Scrum Law 19.28 - scrum half position - your advice please

Blindpugh


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On Saturday our scrum half was penalised when we were in possession and attacking towards end of first half. Referee signalled backchat and I thought fair enough I have warned players that RFU want referees to clamp down on this especially appealing for holding on and you have not listened.

After match I asked our scrum half why he had been penalised again for backchat? :mad:

He said that opposition scrum half would often stand at base of his scrum and not next to him (scrum half in possession) or retire to 5 metres. (Scrum Law 19.28). This negated our move where we use channel one quick ball, eight picks up and we attack blindside.

He said he raised point of law with referee through his captain but referee said he was allowed to stand there?:chin:

This had a material effect on game. What advice would you give captain because it is too late to discuss point of law in the bar afterwards?
 

Balones

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Ref and player are both partially correct and it is down to timing.
Laws 19.28a and 19.30b apply.
At the start of the scrum the defending S/H should be by the tunnel and once the ball is in can move to the back of the scrum. Your S/H was probably correct if the defensive S/H was standing at the base of the scrum prior to throw in. But you’ll probably agree that if the referee thinks there is no problem then it’s a case of leave it alone and grt in with the game and not get penalised for ‘aggravation’. We all know that even international referees make mistakes.
 
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didds

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yep. for defending s/h's there are aiui 3 possible offide lines...

the ball
the line of the rear feet on his/her own side
5m back from rear feet of own side.

Once theyve dropped back form rear feet they have to move to >= 5m.

I confess I dunno if having moved to rear feet theyc an then return to the ball (on the putting in side) - Id suspect not.

didds
 

Dickie E


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This had a material effect on game.

It's probably a moot point as the SH can retire to behind his own #8 as soon as the ball is fed.
 

Blindpugh


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Dickie, Balones and Didds - many thanks for your helpful contributions.

The important law for referee to decide where a scrum half must stand before scrum starts must be 19.16 i.e. The scrum begins when the ball leaves the hands of the scrum-half.

My understanding and application of this law (when I refereed at senior level) was before scrum started to apply 19.28 i.e. - Prior to the start of play in the scrum, the scrum-half of the team not throwing in the ball stands:

a. On that team’s side of the middle line next to the opposing scrum-half, or
b. At least five metres behind the hindmost foot of their team’s last player in the scrum and remains there until the completion of the scrum.

Once play in the scrum begins (i.e. when the ball leaves hands of the scrum-half hands)
19.30 applies ie. the scrum-half of the team not in possession:
a. Takes up a position with both feet behind the ball and close to the scrum but not in the space between the flanker and the number eight or
b. Permanently retires to a point on the offside line either at that team’s hindmost foot, or
c. Permanently retires at least five metres behind the hindmost foot.

I was once told there are over 80 infringements at a scrum that a referee can award a free kick or penalty for but we must decide if it is material or to manage.

My main question is how does a captain/ player question a referees interpretation of a law without getting into trouble?

I agree referees make mistakes (alot less than players) but this was material and had an impact upon the game and it is no good discussing in bar after the game.
 
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crossref


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What mistake do you think the ref made though ?
He let him retire to the back feet a little early ?

Becasue once the ball is in he is allowed to stand at back foot

Its not really very material
 

didds

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What mistake do you think the ref made though ?
He let him retire to the back feet a little early ?

Becasue once the ball is in he is allowed to stand at back foot

Its not really very material

welll... that rather depends... as per the OP (as it happens!) a quick heel and 8 pick up go right has a numbers advantage (basic caveats apply). However IF the oppo s/half can START on the line of the rear feet before the ball comes in then that advantage has disappeared - it saves the s/half having to move from the right side of the scrum to the left to take up that position.

So its material arguably in that it either

* negates the tactical numerical advantage
* removes that tactical option before the scrum even starts.

the degree of materialism considered probably depends on one's own thoughts and appreciation etc

didds
 

crossref


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I guess .. and I do always tell the SH to stand alongside until ball goes in
 

Blindpugh


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welll... that rather depends... as per the OP (as it happens!) a quick heel and 8 pick up go right has a numbers advantage (basic caveats apply). However IF the oppo s/half can START on the line of the rear feet before the ball comes in then that advantage has disappeared - it saves the s/half having to move from the right side of the scrum to the left to take up that position.

So its material arguably in that it either

* negates the tactical numerical advantage
* removes that tactical option before the scrum even starts.

the degree of materialism considered probably depends on one's own thoughts and appreciation etc

didds

:clap::clap:Spot on Didds. As a former hooker I know a quick strike will give No.8 opportunity to pick up and go. If defending scrum half is stood at rear of scrum (before scrum starts) then he can see where 8 goes and act as an additional backrow and also inform his defence.

If he stands at centre of tunnel (where the law states) then he is unlikley to have time to get around blindside in time to act as another defender.

To put game in context this was a RFU National League game and final score was a difference of 9 points (to offending team's scrum half). There were a number of occassions when this happened which should have resulted in a kickable penalty at goal.

Very material in my book but what do you do when referee interpretation is different?
 
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didds

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as an aside ... its why when scrums are either totally dominant or (more likely) when non contested I'm surprised more teams dont put the ball in on the tight head side to promote the left side advantage when appropriate.

didds
 

Balones

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:clap::clap:Spot on Didds. As a former hooker I know a quick strike will give No.8 opportunity to pick up and go. If defending scrum half is stood at rear of scrum (before scrum starts) then he can see where 8 goes and act as an additional backrow and also inform his defence.

If he stands at centre of tunnel (where the law states) then he is unlikley to have time to get around blindside in time to act as another defender.

To put game in context this was a RFU National League game and final score was a difference of 9 points (to offending team's scrum half). There were a number of occassions when this happened which should have resulted in a kickable penalty at goal.

Very material in my book but what do you do when referee interpretation is different?

As it was a National League game you could always let the appointments officers know that you think the referee may have misinterpreted the laws and if they feel you are correct then they will ensure the referee is made aware so they don’t make the same mistake.
All you players can do is say something along the lines of “excuse me sir, I don’t think he’s allowed to be there at the start of the scrum”. If the referee disagrees then I’m afraid it is tough luck for that game and get on with it. When I was a captain (and of course knew the laws!) I once asked the referee very politely as we went off for half time if he he could actually check a particular law for me. He didn’t say anything to me after the restart but it was obvious he had checked and was now getting it right.
 

crossref


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If it is a London Society game the Captain can fill in the online report that is done every game , scoring the ref as needing development on the relevant factor, and adding a note to explain the Law issue

:shrug:

(Always best to check the Law book first to make sure you are right)

:mad:
 
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thepercy


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My main question is how does a captain/ player question a referees interpretation of a law without getting into trouble?

Don't question the referees interpretation during the match. Adapt to, or even take advantage of, to the circumstances.

but this was material and had an impact upon the game and it is no good discussing in bar after the game.

I can't really see how this is material at all. He could have run around to the back of his side of the scrum as soon as you put the ball in. The only thing he is doing is disadvantaging himself, in that he can no longer go up to the ball as an offside line and pressure your SH.
 

SimonSmith


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:clap::clap:Spot on Didds. As a former hooker I know a quick strike will give No.8 opportunity to pick up and go. If defending scrum half is stood at rear of scrum (before scrum starts) then he can see where 8 goes and act as an additional backrow and also inform his defence.

If he stands at centre of tunnel (where the law states) then he is unlikley to have time to get around blindside in time to act as another defender.

To put game in context this was a RFU National League game and final score was a difference of 9 points (to offending team's scrum half). There were a number of occassions when this happened which should have resulted in a kickable penalty at goal.

Very material in my book but what do you do when referee interpretation is different?
Sorry, I disagree. I coach a 9 who starts legal and then goes to his back foot as a default defensive position in certain field areas. He's quick enough to beat the heel and pick up.
 

Dickie E


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My main question is how does a captain/ player question a referees interpretation of a law without getting into trouble?

Don't question the referees interpretation during the match. Adapt to, or even take advantage of, to the circumstances.

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See, I disagree with this. As a referee with many years experience I still get things wrong or may make a decision that a player may find difficult to understand/accept. Provided it is done in an approriate way (at the right time, with respect, not argumentative, etc) I'm quite happy to address/discuss any interpretation with the captain or relevant player during the game. (on more than 1 occasion the captain/player has convinced me :redface:)

Further, sometimes I'll make a decision that I'll know immediately will raise eyebrows. In such cases, I'll go to lengths to explain why I made the decision.

I suspect that the SH in the OP kept harping on the same issue, so the ref finally got sick of it.
 
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Flish


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See, I disagree with this. As a referee with many years experience I still get things wrong or may make a decision that a player may find difficult to understand/accept. Provided it is done in an approriate way (at the right time, with respect, not argumentative, etc) I'm quite happy to address/discuss any interpretation with the captain or relevant player during the game. (on more than 1 occasion the captain/player has convinced me :redface:)

Exactly this, don't get me wrong 9 times out of 10 the grumbles are just grumbles (watch for gouging is my favourite pointless request from a captain of all time) but sometimes they're right, there will be something going on that's a bit unusual, or outside our primary focus that could be material and the captain is right to politely question it - don't get me wrong it's only human for us as refs to be a bit frustrated or disappointed in ourselves that we've missed it, especially if we later ping it after it's been pointed out, but at same time we can never see everything - they need to act appropriately and we need to address it appropriately.
 

crossref


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The most pointless complaint is when they tell you about last week's ref ...
 

didds

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I can't really see how this is material at all. He could have run around to the back of his side of the scrum as soon as you put the ball in. The only thing he is doing is disadvantaging himself, in that he can no longer go up to the ball as an offside line and pressure your SH.

its potentially hugely material. See my post above. It saves the s/hallf some time from moving aroudn the scrum. It may be a shoirt amount of time - but how much time do you need to get over the gain line/use the overlap?

If you cannot see that then we'll have to agree to disagree ...



didds
 

crossref


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This has been quite a good thread.

I have re calibrated my view of how material this can be (ie I consider it more material than I did before )
 

Phil E


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At National level I would be absolutely amazed if a referee gave a penalty for the scrum half standing at the back of the scrum instead of at the middle. At best its a management thing, not a penalty thing. i.e. tell the SH where to stand at the next scrum.

Just get the Captain to ask the referee at downtime if he could keep an eye on the SH not starting at the middle. Put the thought in his head, don't question his knowledge of the law.
 
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