Under 19 Variation Scrum

Stu10

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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.

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 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.

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".
 

Marc Wakeham


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I think this is ANOTHER example of the law wording being sub optimal and open to reading in different ways.

When a team is reduced to fewer than 15 for any reason, the number of
players in each team in the scrum must be similarly reduced.


My interpretation is this - if the reduction to fewer than 15 results in a reduced number of players in the scrum for one team, then the other team must also reduce their number of players in the scrum similarly (i.e. number of players from each team in the scrum must match).

I believe the second half of this sentence, the number of players in each team in the scrum must be similarly reduced, means the number of players on each side of the scrum must be similarly reduced, not reduce the number of players in the scrum similarly to the number of players that have left the pitch.

Therefore, if red winger is removed from the pitch for a YC and red put 8 in the next scrum, thus zero reduction of players in the scrum, then blue team must similarly have zero reduction of players in the scrum... therefore 8 v 8. If red lose a flanker and put 7 in the next scrum, then blue must similarly put 7 in the scrum.

My understanding is that the age-grade variations try to make scrums as safe as possible within the boundaries of the laws, and therefore insist that both teams have the same number of players to avoid a mismatch. Pushing the scrum more than 1.5 metres towards the opponents’ goal line is not allowed, also showing the emphasis on safety at the scrum. If a winger is sent off for a YC, forcing the scrums to 7v7 does not increase safety. If a forward is sent off for a YC and red cannot put 8 in the scrum, forcing the scrums to 7v7 (rather than 7v8) makes sense from a safety perspective.

Also, as I've said in other posts, I think common sense often gets the correct outcome when trying to interpret rugby laws... reducing a scrum to 7v7 because a winger was sent off does not make sense.

I think there is value in looking at how this law has changed:

OLD
When a team is reduced to fewer than 15 for any reason, then the number of players in each team in the scrum may be similarly reduced.

NEW
When a team is reduced to fewer than 15 for any reason, the number of players in each team in the scrum must be similarly reduced.

The new wording is designed to ensure scrums must be equal numbers, not to insist that any reduction in players must result in a reduction of players in the scrum.
I disagree
NEW
When a team is reduced to fewer than 15 for any reason, the number of players in each team in the scrum must be similarly reduced.

So if a tream is reduced to 14 then each team's scrum must be similarly reduced Ie 1 player of BOTH sides of the scrum. Otherwise the first half of the senstence is redundant.
 

crossref


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I would say best practice is . .

1 Ref determines whether the missing player was a forward or a back.

2 if a forward, all scrums are 7 v 7
If a back all scrums are 8 v 8

(Except that if scrums become uncontested they must be 8 v 8)

This seems to be pretty standard but isn't in the Law book, and begs various questions that aren't covered by Law.
I'd still go back to the above.
The Laws and clarification don't really address every single scenario - follow the process above and you can explain it easily, most people do exactly the same, and you won't go far wrong.
 

crossref


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I disagree
NEW
When a team is reduced to fewer than 15 for any reason, the number of players in each team in the scrum must be similarly reduced.

So if a tream is reduced to 14 then each team's scrum must be similarly reduced Ie 1 player of BOTH sides of the scrum. Otherwise the first half of the senstence is redundant.
you keep saying that - but this is exactly the question that was asked to get the clarification and the clarification explains

The complete team is a reference to having eight players who can play in the scrum. If a forward leaves the field of play for any reason and cannot be replaced due to injury, sending off, temporary suspension or any other reason then both teams must reduce the number of players in the scrum so that there are equal numbers in both teams at the scrum.

If any player in the other than a forward has to leave the field for any reason and cannot be replaced there will be no reduction in the players playing in the scrum.


so 8 v 8
 

Marc Wakeham


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Except for a coupe of crucial facts! The clarification you are using is:

Clarification 6 2009 dated 10 August 2009.​


The clarification notes that The law I am relying upon is the Law book (and variations 2022).

So the Clarification was adoped in 2009 but AFTER that the Law book was amended including the 2018 "simplification" or re-write and change as you like to call it. Since then (at least) the law book has agreed with my point of view.

 

crossref


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Except for a coupe of crucial facts! The clarification you are using is:

Clarification 6 2009 dated 10 August 2009.​


The clarification notes that The law I am relying upon is the Law book (and variations 2022).

So the Clarification was adoped in 2009 but AFTER that the Law book was amended including the 2018 "simplification" or re-write and change as you like to call it. Since then (at least) the law book has agreed with my point of view.
#15 is sent off
I agree with you that the way the current Law book is worded, it implies that the scrums would go down to 7
Exactly the same as the 2009 Law book did.

The clarification asked : that's crazy, surely it's not what you meant
Answer: you are quite right, if #15 is sent off, scrums remain at 8

But at the end of the day it's same as ever - the law book is very poor
 

Stu10

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I disagree
NEW
When a team is reduced to fewer than 15 for any reason, the number of players in each team in the scrum must be similarly reduced.

So if a tream is reduced to 14 then each team's scrum must be similarly reduced Ie 1 player of BOTH sides of the scrum. Otherwise the first half of the senstence is redundant.

Honestly, does it make any sense following a back getting a yellow card to tell both teams' Number 8 to leave the scrum and play in the backs? If you announced this in an u15 game I think everyone would be giving you funny looks!
 

Marc Wakeham


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Honestly, does it make any sense following a back getting a yellow card to tell both teams' Number 8 to leave the scrum and play in the backs? If you announced this in an u15 game I think everyone would be giving you funny looks!
Tell that to WR it's their law.
 

Stu10

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Tell that to WR it's their law.
Much like Law 9.1, I think this law has been worded badly leading to it being read and interpreted differently by different people.

I don't think it is actually their intention to execute this law as you describe.
 

Marc Wakeham


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There we have to agree to differ. The difference being my interpretation agrees exactly with their wording. You may be correct - assuming they don't mean what they have written.

Just needs a slight change :

When a team is reduced to fewer than 15 for any reason, the number of
players in each team in the scrum MAY be similarly reduced.
 

crossref


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There we have to agree to differ. The difference being my interpretation agrees exactly with their wording. You may be correct - assuming they don't mean what they have written
But the clarification expressly says that they didn't mean what they had written
 

Marc Wakeham


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But they then , according to you, re-wrote and changed the law book and decided to keep exactly the same wording "must" rather than "may". Odd that. If they still felt the clarification was still what they intended. Surely they would have taken the chance to clarify their ruling into the new book.

They said they got the wording wrong and then did not bother to correct the wording when they had the chance? Hmmmmm.
 

crossref


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We can probably agree that this area of the Law is a mess, and has been a mess for a long time.

I would guess they thought that the same clarification still applied to the same law

Someone should do a new clarification asking the same question.
 
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Marc Wakeham


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Perhaps, but if the clarification was a re-write why would they not change the wording?
 

crossref


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Perhaps, but if the clarification was a re-write why would they not change the wording?
why aren't ALL clarifications incorporated into the next Law Book and then - rendreded no longer necessary - archived from the website ?

I have no idea, as it would be very simple and would vastly improve matters.

As it stands we have a long, long list of clarification that we have to constantly be aware of
1 some still true, but rendered redundant by subsequent changes that incorporated them into Law
2 some rendered irrelevant because the applicable Laws changed, so no longer true or false, just not applicable
3 some no longer true, because the laws changed in an oppositie direction
4 some still vital in understanding the Law

It's an area that really needs clearing up.

First step - archive all clarifications into 1,2 &3
Second step - take earliest opportunity to incorporate those in 4 into the Laws
 

crossref


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I would say best practice is . .

1 Ref determines whether the missing player was a forward or a back.

2 if a forward, ALL scrums are 7 v 7
If a back ALL scrums are 8 v 8

(Except that if scrums become uncontested they must be 8 v 8)
meanwhile - I would still say that *best practice* remains as above.
 

Marc Wakeham


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why aren't ALL clarifications incorporated into the next Law Book and then - rendreded no longer necessary - archived from the website ?

I have no idea, as it would be very simple and would vastly improve matters.

As it stands we have a long, long list of clarification that we have to constantly be aware of
1 some still true, but rendered redundant by subsequent changes that incorporated them into Law
2 some rendered irrelevant because the applicable Laws changed, so no longer true or false, just not applicable
3 some no longer true, because the laws changed in an oppositie direction
4 some still vital in understanding the Law

It's an area that really needs clearing up.

First step - archive all clarifications into 1,2 &3
Second step - take earliest opportunity to incorporate those in 4 into the Laws
Totally agree.
 

crossref


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That may be true. But is it what is intended. Our(WRU) instruction is no.
Obviously you should follow your WRU directive
(Is it published or is it one of those cascades that some people will be aware of others not, this creating discord and unhappiness :) )
 

Stu10

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There we have to agree to differ. The difference being my interpretation agrees exactly with their wording. You may be correct - assuming they don't mean what they have written.

Just needs a slight change :

When a team is reduced to fewer than 15 for any reason, the number of
players in each team in the scrum MAY be similarly reduced.
But they then , according to you, re-wrote and changed the law book and decided to keep exactly the same wording "must" rather than "may". Odd that. If they still felt the clarification was still what they intended. Surely they would have taken the chance to clarify their ruling into the new book.

They said they got the wording wrong and then did not bother to correct the wording when they had the chance? Hmmmmm.

The old version said may and they changed to must. I believe the old version said the non-offending team may reduce the number in the scrum to match, but didn't have to, therefore they had the option of 8v7 or 7v7 scrum in the event that the other team lost a forward. This was changed to state they MUST have equal numbers and therefore any reduction in numbers on one team MUST be matched by the other team.

This u19 variation and update to state each team MUST have equal numbers in the scrum is a safety-oriented law, not technical or administrative. Reducing the scrum to 7v7 when a back is sent off has no bearing on safety and is not the intended outcome, despite the poorly written instructions.

At least we all agree that the Powers That Be did a poor job trying to clear this up!
 
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