Whistle Talk - August 2017

August 15 2017

Whistle Talk

Whistle Talk Volume 6 Ed 1: News from the British Columbia Rugby Referees’ Society

from David Pue
[ed. comments or questions to bcrrsallocator@gmail.com]

We’re going into year 3 of the four-year cycle of World Rugby’s modification of the Laws of the Game. The cycle happens between each of the Men’s Rugby World Cups. A number of Law amendments and trials were put in place last August and January. There are a number of new trials for August 1st, 2017. The next major announcement will be which Law changes will be “locked into place” in preparation for RWC 2019.

The Law trials from last August and January were discussed in Whistle Talk volume 5 eds 1 to 3.

NOTE: The following trials have been approved by Rugby Canada for all competitions that begin after August 1, 2017 except for the CRCs and the National Age Grade to be held in Calgary in August. The provincial competitions in BC will use these trials for the 2017-18 season.

All of the Law trials currently in use are discussed (with video) on the World Rugby web site (http://laws.worldrugby.org/). Choose the menu item: Global Trials 2017.

A Definition: Possession

If a player is carrying the ball or attempting to get the ball under control, it is in their possession.

If a team has the ball in its control (ie on their side of a scrum or ruck), the ball is their possession.

The example on the WR website shows a player (in the field of play) try to catch a ball that has crossed the touch-line. This definition means that his opponents get the throw at the line-out.

Law 5 Time

Law 5.7 (e)

If time in a half runs out after the time a penalty is awarded and the ball is kicked directly into touch, the throw-in will be allowed and play continue until the ball becomes “dead”.

If the team awarded the penalty kick, taps the ball and then kicks it into touch, the half will end.

Law 15 Tackle: Ball-Carrier Brought to Ground

Law 15.4(c)

The tackler (defender who went to ground with the ball-carrier) must get to their feet before playing the ball AND can only play it from their team’s side of the tackle.

The tackler no longer has “all rights” to the ball once they get to their feet. They must move so they are in their team’s gate… just like an “assist tackler” who stayed on their feet or any other defender coming to the tackle.

Law 16 Ruck

After a tackle (tackler and ball-carrier on the ground), a ruck is formed as soon as 1 player, from either team, is on their feet and over the ball. (they must come through their team’s gate!)

This means that the offside lines are created !
(ie. no Italians can loiter in England’s backfield !!)

The player that formed the ruck can use their hands to pick up the ball, if they do so immediately. Once an opponent arrives and creates a 2-person ruck, no hands can be used to win the ball. All of the usual Laws around use of hands in ruck apply.

It would seem that there is nothing in this Law trial that prohibits the single player who forms the ruck after the tackle, from being the tackler or the ball carrier. They must, however, get up on their feet and be in their team’s gate.

Law 16.4

A player must not kick the ball out of a ruck. Sanction: Penalty Kick

A player may use their foot, in a “rucking motion”, to hook the ball backwards in the ruck.

Law 20 Scrum

Law 20.5 Throwing the Ball into the Scrum

The referee will no longer give a signal to the scrum half to show that they can put the ball into the scrum.

The referee will still give the verbal instructions (crouch, bind, set) but once the scrum is stable and the scrum-half presents the ball (holds it down at the entrance to the tunnel) they may put the ball into the scrum when they wish BUT without delay.

Law 20.6(d) How the scrum-half throws the ball in

The scrum-half must throw the ball in straight. (What a concept!!)
Straight means parallel to the mid-line of the scrum… which is the line formed by the shoulders of the front rows when the are bound and set in the scrum.

In the existing Law, the scrum-half had to stand at the mid-line of the scrum as they put the ball in. In this Law trial, they may stand with a shoulder on the mid-line (probably their left shoulder) as they put the ball in. This means that they will be able to put the ball in, a shoulder width towards their side of the scrum. BUT it must be thrown in straight!

Law 20: Striking after the throw-in

Once the ball is put in and touches the ground, a front row player from the
team having the put-in must strike for the ball. Sanction = Free Kick

Any player in the front-row may use either of their feet to strike for the ball.

It would seem that a team, which is able to drive their opponent off the ball, would be given some leeway under this Law trial… positive play and skill should be rewarded. However, if a stalemate occurs (with the ball sitting untouched in the tunnel), this Law trial would apply to the team who put the ball in.

Law 20.9(b) Handling in the Scrum (exception)

No one is allowed to use his or her hands to win the ball in a scrum, BUT this Law trial gives an exception: the #8 can pick up the ball in the feet of the second-row.

When the Ball Crosses a Line:

In the previous law trials, to be in touch, the ball had to actually cross the touch-line … ie. break the plane of the touch-line (an imaginary sheet of glass up from the touch-line).

So after a kick, if a player had a foot in touch and reached into the field of play to catch the ball, THEY were considered to have carried the ball into touch. If they catch the ball after it has crossed the touch-line, then the kicker put the ball into touch.

World Rugby has made the rulings about the ball crossing any line consistent with this principle. SO, it applies to the try line, the dead-ball & touch-in-goal lines and the 22m line.

If a player, with a foot on or behind the goal line, catches or picks up the ball (rolling or not) before it crosses the goal line, the defender has possession of the ball in the field of play. ie. they carried the ball into the in-goal.

If a player, with a foot on the lines that edge the in-goal (dead-ball and touch-in-goal lines) or outside of the in-goal area, catches or picks up the ball (rolling or not) before it crosses the touch-in-goal or dead-ball line, the player has possession of the ball in the in-goal area. ie. they carried the ball into touch.

If a player, with a foot on or behind the 22m line, catches or picks up the ball (rolling or not) before it crosses the 22m line, they have brought the ball into the 22m area. ie. if they then kick directly into touch, the line-out will be opposite where he kicked the ball… as the Law says “there is no gain in ground”.

To call “mark”, a player, with a foot on or behind the 22m line, must catch the ball AFTER it has crossed the 22m line.

Limiting Contact with the Head

Any contact with an opponent’s head is not allowed….(ie. in a tackle, “gator-roll” in a ruck, “pan-caking in a line-out)

When dealing with contact to the head, referees think about: what sort of contact was made (initial & final location of the contact, was hand or arm or shoulder used, etc.), what the action of the tackled player was like (accidental, reckless), and how much force was used (little, significant).

- if the contact is not significant, the referee may take no action or give a warning.
- if the contact is significant but considered accidental, the referee must penalize the player… even if a tackle begins below the head but slides up OR if the opponent slips into the tackle.
- if the contact is significant (but not severe) and considered reckless (ie. the player should have known that they were going to contact the opponent’s head) the referee must yellow card the player.
- If the reckless contact is severe and considered reckless, the referee must red card the player.

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