NZ v Argentina : A question

Crucial

Rugby Expert
Joined
Sep 28, 2014
Messages
278
Post Likes
79
Current Referee grade:
Select Grade
Hi all,

I hope you don't mind me butting into your forums to hopefully tap into your combined knowledge, but I have a question regarding a ruling made twice by Craig Joubert in the AB/ARG test.

Joubert penalised McCaw (and later an Argentinian player) for 'swinging around the ruck', an 'offense I have never seen or heard of before.

SA Rugby Refs discussed this back in April this year after a ruling during a Super Rugby game and couldn't come to a conclusion either.

I will try and find a clip and post it but from memory McCaw arrived at a breakdown after a tackle on a 'blue' ball carrier. The next arrival was a supporting blue player who formed a ruck with McCaw and twisted black around and up in the wrestle over the ball. Black ended up with his feet beside the breakdown and was able to then reach around with his leg and kick the ball from the back of the ruck (blue side). Joubert blew the penalty and said 'you can't swing around the ruck'.

Salient points:

The ruck was formed legally. Not in the side. Contact wasn't broken between the players.

So if McCaw became part off (formed) a ruck, on his feet, from behind the ball and remained bound, what Law says he cannot then reach around the ruck with his foot to play the ball?

In a way I can see that the ruling was consistent with the way mauls are ruled on (regardless of the stated Law) where a player that joins, is bound, and doesn't become unbound, is told to remove himself from the maul if it swings around and he becomes on the 'wrong' side. He has committed no offence and done everything by the book but gets told to detach.

Is this (the ruck question, not the maul) another 'directive' to referees that no one else knows about? It sure seemed to puzzle both players that were penalised the other night.
 

menace


Referees in Australia
Joined
Nov 20, 2009
Messages
3,657
Post Likes
633
Current Referee grade:
Level 2
I've not yet seen the game you mention but in the clip you provided, CJs secondary signal appears IMO to be an animated 'incorrect entry' (or 'in the side'). Effectively in the vid it's the 2nd player that hooks around that I think he PKs for entry/offside.
One could argue that he's bound properly, but I'd say his joining the ruck may have been marginal and at the time of his hooking for the ball makes it look like he's not fully bound (ie his right shoulder and arm appear to separate so that he can pivot round)

PS I've been told that this sort of action should be penalised if the player is not absolutely fully bound in the ruck the whole time (and they've joined correctly).
 
Last edited:

Crucial

Rugby Expert
Joined
Sep 28, 2014
Messages
278
Post Likes
79
Current Referee grade:
Select Grade
Thanks Menace.

If the player isn't properly bound at all times then I agree. That's like someone 'swimming' up the side at a maul.

I know it's difficult without the pictures of the PKs I am asking about but imagine if the players concerned were bound at all times. Where is the offence then?

Also,if it's a case that CJ feels they were unbound then why not just an offside call? Why complicate matters with a ruling that doesn't technically exist? He specifically says 'you can't swing around the side'. My question is 'why not?'
 

Ian_Cook


Referees in New Zealand
Staff member
Joined
Jul 12, 2005
Messages
13,684
Post Likes
1,771
Current Referee grade:
Level 2
Crucial

I saw the match and I know the incident you were talking about. IMO, they were both correct decisions by Joubert

A player bound to a ruck (or bound into it by other players in the ruck) and on his feet, is entitled to play the ball in the opponent's side of the ruck with his feet, provided that he comes "through the middle". What he cannot do is what both McCaw and Senatore(?) did, and that is, hang of the side of the ruck so that he is almost horizontal, swing his leg around the players in the ruck, and hook the ball out with his heel.

Its is doubtful that either player was correctly bound, but even if they were, they must remain on their feet to play the ball. IMO, in both cases (its more obvious in McCaw's case) that the players were off their feet.

[LAWS]LAW 16 DEFINITIONS
A ruck is a phase of play where one or more players from each team, who are on their feet, in physical contact, close around the ball on the ground. Open play has ended.
Players are rucking when they are in a ruck and using their feet to try to win or keep possession of the ball, without being guilty of foul play.[/LAWS]

[LAWS]LAW 16.3 RUCKING
(a) Players in a ruck must endeavour to stay on their feet.
Sanction: Penalty kick[/LAWS]
 

Crucial

Rugby Expert
Joined
Sep 28, 2014
Messages
278
Post Likes
79
Current Referee grade:
Select Grade
Thanks Ian.

For starters 16.3 must be the most ignored Law in the book at present

Secondly if you have one foot on the ground surely you have to be 'on your feet' otherwise correct rucking (ie with a lifted foot) would deem you off your feet

Have a look at the SA Refs clip (same ref, same decision). If you ignore the possible loss of bind from the player, he still had a foot on the ground and was therefore on his feet. The call is quite clearly 'Swinging around the ruck'. If he had jumped there you have a point, even if pedantic, of being off his feet at some point. But he didn't.

Neither Law you quote applies to the situation.
 

Ian_Cook


Referees in New Zealand
Staff member
Joined
Jul 12, 2005
Messages
13,684
Post Likes
1,771
Current Referee grade:
Level 2
Thanks Ian.

For starters 16.3 must be the most ignored Law in the book at present

Secondly if you have one foot on the ground surely you have to be 'on your feet' otherwise correct rucking (ie with a lifted foot) would deem you off your feet

Have a look at the SA Refs clip (same ref, same decision). If you ignore the possible loss of bind from the player, he still had a foot on the ground and was therefore on his feet. The call is quite clearly 'Swinging around the ruck'. If he had jumped there you have a point, even if pedantic, of being off his feet at some point. But he didn't.

Neither Law you quote applies to the situation.

McCaw was almost lying on this side with one knee on the ground. That is not "on your feet".

I may have the game on MySky at home, I will try to dig out the footage and post a clip tonight. '

I think you will find most here will agree that what McCaw and Senatore did was not legal?
 

Crucial

Rugby Expert
Joined
Sep 28, 2014
Messages
278
Post Likes
79
Current Referee grade:
Select Grade
Cheers. I'm not trying to argue that it was legal, I'm trying to determine what Law CJ was applying.

If McCaw was 'off his feet' then that is a different thing to 'swinging around the side'. The Argentina player was also pinged for the same 'offence' under slightly differing circumstances and in the SA refs clip, that again was different.

The question really is whether CJ (as he is the only ref I have ever seen or heard making this call), has made up something, whether this is maybe a directive I don't know about (quite possible as I'm not a ref), or whether CJ is using this terminology for various offences that end similarly (quite odd).

The common factor is a player swinging his outside leg around the ruck to play the ball and being penalised for that action.

Perhaps the better question to ask if that if I am legally bound in a ruck and can reach around the ruck with my foot to play at the ball, is that legal? CJ appears to think it isn't.
 

Ian_Cook


Referees in New Zealand
Staff member
Joined
Jul 12, 2005
Messages
13,684
Post Likes
1,771
Current Referee grade:
Level 2
OK so here is the clip of McCaw (I can'tfind the the one of the Argentine player being PK for the same thing as I only have the highlights package).


McCaw definitely looks off his feet when he kicks the ball.
 

Benny

New member
Joined
Jul 31, 2013
Messages
9
Post Likes
2
Current Referee grade:
Select Grade
I also have a question about that game. In the 6th minute, Savea chips ahead and Hernandez catches and runs the ball into touch. Before putting the ball down, he taps it onto the back of the AR then places it for the ABs. The ABs take a quick throw but it's called back because the ball touched the AR. Is it just me or was tapping the ball on the back of the AR against the spirit of the law? Is it legal? He had no reason to do it besides preventing a quick throw
 

menace


Referees in Australia
Joined
Nov 20, 2009
Messages
3,657
Post Likes
633
Current Referee grade:
Level 2
OK so here is the clip of McCaw (I can'tfind the the one of the Argentine player being PK for the same thing as I only have the highlights package).


McCaw definitely looks off his feet when he kicks the ball.
I agree. I would also say that he wasn't bound in the ruck at the time either. He formed the ruck with the in contact, but then didn't remain bound and then had a second go and swung the leg around as he was effectively losing his feet.
I also agree that the wording by CJ is poor...I think for a ref at his level he should be using the right law terms so that there is no doubt about what he means (his secondary signal seems to again suggest incorrect entry ?!)
 

menace


Referees in Australia
Joined
Nov 20, 2009
Messages
3,657
Post Likes
633
Current Referee grade:
Level 2
I also have a question about that game. In the 6th minute, Savea chips ahead and Hernandez catches and runs the ball into touch. Before putting the ball down, he taps it onto the back of the AR then places it for the ABs. The ABs take a quick throw but it's called back because the ball touched the AR. Is it just me or was tapping the ball on the back of the AR against the spirit of the law? Is it legal? He had no reason to do it besides preventing a quick throw

I have no issue with that. As he was the one taking into touch I think he has every right to ensure that it is 'dead' to stop a QT (not just a zombie ball ie half dead but half alive). He only stops a QT, he doesn't stop the potential for a quick lineout. Was there an opposition player trying to get the ball from him? If not then no issue. Also if there is a 'third party' deliberately getting involved to prevent a QT then I think that becomes an issue.

But I could be wrong and I'm happy to be corrected.
 

Dixie


Referees in England
Joined
Oct 26, 2006
Messages
12,773
Post Likes
338
I also have a question about that game. In the 6th minute, Savea chips ahead and Hernandez catches and runs the ball into touch. Before putting the ball down, he taps it onto the back of the AR then places it for the ABs. The ABs take a quick throw but it's called back because the ball touched the AR. Is it just me or was tapping the ball on the back of the AR against the spirit of the law? Is it legal? He had no reason to do it besides preventing a quick throw

I have no issue with that. As he was the one taking into touch I think he has every right to ensure that it is 'dead' to stop a QT (not just a zombie ball ie half dead but half alive). He only stops a QT, he doesn't stop the potential for a quick lineout. Was there an opposition player trying to get the ball from him? If not then no issue. Also if there is a 'third party' deliberately getting involved to prevent a QT then I think that becomes an issue.

But I could be wrong and I'm happy to be corrected.

[LAWS]Law 19.2(i) If a player carrying the ball is forced into touch, that player must release the ball to an opposition player so that
there can be a quick throw-in.
Sanction: Penalty kick on 15-metre line[/LAWS]

This is an interesting one. My gut goes with Benny, and I'd justify it in law using 19.2(i). If the ball carrier deliberately touches the ball onto an AR to prevent the possibility of a QT, can he really be said to have released " the ball to an opposition player so that
there can be a quick throw-in."? Against that, it is possible to argue that 19.2(i) applies only when an oppo is physically there agitating for the ball. As I said, my gut goes with Benny on that one.

In international games in the not-too-distant past, we've seen Ben Youngs YC'd for preventing a QT in similar circumstances by dropping the ball into the crowd (2011 Dublin). I can't recall the proximity or otherwise of Irish attackers, but there was not so much controversy surrounding it except on here, IIRC. I'd view it the same as throwing the ball away at a PK, or "accidentally" kicking it backwards as you retire from the mark. I'd also like to sees the laws treat it the same - i.e. instead of a PK, Line of Touch advanced 10m further forward, still with the possibility of a QT notwithstanding the oppo attempt to cheat you out of it.
 

menace


Referees in Australia
Joined
Nov 20, 2009
Messages
3,657
Post Likes
633
Current Referee grade:
Level 2
Ok. Fair enough.
What if he just drops the ball and it 'conveniently' (ie deliberately) rolls into the legs of the AR? (Or the ball boy/TV cameraman/boom operator)
Both of those to me are smart ways of preventing a QT without necessarily denying access to it for the oppo?
I can't see myself PKing for that.

Perhaps my threshold is all wrong then?
 

Browner

Banned
Joined
Jan 20, 2012
Messages
6,000
Post Likes
270
[LAWS]Law 19.2(i) If a player carrying the ball is forced into touch, that player must release the ball to an opposition player so that
there can be a quick throw-in.
Sanction: Penalty kick on 15-metre line[/LAWS]

This is an interesting one. My gut goes with Benny, and I'd justify it in law using 19.2(i). If the ball carrier deliberately touches the ball onto an AR to prevent the possibility of a QT, can he really be said to have released " the ball to an opposition player so that
there can be a quick throw-in."? Against that, it is possible to argue that 19.2(i) applies only when an oppo is physically there agitating for the ball. As I said, my gut goes with Benny on that one.

In international games in the not-too-distant past, we've seen Ben Youngs YC'd for preventing a QT in similar circumstances by dropping the ball into the crowd (2011 Dublin). I can't recall the proximity or otherwise of Irish attackers, but there was not so much controversy surrounding it except on here, IIRC. I'd view it the same as throwing the ball away at a PK, or "accidentally" kicking it backwards as you retire from the mark. I'd also like to sees the laws treat it the same - i.e. instead of a PK, Line of Touch advanced 10m further forward, still with the possibility of a QT notwithstanding the oppo attempt to cheat you out of it.

No way Menace, he does not have the right to carryout such gamesmanship.

Its a pet hate of mine, the team engaging in the gamesmanship ( some call it professionalism!) Never ever should get an advantage from their contrivance.

Id allow the QTI in that case, or if it was more so impeded ... a PK.
 

Browner

Banned
Joined
Jan 20, 2012
Messages
6,000
Post Likes
270
Ok. Fair enough.
What if he just drops the ball and it 'conveniently' (ie deliberately) rolls into the legs of the AR? (Or the ball boy/TV cameraman/boom operator)
Both of those to me are smart ways of preventing a QT without necessarily denying access to it for the oppo?
I can't see myself PKing for that.

Perhaps my threshold is all wrong then?

Accidental might get away with it but , I bet the pros don't do it by accident, they practice it!!
 

OB..


Referees in England
Staff member
Joined
Oct 7, 2004
Messages
22,981
Post Likes
1,838
The law is obviously unsatisfactory. It needs to be made clear whether and under what circumstances players ae entitled to take legitimate actions to prevent a QTI. Not easy, but necesary nonetheless. Would it matter if the law said that team members (players and coaches etc) were not allowed to take any action to prevent a QTI?
 

crossref


Referees in England
Joined
Sep 14, 2009
Messages
21,816
Post Likes
3,154
it seems to me that the ball carriers responsibilities are clear : to release the ball so that there can be a quick throw-in. So any messing from him - bouncing ball off a third person - is clearly an offence as he hasn't released so so that there can be a QTI

what is a grey area is the loose ball - most often a kicked ball, obviosuly, but also you could ask the same of a loose ball that was carried and then released as the Law requires :

when a ball is loose in touch, are players from the side that have put the ball in touch allowed to chase after the loose ball and touch it, so as deny the chance of a quick throw. I say yes.
 
Last edited:

Ian_Cook


Referees in New Zealand
Staff member
Joined
Jul 12, 2005
Messages
13,684
Post Likes
1,771
Current Referee grade:
Level 2
it seems to me that the ball carriers responsibilities are clear : to release the ball so that there can be a quick throw-in. So any messing from him - bouncing ball off a third person - is clearly an offence as he hasn't released so so that there can be a QTI

what is a grey area is the loose ball - most often a kicked ball, obviosuly, but also you could ask the same of a loose ball that was carried and then released as the Law requires :

when a ball is loose in touch, are players from the side that have put the ball in touch allowed to chase after the loose ball and touch it, so as deny the chance of a quick throw. I say yes.

I was with you right up the last thee words. How is "players from the side that have put the ball in touch allowed to chase after the loose ball and touch it, so as deny the chance of a quick throw" any different from "team mates of the player that carried the ball into touch allowed to chase after him and touch the ball, so as deny the chance of a quick throw."

There is a simple way to make the loose ball scenario easier to manage. Remove the bit in red from this Law.

[LAWS]19.2 (d) For a quick throw-in, the player must use the ball that went into touch. A quick throw-in is
not permitted if another person has touched the ball apart from the player throwing it in and
an opponent who carried it into touch.
The same team throws into the lineout. [/LAWS]

I think this is currently being trialled in the Australian Rugby Championship.

I would then finish the job by making the following change (added in red)

[LAWS]19.2 (i) If a player carrying the ball is forced into touch, that player must release the ball to an opposition player so that there can be a quick throw-in. That player must not take any action to prevent a quick throw-in being taken.[/LAWS]
 

Crucial

Rugby Expert
Joined
Sep 28, 2014
Messages
278
Post Likes
79
Current Referee grade:
Select Grade
I agree. I would also say that he wasn't bound in the ruck at the time either. He formed the ruck with the in contact, but then didn't remain bound and then had a second go and swung the leg around as he was effectively losing his feet.
I also agree that the wording by CJ is poor...I think for a ref at his level he should be using the right law terms so that there is no doubt about what he means (his secondary signal seems to again suggest incorrect entry ?!)

I don't like to keep harbouring the point, but it really seems like you are all missing the point and what CJ says.

CJ does not say he was offside, nor unbound, nor off his feet. What he say quite clearly to McCaw after blowing the whistle is "Swinging around the ruck. You can't swing around the ruck and kick the ball". Then when McCaw queries him he says "I understand its just your foot but you cant swing around"

I don't care about the PK. I'm not arguing that all was legal - in fact their were Argentinian players lifting legs in a dangerous fashion and grappling around the head if we want to go that far. What I'm asking, and no one seems to know, is where Joubert's interpretation about 'swinging around the ruck comes from'. I can't match it to Law yet he now has a track record of making this call and even has an arm signal for it.

Ignore the minute circumstances of this clip and the other one posted and answer this question.

If I am legally bound to a ruck and can swing my foot around to the ball, can I do that?

Is this a new directive? Is it a local Law?
 
Top