Maintaining Focus No. 2 – The Ball Carrier in a Tackle
This is the second 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. 2 – The Ball Carrier in a Tackle” provides a learning opportunity based on the recent World Rugby pronouncements on “The Tackle Area”. The focus is on “The Ball Carrier” and his/her 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 responses.)
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 14: Tackle
For a tackle to occur, the ball carrier is held and brought to ground by one or more opponents. Being brought to ground means that the ball-carrier is lying, sitting or has at least one knee on the ground or on another player who is on the ground. Being held means that a tackler must continue to hold the ball carrier until the ball carrier is on the ground.
Tacklers (in short) must: Release the ball and ball carrier when tackle has completed, move away or get up, be on their feet before attempting to play the ball and allow the tackled player to release or play the ball.
Tackled players (in short) must: Immediately make the ball available by releasing, passing or pushing the ball in any direction other than forward, move away or get up and ensure that they do not lie on, over or near the ball to prevent opposition players gaining possession of it.
The Ball Carrier in a Tackle – Exercise 1
“Ball carrier must place or play the ball immediately – the ball carrier should not be allowed time for a second movement such as rolling, crawling, bouncing etc.”
- Q1. Does Blue 6 complete the tackle? What defines the process? Does she fulfil her obligations as a tackler? She does complete the tackle. She maintains contact and holds W14 until she in on the ground. She immediately releases W14 and rolls away.
- Q2. Does W14 release the ball? What were her realistic options going into the tackle? W14 does not release the ball. She could have passed the ball to her own player, released the ball in the tackle, got to her feet and retrieved it to make further progress or she could have placed the ball back as the ruck is established.
- Q3. The referee seems to have a clear view of the events. Were there any benefits to him 1. Being closer, 2. Calling release when the tackle was complete? Did the pace of play allow him time to make a ‘managing’ call?Being closer would allow clearer vocal intervention. The tackle was complete as soon as W14 goes to ground. It is fair in today’s game to expect W14 to place the ball for a ruck so her actions can be seen as unusual. A timely management call of ‘release’ would be unlikely to have any realistic impact and would be very difficult. Current trends indicate that ‘release, pick and go’ may become more prevalent in the future.
- Q4. Correct decision?Yes
- Q1. The red player (R15) recovers the ball in defence and gets to his feet. He has a colleague behind him. What are his options going into the contact with Blue 14?1. Pass the ball before contact, 2. Enter the tackle phase and immediately place the ball for R11 to retrieve 3. Release the ball, get to his feet and recover it himself, possibly even 4. Run into touch. Given the dynamics, options 1 & 2 are most likely.
- Q2. Does B14 fulfil his obligations as a tackler? Is he on his feet? Is he allowed to address the ball? B14 fulfils all his obligations as a tackler and he is allowed to address the ball. While still having some contact with R11, he remains on his feet and is in a good position to lift the ball. There is no ‘release’ call from the referee which might have reminded players of their responsibilities. R11 gets away with it.
- Q3. The red player places the ball back but only after he has rolled once. Does this fulfil the requirement of ‘immediately’?Could be counted as two rolls. This does not fulfil the ‘immediate’ criterion and other options were available to him. He may claim that he was carried forward by momentum, but the clip shows that any momentum was downward towards the ground not along it.
- Q4. Is the roll a deliberate act to frustrate B14’s access?At this level, almost certainly. Also may be simply be a delaying tactic to allow more defenders to arrive.
- Q5. Evaluate the referee’s decision to allow play to continue (in the clip).The referee is well positioned to see the whole event. He may be influenced by the fact that the situation is very dynamic. No release call – unhelpful! Call would probably been ignored but R15 would have had no excuses. There is no indication in the clip that he intends to play advantage and he is more concerned that ‘Blue ? stay!’ Should have been a PK.
- Q6. If the referee decided to penalise R15, should it also be a YC?Close call, B14 has the upper hand and is on his feet in a good attacking position close to the goal line with other blue players arriving. Looks harsh but R15 knows what he is doing. Probably YC.
The Ball Carrier in a Tackle – Exercise 2
“When the ball-carrier’s knee touches the ground, the tackler must release immediately.”
- Q1. Green 11’s knee touches the ground 3 seconds into the clip. Referee Wayne Barnes, presumably, is unsighted for this event. It would also be difficult for tacklers to be aware of this contact with the ground. Had he seen the above contact would he have called ‘tackle’ at this time or is the activity too dynamic?Had he seen the contact (3 seconds into the clip) he should have called ‘tackle’. The knee is not resting on the ground but contact has been made in the course of the tackle. The dynamics of the situation may dictate play continuing but that’s where the ‘tackle’ or ‘release’ call becomes valuable and promotes continuity of play. At Society level, it would probably be too quick for players to react and too marginal to make an issue of it. Good positive verbal reinforcement.
- Q2. The referee seems to be walking towards the tackle area. Is this a good position from which to judge events?75 mins into the game! Good leading margin. If we’re generous we might say that WB is avoiding getting tied up by returning blue players. Could/should have avoided being unsighted by quicker movement but a good position to manage verbally.
- Q1. Compare the pace and positioning of the referee in this example. Comment.Not quick off the mark but more actively achieves a good position to manage verbally as well as having a clear view of events.
- Q2. Instead of ‘tackle’ or ‘release’ the referee calls ‘leave it now green!’ Comment on this command.‘Tackle’ or ‘release’ are usually better but in this case ‘leave it now green’ is unambiguous and removes doubt relating to responsibility of players. ‘Release green’ would be a sharper and more useable option.
© Manchester & District Rugby Union Referees’ Society Ltd June 2020