have to explain this either to players or coaches in 1 in 3 of all the games I referee with very little distinction in frequency between age groups. I’ve heard “but Sir I’ve gone to ground so that’s a tackle” so often I am seriously considering including it in my PMB going forward. To me it seems to have taken over from “You’ve got to let him up” as the number one myth in rugby.

Still as every cloud has a silver lining, whilst I had begun to doubt my understanding of this area of the game, I was delighted to have it confirmed by earlier contributions and it prompted my first contribution on your excellent forum. Added to this, if I am questioned on it again this Saturday, this forum thread will be relatively easy to find as added gravitas.

Welcome to the forum!
 

Pinky


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Welcome Jz558. I would recommend you joining a society even if at this stage what you want to do is referee club and school games. you will get support there and help and advice with refereeing et the level you wish or with progressing if that is what you want to do.
 

Zebra1922


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It's amazing how few players understand the law here and are surprised/angry/dissenting when the tackled player (well BC) in the middle of a maul finally gets his knees to the ground and you give a turnover as unplayable.

You'd hope occasionally players would read a law two, but clearly that's hoping for too much......
 

Balones

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Perhaps Law Clarification 2/2011 may be useful here.
 

Marc Wakeham


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It's amazing how few players understand the law here and are surprised/angry/dissenting when the tackled player (well BC) in the middle of a maul finally gets his knees to the ground and you give a turnover as unplayable.

You'd hope occasionally players would read a law two, but clearly that's hoping for too much......


Might help if, as refs, we stop using terms like this for a player who has not been tackled!
 
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