What’s allowed when no one is left in the ruck?

Jarrod Burton


Referees in Australia
Joined
Jun 19, 2013
Messages
609
Post Likes
132
Current Referee grade:
Level 2
There has to be a will to enforce the laws as written otherwise people tend to discount them as immaterial.

Rucks, going off feet and in at the side, ping hard and consistently will soon see a change in behaviours.
Be firm with offside lines to give attacking teams a fair chance to build an attack and defending teams a fair opportunity to field kicks.

While we are at it, the contest at scrums and line outs should be reasserted.

A line out jumper going across or interlinking arms when that is the only way they can get near a ball that is blatantly not down the middle should be adjusted to address the first offence.

But this cannot be done by individual referees they need the backing of the system.
My emphasis.

None of the laws as such are immaterial, but an infringement of them may well be in the game overall . If we are going to crack down on certain laws then why not every single one of them? A BC goes to ground and keeps their hand on the ball to steady it at the back of a clearly won ruck, a tackled player not rolling away for whatever reason, a trapped tackler who makes every effort to get away from a ball which is available but doesn't actually roll away, and, allowing a 9 to fish out a ball from a ruck that is clearly won but stuck against a body are all against the laws but really don't impact the match so we don't bother with them and I'd argue that applying the law rigidly in these circumstances is unlikely to make the game better or more enjoyable for anyone.
 

Phil E


Referees in England
Staff member
Joined
Jan 22, 2008
Messages
15,470
Post Likes
1,771
Current Referee grade:
Level 8
A line out jumper going across or interlinking arms when that is the only way they can get near a ball that is blatantly not down the middle should be adjusted to address the first offence.

Not straight is a technical offence, line out or scrum option.
Linking, grabbing a jumpers arms is a penalty.

Would you penalise the first offence, or the more serious?
 

Jarrod Burton


Referees in Australia
Joined
Jun 19, 2013
Messages
609
Post Likes
132
Current Referee grade:
Level 2
Not straight is a technical offence, line out or scrum option.
Linking, grabbing a jumpers arms is a penalty.

Would you penalise the first offence, or the more serious?
Not straight was first for mine and the reason the jumper had to move across - unless the grabber was blatant or excessive.
 

BikingBud


Referees in England
Joined
Oct 8, 2011
Messages
279
Post Likes
30
Current Referee grade:
Select Grade
My emphasis.

None of the laws as such are immaterial, but an infringement of them may well be in the game overall . If we are going to crack down on certain laws then why not every single one of them? A BC goes to ground and keeps their hand on the ball to steady it at the back of a clearly won ruck, a tackled player not rolling away for whatever reason, a trapped tackler who makes every effort to get away from a ball which is available but doesn't actually roll away, and, allowing a 9 to fish out a ball from a ruck that is clearly won but stuck against a body are all against the laws but really don't impact the match so we don't bother with them and I'd argue that applying the law rigidly in these circumstances is unlikely to make the game better or more enjoyable for anyone.
Good try, I said tend to discount them as immaterial. It's deemed OK to go off feet at a ruck as the ball is available!

The point I was making is that more infringements are being ignored, not those that you consider minor but significant elements that remove any possibility of a fair competition. It's a case of making the game equitable.

You get into the weeds but do you have any perspective on the two prime elements I raised, shutting down the ruck via illegal approach and positioning or blatant offsides and the way they kill the offensive speed and advantage?
 

Jarrod Burton


Referees in Australia
Joined
Jun 19, 2013
Messages
609
Post Likes
132
Current Referee grade:
Level 2
Good try, I said tend to discount them as immaterial. It's deemed OK to go off feet at a ruck as the ball is available!

The point I was making is that more infringements are being ignored, not those that you consider minor but significant elements that remove any possibility of a fair competition. It's a case of making the game equitable.

You get into the weeds but do you have any perspective on the two prime elements I raised, shutting down the ruck via illegal approach and positioning or blatant offsides and the way they kill the offensive speed and advantage?
Not 100% sure what you are asking here sorry.

I think we need to be very careful around separating the showbiz rugby from the weeds. Every time I watch Super Rugby I wonder how the hell the ref's get picked again and again after seeing blatant infringement at ruck time, but the messaging that we've received here is - its for TV, to make the game flow better and to make the fans watch more. I disagree with the approach as players watch this stuff and then think they can do it locally and I've lost count of the number of times I've told a captain that "we aren't playing Super 15, but rugby union and off your feet is out of the game" or a variation on that theme. That being said, we need to massage and interpret the laws taking into consideration the skill level (or lack thereof) of the players and competition to make sure we have a match which isn't constantly interrupted by the whistle for minor technicalities.

I think weeds rugby can be slower but more exciting, more of a grind for teams and a build up in pressure as fatigue comes into play.

WRT deliberate ruck infringements - I always tell defending teams that while attackers shutting down a ruck is illegal, that defenders or jacklers actually need to make a genuine effort to steal the ball in the first place, not just stand over the BC and expect a PK (had one bloke stand over the BC on the ground and raise his arms and yell at me for a holding on PK once rather than actually pick the ball up!). If the attacking players cleanout with no attempt to stay on their feet or cut through the ruck and seal when a player is having a realistic crack at a steal you will almost always see a PK against the attacking team in my matches. Offsides are managed differently - ask, tell, PK where possible or straight to PK if the offside player is involved in the match.
 

BikingBud


Referees in England
Joined
Oct 8, 2011
Messages
279
Post Likes
30
Current Referee grade:
Select Grade
That's quite different as you now make it clear that you do apply the laws, thanks.
 

CrouchTPEngage


Referees in England
Joined
Jan 21, 2009
Messages
496
Post Likes
54
Current Referee grade:
Level 8
d in the law nothing that indicates the ruck is now over. But I’ve also seen discussion that no one new can enter the ruck because they have no one to bind to. How does this ruck end? Obviously someone will have to play the ball but,
 

CrouchTPEngage


Referees in England
Joined
Jan 21, 2009
Messages
496
Post Likes
54
Current Referee grade:
Level 8
Very similar to a question asked of me after my game last Saturday. Ruck had formed. 2 competing players fell to ground and thus exposing the ball. I allowed a defender to step around the ruck pick up the ball and play on. Coach said that he should come through the middle of the ruck only. My reply was that , as the ruck was over, ( the ball being exposed) and he came from an onside position, then he can walk round the side of the on-floor bodies/ex-ruck to come pick up the ball. Indeed it is probably safer to avoid stepping on the players on the floor.
He didnt seem convinced.
 

didds

Resident Club Coach
Joined
Jan 27, 2004
Messages
10,780
Post Likes
1,198
and if the defender had come through the ruck and troidden on the attcaking player's prone body the coach would obviously been happy with that.

What a twat.
 

Stu10

Rugby Club Member
Joined
Mar 10, 2020
Messages
174
Post Likes
50
Current Referee grade:
Level 15 - 11
If the players in the ruck stay on their feet but drive straight and completely past the ball such that the ball is now out the ruck, I would say that the ball is available to be played by both teams, and one team would have to go around the players still bound from the ruck (because you can't go through them)... just a hypothetical scenario that demonstrates coming around rather than through the ruck gate must be allowed after the ruck is over. (Did that make sense to anyone else? :rolleyes: )
 

Rich_NL

Rugby Club Member
Joined
Apr 13, 2015
Messages
1,488
Post Likes
411
It made sense, but are you saying in your example
- the ruck still exists with no players in it
- the ruck still exists with the players in it, but you don't have to bind to them, or
- the ruck is over and we're back to open play, but with a tackle-like "gate" around the ball?

At a ruck you have to bind behind the last feet. If the ruck is over (as I'd call in your example) then any onside player on their feet can play the ball.

In the case of a collapsed ruck where the ball isn't yet out but available, it's unclear what's right. If you manage it vocally and consistently, you're at least not wrong :)
 

Phil E


Referees in England
Staff member
Joined
Jan 22, 2008
Messages
15,470
Post Likes
1,771
Current Referee grade:
Level 8
I remember a presentation by our resident RFU Ref regarding this.

If all the bodies are on the floor and or rolling away, and the ball is completely exposed, then we call it a "dead ruck" and if someone steps in and picks the ball up; happy days, lets play rugby.

It's not specifically supported in law (but then many things we do aren't), but it does allow us to just get on with some rugby.

What's the alternative? Players just stand around too afraid to step in and pick the ball up. Stalemate?
 

Stu10

Rugby Club Member
Joined
Mar 10, 2020
Messages
174
Post Likes
50
Current Referee grade:
Level 15 - 11
It made sense, but are you saying in your example
- the ruck still exists with no players in it
- the ruck still exists with the players in it, but you don't have to bind to them, or
- the ruck is over and we're back to open play, but with a tackle-like "gate" around the ball?

At a ruck you have to bind behind the last feet. If the ruck is over (as I'd call in your example) then any onside player on their feet can play the ball.

In the case of a collapsed ruck where the ball isn't yet out but available, it's unclear what's right. If you manage it vocally and consistently, you're at least not wrong :)

In my example, I'm saying the ruck is now over and we are back to open play, the ball can be picked up by anyone coming from an onside position. The previous ruck has set the offside line. I have no expectation of players going through a gate because the ruck is over. Therefore, regarding the recent post by @CrouchTPEngage , I don't have a problem with a player coming from behind the offside line and travelling around other players to then approach the ball from any angle.

That's my interpretation... happy to be schooled by more experienced refs in this forum.
 

chbg


Referees in England
Joined
May 15, 2009
Messages
1,292
Solutions
1
Post Likes
290
Current Referee grade:
Level 8
Not forgetting that the offside lines moved with the ruck until it was over / the ball was outside it. So the onside players from the team that drove the ruck forward are closer to the ball than those from the team that were driven off it. If the ruck has just 'collapsed' to the side of the ball then it is an even contest.
 
Top