Scotland V Ireland at 5 mins


Referees in Ireland
Sep 11, 2006
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We have something sort of similar in our Game Management Guidelines.
"Ball out and collapsed ruck
• The ball is only out of a ruck (or scrum) when it is totally exposed or it is clear of bodies.
• If the ball is being dug out (after being won) or is under the feet of players at the back of the ruck, the
scrum-half cannot be touched until the ball is clearly out of the ruck. The benefit of any doubt must
go to the scrum-half.
Players cannot step through or over the middle of a collapsed ruck before the ball is cleared or the ball
is completely clear of bodies. These players are unbound and in front of the last feet and are therefore

• Zero tolerance on defending players at the ruck who target the scrum-half before they have the ball,
even if the ball is out of the ruck. Any onside player must play the ball and not the player."

So in the situation being discussed - what you rule will come down to your interpretation of the ruck being formed and then the ball being clear of bodies.
This is very interesting.

The last man in the Ruck, just like the 8 in the scrum can pick it up, if both his feet are behind the ball.
If this situation is interpreted as a Ruck, Aki is the last man and hence can pick it up.

I think these types of situations happen so quickly that refs will never interpret them correctly. so any ref who feels Aki shouldn't pick it up should be shouting "leave it".

It is unfair to expect players to interpret shades of grey that quickly.

Scotland make a mess of that Ruck. They don't protect the ball. Why should they get extra protection to keep the ball they didn't have the skill to protect.

My view therefore would be, if Aki didn't have his hand on the deck and spider crawl up, he's ok and can pick up that ball.

If a Scotish player moans, I'd say up to you to protect the ball.