Maintaining Focus No. 4 – Other Arriving Players at a Tackle
This is the fourth in a series of training and development resources to help referees and referee advisors/coaches “keep their brains going” until whenever the game restarts.
“Maintaining Focus No.4 – Other Arriving Players at a Tackle” provides a learning opportunity based on the recent World Rugby pronouncements on “The Tackle Area” focusing on “Other Arriving Players” and their responsibilities. It is self-explanatory and is designed to do no more than ask members to consider issues that arise in the video clips provided by World Rugby.
It is recommended that you study the exercise clips one at a time rather than just letting them run without any analysis (don’t do too much at one go!!!!).
Please work through the questions for each clip before viewing the suggested responses in order to maximise your learning. (Click on the questions to reveal the repsonses.)
Clearly the clips represent what World Rugby considers to be good outcomes but there is plenty for us to understand and dissect and perhaps clarify issues we were unclear about.
Reminder of some relevant points from LAW 15: Ruck
- An arriving player must be on their feet and join from behind their offside line.
- A player may join alongside but not in front of the hindmost player.
- Possession may be won either by rucking or by pushing the opposing team off the ball.
- Players must endeavour to remain on their feet throughout the ruck.
Other Arriving Players at a Tackle – Exercise 1
Enforce the tackle gate and penalise side entries into the ruck
- Q1. Talk this clip through to yourself. What is the sequence of events starting with G6 makes a tackle? ’? G6 makes the tackle on R18. G21 makes contact with R18 but immediately releases him. G21 attempts a jackle but is prevented from completing this by R19 tackling him, or clearing out, from the side prior to the formation of the ruck. G21 tries to continue the jackle but R20 comes in from the other side and is penalised, which is the most obvious of the PKs available.
- Q2. What is G21’s function? Tackler/jackler/part of the ruck? While making contact with R18, G21 can barely be described as a tackler and, in any case, he immediately releases R18. He attempts the jackle but is stopped in the first instance by R19. At this stage it cannot be a ruck because neither R19 nor G21 are ‘over the ball’. G21’s persistence with the jackle attempt makes it look like a ruck.
- Q3. Describe R19’s action.R19 tackles G21 who is not in possession of the ball. There is no describable phase therefore this action is foul play, tackling the man off the ball.
- Q4. Describe R20’s action.R20 sees G21’s attempt at the jackle and comes in illegally from the side to prevent possession.
- Q5. The referee appears to be penalising R20 for side entry. Is this the first offence? If not, what is the first offence?The first offence is R19’s tackle on G21, not in possession of the ball.
- Q6. Is the ‘side entry’ decision correct. With hindsight and the benefit of video, what would your decision have been? Why?The referee’s decision to penalise R20’s side entry is correct but not the first offence. We would have hoped to see R19’s foul play of taking the man ‘off the ball’ take precedence.
- Q7. Comment on the referee’s explanation. Helpful/too much/unnecessary?Penalised player not identified by colour or number. Too much said. Decision is ‘Red 20 side entry’. Delivery of the decision, however, ensured no question or debate.
- Q1. B15 makes a tackle. Is B7 a tackler? What do you think she intends to do? Is she part of the ruck?B7 only makes contact after the carrier has gone to ground so she is not a tackler. She attempts a jackle. She is not in a ruck because she has not bound onto any opposition player.
- Q2. Describe the actions of W19.W19 takes B7 out and prevents possession by not entering through the gate. The fact that B7 was unlikely to win the contest is irrelevant.
- Q3. The referee penalises W19 for ‘side entry’. Again, with hindsight and the benefit of video, what would your decision have been? Why?Tackle only. No ruck formed. Foul play taking the player not in possession. The ‘side entry’ decision, however, is understood by the players and avoids any discussion which might slow down play.
- Q1. B3 makes a tackle. Describe the actions of B1. Is he a tackler?B1 is in contact with R4 before he goes to ground but releases. He is a tackler.
- Q2. Describe the impact of B1’s left arm. Is he tackling or is this illegal contact.?The tackle action shows clear swinging arm contact with R4’s head/neck. Foul play.
- Q3. R3 is penalised for side entry. Is the ‘side entry’ decision accurate?).While not the first offence, R3 does not enter through the gate so this part of the decision is correct.
- Q4. Is it the first offence? Does it matter?The first offence is offside against B3 in front of the back foot. The second offence is B3 foul play. Side entry is third offence. The important penalty should be B3’s foul play as this is a WR focus area and a safety issue.
- Q5. Again, with hindsight and the benefit of video, what would your decision have been?PK against B3 for foul play. Arguably YC mitigated by R4 going to ground but counter mitigation because swinging arm shows force.
- Q6. In each of these clips ‘side entry’ may not have been the first offence. If that is the case, why have the referees opted for this offence?Preventing the jackle is a main focus for players and referees may see this as a phase of play to be closely observed. There are some issues relating to the referee being too close to the action. Side entry is easy to describe but identifying and discouraging foul play is a major issue.
Other Arriving Players at a Tackle – Exercise 2
Encourage arriving players to drive and bind to opponents rather than diving in or tackling them.
- Q1. Is R10 tackled?There is a collision and R10 goes to ground rather than being taken to ground. (14.3: ‘a tackler must continue holding the ball carrier until the ball carrier is on the ground.’) No tackle.
- Q2. Is there a ruck?R2 is not on his feet in contact with B4 therefore no ruck has formed.
- Q3. The referee says ‘No 2 arrive up and with an arm please’. Does the latter constitute foul play?R2 prevents B4, on his feet, from exercising his right to address the ball by taking him out ‘off the ball’. He could have formed a ruck, a legal contest. This could certainly be interpreted as foul play. PK to black.
- Q4. Is the PK correct? Should the referee differentiate between the two offences?PK to black is correct but referee should clarify the issue with foul play being the main issue.
- Q5. B9 clearly wants a quick tap. Is the referee correct to make him wait?If the referee considers that an issue needs highlighting and there is no clear advantage available he is correct not to offer a quick tap. A quick tap, however, is often the ‘clear advantage’.
- Q1. B2 is tackled and lays the ball back. The referee penalises B4 saying ‘Straight off your feet, no attempt whatever.’ What is the phase of play at this stage, tackle/ruck/open play? To what phases does the decision apply?B2 has been tackled by R8. No ruck has formed. A tackle has taken place – not open play.
- Q2. Why does B4 act as he does?He seeks to prevent contest (R11 jackle) rather than enter into a legal contest. (Law 14.4cii: he is a ‘player(s) who arrives to contest possession in the tackle) and must be on his feet.
- Q3. Do B4’s actions constitute foul (dangerous) play?Possibly dangerous in contact with shoulder below the knee. Referee to judge (and comment in down time?).
- Q1. Describe the sequence of events in this clip.R17 joins onto R19 prior to contact with B8 who maintains contact with R19 as R19 goes to ground. B8 fulfils the requirements of making a tackle. While maintaining contact with R19 there is no clear release by the tackler. R17 is penalised for going off feet ‘Straight down’.
- Q2. Does the contact of the tackler, R17 and R19 constitute a maul (one from each side and the ball carrier)?At the point of contact between R19 and B8, R19 appears to be driving on in a positive action. Commonly described as a ‘dynamic tackle’. B8 eases contact with a view to releasing and attempting a jackle. With no opposition R19 goes to ground. Law 16; 8-9 allows R19 to go to ground but all other players must endeavour to stay on their feet.
- Q3. Has R17 committed an offence? Is the decision correct?Tough, but correct in law.
- Q1. Describe the series of actions in this clip.R1 makes contact with B4 and B3. B3 releases and B4 completes the tackle. B6 prevents any further development of the phase by entering at the side and ensuring R1 cannot play the ball back.
- Q2. Is a maul formed before the action goes to ground?A maul can be said to form only when R4 joins onto R1.
- Q3. Does R4 ‘go to ground’ or is he taken down? Does it matter?R1 is tackled to the ground with R4 attached. R4’s obligation (together with R1) is therefore to release immediately. If a maul has formed prior to the collision going to ground R4 must endeavour to stay on his feet.
- Q4. Comment on the referee’s deportment and position.From the time of collision, the referee’s slowness off the mark allows two blue players to interfere with his line of sight. It is only the slow development of the phase which allows him to get into a position to see the action.
- Q5. Is this the correct decision?Depends on whether the referee sees the play as a tackle or a maul which goes to ground. B6’s actions, however, are negative and cynical and clear and obvious. This is a decision understandable by all.
Other Arriving Players at a Tackle – Exercise 3
Examples of counter ruck
- Q1. B12 tackles G11. At what point does the ‘ruck’ start?The ruck starts when B10 and G10 are in contact on their feet over the ball which is on the ground.
- Q2. Why does the referee describe the result as a ‘counter ruck’?Common parlance. The ball is won in the ruck by the team not in possession at the start of the ruck.
- Q3. Evaluate his call ‘Counter ruck is good.’ Necessary/helpful/white noise? Not necessary but helpful in that it provides clarity to a decision which has not necessitated a whistle. Also reinforces positive play and precludes any debate.
- Q1. R6 & R5 are tacklers. At what point does a ruck form?R6 and R5 release the tackled player. R6 attempts a jackle. A ruck forms when B4 makes contact with R6 on their feet and over the ball on the ground.
- Q2. How many instances of a ruck are shown in the clip?Arguably a second ruck forms when R2 and R5 drive a blue player off the ball winning a counter-ruck.
- Q3. Evaluate his call ‘Counter ruck is good.’ Necessary/helpful/white noise?As above, not necessary but helpful in that it provides clarity to a decision which has not necessitated a whistle. Reassures players that the referee is not always going to favour the attacking team? Also precludes any debate.
© Manchester & District Rugby Union Referees’ Society Ltd June 2020