NZ v Argentina : A question

Ian_Cook


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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?

I think CJ worded his communication with McCaw poorly.

McCaw initially joined the maul correctly (from directly behind the ball) so I do not believe that "joining incorrectly" is what he did wrong. I maintain that McCaw was off his feet (lying on top of an Argentine player) when he kicked the ball. I expect players who wish to play the ball in a ruck with their feet to come through the middle of the ruck in a forward direction over the ball and be on their feet, i.e. upright, not parallel to the ground.

But I'll tell you what, why don't you ask them?

http://www.sareferees.com/laws/ask-the-ref/

then watch for the answer here

http://www.sareferees.com/news/duty-ref/

If the question is accepted, they usually answer within 1 to 2 weeks. Several of us here have asked a number of questions (and got answers) over the last few years.
 

Crucial

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Thanks Ian, I will do so.

Your explanation of what you expect "through the middle of the ruck in a forward direction over the ball" is probably the key.

Can you enlighten me as to where this comes from? There is no requirement in Law to do this, just as there is no requirement to detach from a maul you have legally joined and remained bound to but have been 'swung around'. As a player you are abiding by the law and not attemping anything illegal yet are likely to get penalised due to a referee's 'invention'.

As both examples could be easily fixed by altering the Law wording why do you think the IRB persist with having players and coaches learn form the book they provide only to have referees operate otherwise? A frustrating situation for all parties, surely?

I'm not talking about wording interpretation, we all live with that and the ref being sole judge. I'm talking about things like 'coming through the middle' that have no match anywhere in the law book, yet players are expected to abide to.
 

Ian_Cook


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Thanks Ian, I will do so.

Your explanation of what you expect "through the middle of the ruck in a forward direction over the ball" is probably the key.

Can you enlighten me as to where this comes from? There is no requirement in Law to do this, just as there is no requirement to detach from a maul you have legally joined and remained bound to but have been 'swung around'. As a player you are abiding by the law and not attemping anything illegal yet are likely to get penalised due to a referee's 'invention'.


There are a lot of things that are only published in refereeing guidelines, i.e. guidelines as to how referees are expected to interpret Laws. A good example of this is the Tackle Law. Law 15 states in its various parts that...

► the tackled player must release the ball, and may do so by placing, pushing or passing the ball.
► the tackled player must release the ball to a player on his feet who is trying to take it off him.
► the tackler must release the tackled player and get to his feet before playing the ball.
► non tacklers (tackle assists) who brought the ball carrier to ground must release the tackled player and re-enter the tackle zone through the gate.

However, the Law is completely silent on the ORDER in which these things must happen, so, we have guidelines that essentially say that the tackled player MUST be released first, before being required to release the ball. If the tackler gets to his feet, or the tackle assist brings the ball carrier to ground without letting go of the tackled player before attempting to take the ball, then even though the tackled player is not releasing the ball to the opponent on his feet, we PK that tackler or tackle assist for not releasing.

This is from the NZRU Game Management Guidelines (You can get the PDF from here).

http://www.wrra.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/130520-WRG-131.pdf


Quick Ball at Tackle/Ruck
a. Tackler – must roll clear quickly and not impede ball availability. Need to roll to side (east/west) and NOT onto opponents side.
b. Tackler Assist – players need to clearly separate/release
c. Taking out players in front of the ball - Deal with players taking space past the tackle and taking out defenders. Also players grabbing, holding, obstructing others. Difficult for a referee to manage – normally requires punitive action.


None of this is in the iRB Law Book

Most National Unions have referee guidelines. Here are the ARU ones for example

http://www.rugby.com.au/Portals/22/2014 Laws/2014 Game Management Guidelines.pdf

As both examples could be easily fixed by altering the Law wording why do you think the IRB persist with having players and coaches learn form the book they provide only to have referees operate otherwise? A frustrating situation for all parties, surely?

Take a number on that one. There is a long list of things that are poorly worded in the Law book. Frustrating indeed!
 
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Rushforth


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Ian, would you be willing and able to provide a compare/contrast document on the key issues, broader than just this question?
 

Ian_Cook


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Ian, would you be willing and able to provide a compare/contrast document on the key issues, broader than just this question?

Not sure what you mean.

Compare/contrast law with guidelines?

Are you asking if I know of such a document or are you asking me to write one (a MAJOR undertaking)?
 

Ian_Cook


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In the old days, my Laws of the Game book had what we used to call "pink pages".

Their official title was "Notes on the Law". These pink pages were inserted after each Law (the whole Law not just the clause) and had the same numbering.

For example, in the one I have quoted in this thread, the Law is this

[LAWS]15.4 THE TACKLER
(a) When a player tackles an opponent and they both go to ground, the tackler must
immediately release the tackled player.
Sanction: Penalty kick
(b) The tackler must immediately get up or move away from the tackled player and from the
ball at once.
Sanction: Penalty kick
(c) The tackler must get up before playing the ball and then may play the ball from any
direction.
Sanction: Penalty kick[/LAWS]

and its corresponding pink page entry might look something like this....

15.4 (a) Watch for tacklers intentionally falling on the opponent's side. Being trapped is no excuse for not making an attempt to roll away. The onus is on the tackler not to get himself trapped.

15.4 (b) Tackler must roll clear quickly and not impede ball availability. Need to roll to side (east/west) and NOT onto opponent's side.

15.4 (c) Watch for the tackler keeping "hands on" while getting to his feet
. Tacklers must release and get completely onto their feet before playing the ball. Tacklers must not push themselves up by leaning on the tackled player.


I'm not sure when "Notes in the Law" pages were discontinued (maybe around 2000?) but I think it was a mistake for the practice not to continue,. How valuable would it be for new referees to have the Laws AND an explanation of what to look for all in the one document?
 
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menace


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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.

So you're penalising the oppo player that hells to the BC "yep on your inside" to try an fool him into passing it to the wrong player?
You might say it's different...I don't think it is.

As OB says...the law wording need to be cleaned up to make the intent clearer.
 

menace


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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?

Sorry, I thought I did answer you. IMO I thought CJ is PK for incorrect entry/ side entry based on his 2ndry signal (it's a slight variation of 'in the side' with a loop to suggest coming around and 'into the side', but he uses poor words. Ian_C feels McCaw was off his feet. I'd say that's marginal but plausible. But to be honest I can't say exactly what CJ meant either cause I can't prevent to be 100% sure. I'd say CJ needs to use law terminology so as to not create the confusion like you're experiencing.

I'd also say if you're not bound properly and swinging round to kick the ball then you're both offside and not entering (or re-entering) the ruck correctly. If you remain bound and push through and swing round then I will probably let that go as legal. BUT not many I've ever seen that try it manage to remain legal - because it's hard to do and remain fully and entirely bound (IMHO).

Does that give you my position on it?
 

Crucial

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Sorry, I thought I did answer you. IMO I thought CJ is PK for incorrect entry/ side entry based on his 2ndry signal (it's a slight variation of 'in the side' with a loop to suggest coming around and 'into the side', but he uses poor words. Ian_C feels McCaw was off his feet. I'd say that's marginal but plausible. But to be honest I can't say exactly what CJ meant either cause I can't prevent to be 100% sure. I'd say CJ needs to use law terminology so as to not create the confusion like you're experiencing.

I'd also say if you're not bound properly and swinging round to kick the ball then you're both offside and not entering (or re-entering) the ruck correctly. If you remain bound and push through and swing round then I will probably let that go as legal. BUT not many I've ever seen that try it manage to remain legal - because it's hard to do and remain fully and entirely bound (IMHO).

Does that give you my position on it?

Yes it does. Thanks.

The problem here is that CJ has used this terminology in other instances (including the same game) and other circumstances. It surely can't be poor wording every time?

He clearly says ' you can't swing around' and that's what he is awarding the PK for in this case and in others.

Same ref, same ruling, same wording, differing circumstances. No one is addressing this and instead keep focusing on other possible reasons for the one instance.

You say that if a player remains bound and swings around to kick the ball you would 'probably let that go as legal'. Either it is legal or it isn't. Saying 'probably let that go' implies that you see something wrong in it yet can't explain what that wrong may be.

All I have been asking is for anyone here to point me to the Law or directive that says that 'swinging around the ruck' is, by itself, not allowed.

As no one can do so I will crawl back into my hole, reaffirming my concept that referees sometimes pull Laws out of their arses and players and public just have to live with that.

SA Refs site have already stated that they can't find the illegality but their sample size is one instance. I have pointed out the others to them and asked the Duty Ref for an opinion. Hopefully they can expand further or even get CJ himself to explain.
 

menace


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Yes it does. Thanks.

The problem here is that CJ has used this terminology in other instances (including the same game) and other circumstances. It surely can't be poor wording every time?

He clearly says ' you can't swing around' and that's what he is awarding the PK for in this case and in others.

Same ref, same ruling, same wording, differing circumstances. No one is addressing this and instead keep focusing on other possible reasons for the one instance.
Fair point. But I would not say he is solely giving the PK for 'the swinging around' despite his poor wording. I suspect it's for something else, because as you say there is not such law that says 'you can't swing around'. As far as I know CJ is the only one that is using this term, and a few of us have said that it is poor terminology and he should stick to law terminology for the benefit of all. I too am surprised he hasn't been picked up by the IRB referee assessors and told to change.

You say that if a player remains bound and swings around to kick the ball you would 'probably let that go as legal'. Either it is legal or it isn't. Saying 'probably let that go' implies that you see something wrong in it yet can't explain what that wrong may be.

All I have been asking is for anyone here to point me to the Law or directive that says that 'swinging around the ruck' is, by itself, not allowed.

I thought I was quite clear saying that IMO 'swinging around' can be done legally, so I don't think the action itself is illegal. I can't categorically say that if I see it I will PK it, because it's the precursor actions to it that will dictate if it's legal or not (in my mind anyway).

You are right that there is no specific law that says 'you can't swing around the ruck', but there is a law that says you need to enter the ruck correctly and (remain) bound in the ruck to ruck the ball with your feet (and also come from hindmost feet to be onside). Sometimes there not specific law to cover every precise action, but it is actually covered under another law.

For eg, There is also no specific law that says you can't spit on another player, but you know we will penalise it (or worse) and say to the player 'you can't spit on someone', but what we are really doing is penalising under law 10 foul play.

As no one can do so I will crawl back into my hole, reaffirming my concept that referees sometimes pull Laws out of their arses and players and public just have to live with that.

I think that's a little unfair assessment. I would say that sometimes terminology and signals may be pulled out of their arses and it causes confusion but at the elite level such as CJ, he won't be inventing his own laws. You don't get to be a test level referee by being a rogue law maker of your own.
Like my example above, sometimes a term is used that is not found in the laws, but comes under the umbrella of a law.

SA Refs site have already stated that they can't find the illegality but their sample size is one instance. I have pointed out the others to them and asked the Duty Ref for an opinion. Hopefully they can expand further or even get CJ himself to explain.

I too hope that they can get an explanation from CJ so we can bury this one and perhaps appease you in some small way with what CJ really meant.
 
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Ian_Cook


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Another thing to consider is that rugby terminology evolves, and many of the terms that referees use, especially in the elite game, are done so for ease of description. The following are not official terms but they are nonetheless in wide use, and in nearly every case, they are likely to have started with a referee using the term (where think I know which referee it was, I have put their name in brackets)

Tackle Assist (Mark Lawrence)
Jackler
The Gate
Lazy running (Andre Watson)
Swimming around the maul (Nigel Owens)
Side Entry
Whip-wheel
 

damo


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I think I agree with Crucial in that I thought the justification CJ gave is very dubious. He entered legally and (for me) remained bound and so was entitled to kick at the ball. He may have been off his feet at the time - though I think it is very marginal as he would have only barely lost his feet a split second before his foot hit the ball. At the time I saw it, I thought it was "incorrect", on reflection I'd change that to "marginal".

To me, the swinging/swimming around description requires the player to have effectively unbound and rebound on later in a more favourable position, which I do not think was the case here. It is much more likely to occur in a maul than a ruck. If CJ's position is that somehow a player who remains bound to a ruck may not kick at the ball then for me it is wrong and should not be copied.
 

Benny

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Thanks everyone for your take on the quick throw in issue. What I also thought was interesting was Hernandez appeared casual when he did it (not sneaky, although casual is the best kind of sneaky i guess) and genuinely bothered that the QT had been taken. Considering he plays in France and the AR who made the call was French, I wonder if that's a commonly accepted practice there.
 

Browner

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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.

No.

That would be a ridiculous 'side show' to the real intention behind this aspect of play.
Furthermore it cultivates a 'gamesmanship' culture.

Actually crossref, you would have been one of the last people I would have considered as a supporter of this...
 

OB..


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I'm not sure when "Notes in the Law" pages were discontinued (maybe around 2000?) but I think it was a mistake for the practice not to continue,. How valuable would it be for new referees to have the Laws AND an explanation of what to look for all in the one document?
Prior to 2000 the law books were issued by the individual Unions. The text of the laws and any official notes were of course taken from the IRB source, but they could decide their own layout and add extra information as they wished. The RFU used to insert the Notes into the actual law with a coloured background or blue ink. They also included various admin details such as lists of Referee Development officers.
 

Browner

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So you're penalising the oppo player that hells to the BC "yep on your inside" to try an fool him into passing it to the wrong player?
You might say it's different...I don't think it is.

.
Of course there are varying degrees of ' gamesmanship' and to this end verbal is differentiated from physical for most gamesmanship actions between players.

IME setting a clear benchmark on QTI preventions makes for a better game and reduces flashpoint opportunities
 

crossref


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No.

That would be a ridiculous 'side show' to the real intention behind this aspect of play.
Furthermore it cultivates a 'gamesmanship' culture.

Actually crossref, you would have been one of the last people I would have considered as a supporter of this...

well, actually on this I'd just like to be sure of the general consensus, and ref accordingly.

On the other side of the argument is
- the law specifically covers a ball carrier. The IRB could easily have written when 'any player' prevents a QTI its an offence - but they didn't. When the Laws are clear shouldn't we believe what is written? We can drive ourselves mad refereeing to what we think they meant.

- it happens fairly frequently and I've never seen it penalised. (ball carriers not releasing , they are penalised, other players touching the ball aren't)

- if the ball is on the ground untouched, why should it 'belong' to one team more than the other ? Isn't rugby about contest?

- if a player makes sure his kick goes into the crowd to prevent a QTI, that seems like sensible intellegent play - why is that any different from touching a loose ball for the same reason.
 

OB..


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- if the ball is on the ground untouched, why should it 'belong' to one team more than the other ? Isn't rugby about contest?
Back in the early 19th century at Rugby School, when the ball went beyond the side line, it belonged to the side whose player first touched it down - hence the name "touch".
 

Browner

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well, actually on this I'd just like to be sure of the general consensus, and ref accordingly.

On the other side of the argument is
- the law specifically covers a ball carrier. The IRB could easily have written when 'any player' prevents a QTI its an offence - but they didn't. When the Laws are clear shouldn't we believe what is written? We can drive ourselves mad refereeing to what we think they meant.

- it happens fairly frequently and I've never seen it penalised. (ball carriers not releasing , they are penalised, other players touching the ball aren't)

- if the ball is on the ground untouched, why should it 'belong' to one team more than the other ? Isn't rugby about contest?

- if a player makes sure his kick goes into the crowd to prevent a QTI, that seems like sensible intellegent play - why is that any different from touching a loose ball for the same reason.

I take your points, albeit some are a tangent stretch from the example, but i see the contrived nature of Clear and Obvious interventions as being not in the spirit of these (professionally inspired) gamesmanship antics.

dont ever expect law to prescribe an exhaustive list of all gamesmanship events, which remain gamesmanship on my "in the spirit" barometer.
 

irishref


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On the "swinging around the ruck" issue. When McCaw forms the ruck with his (correct) entry, the ruck is formed over the ball with the subsequent gate defined - that being McCaw's body. He is counter-rucked back and then shifts to left (on the pitch, right as we look on the replay) but the ball stays in the same position since it hasn't been touched yet.

So I would say that he is already entering from the side. I have a question about the position of the #6 who picks up the ball, he didn't come from the back foot either.

Perhaps there's been a secret elite level memo defining "swinging around" - but then again, we'd expect to be hearing it from other refs as well.
 
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