Uncontested Scrums

the magpie


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During the closing stages of the South Africa/Australia match, Australia were reduced to uncontested scrums, after the referee ruled that Benn Robinson had returned to the field to replace an "injured" prop, so couldn't replace an injured Polotu-Nau.

When the scrums eventually packed down, rather than dropping a loose forward, the Wallabies scrum dropped a hooker - i.e. they had a 2 man front row.

Firstly, did Rolland err in not allowing Fainga to replace Polotu-Nau, and secondly, will his review be looked on unfavourably for allowing Australia to maintain 3 loose-forwards and 7 backs when short one man?
 

irishref


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they're not using the current experiment of 8 subs in the Rugby Championship. Therefore, only 7 subs. Australia had used them all and the hooker came off for medical reasons, not tactical.

I believe it was all done according to the book.

Reference back to bloodgate: Nick Evans was carried off the pitch by his physio and water carrier, knee already heavily strapped. That went down as a tactical substitution, not due to injury.

That's my understanding of how it works and worked today, look forward to my erstwhile and far better qualified colleagues two'penneth on this one!
 

the magpie


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Having just re-read Law 3, Rolland got it smack on right to not allow Faainga to join the match.

However, allowing Australia to get away with the in correct scrum formation, if it was a close game, would have been problematic.
 

Dixie


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IR, what does erstwhile mean to you?
:biggrin: An often misunderstood word. When I worked for one of the big accounting firms, the partner responsible for my specialism called me out of the blue, to discuss the affairs of a client who was in his office. When I picked up the phone, he breezily addressed me as his erstwhile head of indirect tax. I was nonplussed - and used almost exactly Dickie's question in trying to find out whether I still had a job!
 

Davet

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You must have 3 players in the fron row -"no more and no less" 20.1.f

The exception allows for less that 8 in total if there are fewer than 15 on the pitch - but that doesn't allow less tha 3 in the FR OR less than 2 is second row. The only permitted reductions are in the back Row, and if they are all 3 missing no further reduction in scrum numbers is possible, as there is a minimum of 5.

Rolland needs a rocket, and presumably has had one.
 

damo


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I didn't notice that at the time. Yeah it was pretty poor to have a 2 man front row. Still, I don't suppose it makes a huge difference, and he probably just didn't notice either. At uncontested scrums its easy to be a bit blasé about the whole thing.

On the plus side, he is to be commended for sticking to his guns and not letting them make the 8th substitution.
 
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Cave Dweller

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I am glad this finally happened. Rules gets changed and professional players and coaches find a way to circumvent it. The more technical they make it the more technical they circumvent it which leads to confusion by commentator and spectator a like. Apart from Rolland being spot on this is a ploy being used by Deans and others all the time. Play your prop take him off early bring on another fake a injury bring the old one back who has had a breather,

That is why props are all over the place making tackles these days. Play 30 or 40 minutes go off and play last 10 again. What is this Ice Hockey?
 

JP_Rocks


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Can someone explain to me why Rolland was correct in not allowing Fainga on? I'm having a bit of trouble with this, as I have always operated under the impression that the substitute/replacement restriction was on the individual players and not the teams (i.e. a player on the bench can be used as either, substituted players can be used as replacements, and replaced players can take no futher part in the game).
 

Cave Dweller

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Can someone explain to me why Rolland was correct in not allowing Fainga on? I'm having a bit of trouble with this, as I have always operated under the impression that the substitute/replacement restriction was on the individual players and not the teams (i.e. a player on the bench can be used as either, substituted players can be used as replacements, and replaced players can take no futher part in the game).

A substituted player may replace a front row player when injured, temporarily suspended or sent off unless the referee has ordered uncontested scrums prior to the event which led to the front row player leaving the field of play and the team has used all the permitted replacements and substitutions.

The word ‘and’ means that both of the conditions must be in place before the referee can stop a substituted player coming back on to the field. So uncontested scrums situation was not met yet. They could have brought on Ben Alexander and Rolland couldn't stop them. But once he called uncontested scrum it was too late to bring him on.
 

the magpie


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I didn't notice that at the time. Yeah it was pretty poor to have a 2 man front row. Still, I don't suppose it makes a huge difference, and he probably just didn't notice either. At uncontested scrums its easy to be a bit blasé about the whole thing.

On the plus side, he is to be commended for sticking to his guns and not letting them make the 8th substitution.

It is a problem at all levels with referees getting blase about uncontested scrums at all levels. I know as a player, if I'm in the loose, I will generally not even bother packing, as in I'll lean against the scrum, but that's about it. As soon as the ball is in, I drop all pretences that I'm even in the scrum.

The problem with Saturday's stuff up was not that it affected the game. If the same situation happened, with say Aus up by 4, and the extra loose forward got across to make a try saving tackle that the tight forwards would have no chance in making, then the Springboks would be yelling blue murder at it.
 

Cave Dweller

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^Stop dreaming haha You were down to 14 men.
 

JP_Rocks


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A substituted player may replace a front row player when injured, temporarily suspended or sent off unless the referee has ordered uncontested scrums prior to the event which led to the front row player leaving the field of play and the team has used all the permitted replacements and substitutions.

The word ‘and’ means that both of the conditions must be in place before the referee can stop a substituted player coming back on to the field. So uncontested scrums situation was not met yet. They could have brought on Ben Alexander and Rolland couldn't stop them. But once he called uncontested scrum it was too late to bring him on.

Fainga wasn't a substituted player though- he was on the bench and hadn't played any part in the game to date.
 

damo


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Here is how I understand it. I may be wrong and I read somewhere that someone official said Rolland was wrong, and I may stand corrected later.

It's 3.4 that is relevant here:

[LAWS]3.4 PLAYERS NOMINATED AS SUBSTITUTES
For international matches a Union may nominate up to seven replacements/substitutes.
For other matches, the Union with jurisdiction over the match decides how many
replacements/substitutes may be nominated to a maximum of seven (subject to Law 3.14
when it may be eight).
A team can substitute up to two front row players (subject to Law 3.14 when it may be
three) and up to five other players.
Substitutions may only be made when the ball is dead
and with the permission of the referee.[/LAWS]

# 31 min Benn Robinson went off; replaced by James Slipper
# 71 min Ben Alexander went off; replaced by Benn Robinson

These are the two substitutions allowed by 3.4

# 73 min Tatafu Palatua-Nau goes off and AR refuses to let a sub come on for him.


I don't see that 3.12 is immediately relevant to the situation

[LAWS]3.12 SUBSTITUTED PLAYERS REJOINING THE MATCH
(a) If a player is substituted, that player must not return and play in that match, even to replace
an injured player.
Exception 1: a substituted player may replace a player with an open or bleeding wound.
Exception 2: a substituted player may replace a front row player when injured, temporarily
suspended or sent off unless the referee has ordered uncontested scrums prior to the event
which led to the front row player leaving the field of play and the team has used all the
permitted replacements and substitutions.

(b) If uncontested scrums have been ordered and there is an injury to a front row player which
requires that player to be replaced and there is a front row player available to replace that
player then the front row player replacement must be used rather than players other than
front row replacements.[/LAWS]

I don't think that Robinson coming back on under the exception 2 in (a) means that this isn't one of their two allowable substitutions.


Like I say, I am prepared to be convinced that I am wrong.
 

JP_Rocks


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Agree with you damo, but with a slightly difference interpretation based around the differences between tactical substitutions and injury replacements.

31st min- Robinson off, Slipper on as a tactical substitution. Fine.
71st min- Alexander off, Robinson on. This should have been classified as an injury replacement, as substituted players (Robinson in this case) is not allowed to be used as a tactical substitution.
73rd min- TPN off, Fainga on. TPN was clearly injured, therefore this would be classified as an injury replacement.

The way I see it, they made a couple of mistakes- they should not have allowed Robinson back on as a tactical substitution, and the subs controllers should not have accepted the card without this being an injury replacement. However, even if they made this error and allowed it as a tactical substitution, this should not have precluded Fainga from being used as an injury replacement.

Anyone have a counter to this?
 

damo


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I was intending it as read that Robinson coming back on in the 71st minute was an injury replacement (it has to be based on 3.12). I don't know if it was an injury or an "injury" but either way, it could not have been a tactical substitution.

Maybe Rolland was wrong. My head is spinning.
 

Cave Dweller

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Fainga wasn't a substituted player though- he was on the bench and hadn't played any part in the game to date.

I know that did you read the 2nd part?

The word ‘and’ means that both of the conditions must be in place before the referee can stop a substituted player coming back on to the field. So uncontested scrums situation was not met yet. They could have brought on Ben Alexander and Rolland couldn't stop them. But once he called uncontested scrum it was too late to bring him on.
 

Cave Dweller

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Here is how I understand it. I may be wrong and I read somewhere that someone official said Rolland was wrong, and I may stand corrected later.

It's 3.4 that is relevant here:

[LAWS]3.4 PLAYERS NOMINATED AS SUBSTITUTES
For international matches a Union may nominate up to seven replacements/substitutes.
For other matches, the Union with jurisdiction over the match decides how many
replacements/substitutes may be nominated to a maximum of seven (subject to Law 3.14
when it may be eight).
A team can substitute up to two front row players (subject to Law 3.14 when it may be
three) and up to five other players.
Substitutions may only be made when the ball is dead
and with the permission of the referee.[/LAWS]

# 31 min Benn Robinson went off; replaced by James Slipper
# 71 min Ben Alexander went off; replaced by Benn Robinson

These are the two substitutions allowed by 3.4

# 73 min Tatafu Palatua-Nau goes off and AR refuses to let a sub come on for him.


I don't see that 3.12 is immediately relevant to the situation

[LAWS]3.12 SUBSTITUTED PLAYERS REJOINING THE MATCH
(a) If a player is substituted, that player must not return and play in that match, even to replace
an injured player.
Exception 1: a substituted player may replace a player with an open or bleeding wound.
Exception 2: a substituted player may replace a front row player when injured, temporarily
suspended or sent off unless the referee has ordered uncontested scrums prior to the event
which led to the front row player leaving the field of play and the team has used all the
permitted replacements and substitutions.

(b) If uncontested scrums have been ordered and there is an injury to a front row player which
requires that player to be replaced and there is a front row player available to replace that
player then the front row player replacement must be used rather than players other than
front row replacements.[/LAWS]

I don't think that Robinson coming back on under the exception 2 in (a) means that this isn't one of their two allowable substitutions.


Like I say, I am prepared to be convinced that I am wrong.

Let me put it this way. Alexander could have come back. The period he would have been allowed back is right up to the point where Rolland called for a UNCONTESTED SCRUM. When that happened he could not come back anymore.

But it is not Rollands job to tell them that. His job is to apply the laws and not to give tactical advice to International coaches and players.
 

JP_Rocks


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Alexander could not, legally, have come back on. Under 3.12, Robinson, being a substituted player, can not return to the field as a substitute, only as an injury replacement, in which case Alexander would have been done for the day.

3.12 does not apply to Fainga- he was not a substituted player. He was a nominated replacement/substitute, and under law, I still can't find justification for him not being allowed to replace TPN.
 
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