Rugby Club Member
- Mar 10, 2020
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- Current Referee grade:
- Level 15 - 11
There was a clarification in law (or it may have been an RFU clarification) that stated the reference to "the team" in this context meant the team of 8 forming the scrum.
This meant that lose a forward = 7v7, lose a back = 8v8.
So teams can't lose a forward and then put a back in there to maintain 8v8 scrums, or vice versa lose a back and decide to have 7 man scrums.
I will try and find it, but it was a long time ago. Why they never put it into the law book is a mystery.
I don't totally agree with this, and think some game management can easily resolve any issues.
This meant that lose a forward = 7v7
This is very dependent on which forward is sent off, since u19 stipulates that all players in the three front-row positions and the two lock positions must be suitably trained for these positions, so you only go 7v7 provided the front 5 are STE. After losing a forward, a team can substitute a back and bring another forward on to enable 8v8, which is very common at senior level, and I see no reason why it cannot be applied at u19 if the team chooses... I think u19 games should also attempt to avoid going uncontested scrums if a viable solution is available, therefore making a substitution to avoid uncontested should be encouraged. Alternatively, losing a back row player or substituting/moving a back row player to provide a STE front five will results in 7v7 scrums, which I think is acceptable.
I don't have a fundamental issue with this. In our u15 team we have back row and second row players that also play in the backs (kids that age can be very versatile and capable)... if a second row player or back row player got a YC and the team wanted to move a back into that position to play 8v8 rather than 7v7, or to avoid non-contested, then I would not object provided that player was STE. Following the loss of a forward I would always discuss with both captains at the next scrum how they want to proceed and get agreement.So teams can't lose a forward and then put a back in there to maintain 8v8 scrums, or vice versa lose a back and decide to have 7 man scrums.
If a team loses a back, I can't find anything in laws (see potentially relevant laws below) that says they cannot move a forward into the backs and have 7 man scrums, but I see no advantage from this tactic because the other team would also move a forward into the backs (to maintain equal numbers in the scrum), so a number mismatch in the backs cannot be mitigated. Despite the lack of clear instruction in the laws, I would insist on maintaining 8v8.
Law 19.5: When both teams have 15 players, eight players from each team bind together - If one team has 14, then this law does not apply
Law 19.6.c: Where a permitted reduction is made in the scrum by one team, the other team must reduce their scrum accordingly, down to a minimum of five. I can't find a definition of "a permitted reduction".