Debate about the breakdown

harlequins1970

Rugby Club Member
#1
I thought, as the weather was nice, to go down the local park and take in a game. The coach of one side was, not having a go at the referee but was debating his decisions about the breakdown and the ruck. Basically what was happening was reds going forward tackled by blue no problems there. A blue defender was then coming in getting over the tackled player, on his side and getting his hands on the ball, no problem there. The next stage is where the debate started. A red player would then come in, engage with the blue player who has his hands on the ball and then be joined by others, which then the referee would shout "ruck" hands off. The coach was shouting that his player was entitled to have his hands on the ball, which he does, but the referee was telling the players that the first player arriving was not lifting the ball off the ground but just having his hands on the ball therefore he had to release the ball. Is that correct does the first player have to lift the ball off the ground so that the next phase is a tackle rather than a ruck or can he just put his hands on it trying to win maybe a penalty against the tackled player for not releasing which was put the coach who stated that was not the case.
 

crossref

<img src="http://www.rugbyrefs.com/flags/england.p
#2
so the referee was saying that if the jackler is trying to pick the ball up, he's OK, but if the jackler is merely pressing down on the ball on the floor, he's not OK.

interesting.
 

L'irlandais

, Promises to Referee in France
#4
In fairness to the ref the tackle law has been oft debated. Law 15 Clarifications - iRB

In your senario the defender is entitled to play the ball, does he have to lift the ball from the ground? Debatable...
15.6 (e) Any player who gains possession of the ball at the tackle must play the ball immediately by moving away or passing or kicking the ball.
Sanction: Penalty kick
 

Phil E

, Referees/Trains Referees in England
#7
If the drive in from the other players causes the "jackler" to momentarily lose contact with the ball, thats that's his lot. "Hands off, you had your chance".
 

OB..

, Advises in England
#8
The jackler is entitled to take the ball. If he is prevented, then PK the opposition. If he is merely holding it down (to try and draw a penalty) PK him. Not an easy decision.

Maybe the referee got the right decision but expressed the reason badly? If the jackler is not acting legally then he is indeed illegally using his hands in a ruck, but it is more important for him to know why his jackling failed.
 

harlequins1970

Rugby Club Member
#9
If the drive in from the other players causes the "jackler" to momentarily lose contact with the ball, thats that's his lot. "Hands off, you had your chance".
don't think that was an issue either. From my opening para he was saying the jackler was not attempting to lift the ball of the ground quick enough or wasn't getting the chance to therefore he had to let go cause a ruck had formed
 

TheBFG

<img src="http://www.rugbyrefs.com/flags/england.p
#10
A player who gets his hands on the ball before the ruck is entitled to "play the ball" that said it is a coach ploy that sometimes you don't want the ball, just the PK. Sp for me a player that gets his hands on must make an effort to "win the ball" if he just seals it in there, he's liable to PK or if he's lucky the other side getting a scrum for it not coming out, he's niot going to "buy" a PK for the tackled player holding on :wink: been there, got that t-shirt!
 

Dixie

<img src="http://www.rugbyrefs.com/flags/england.p
#11
If he is merely holding it down (to try and draw a penalty) PK him. Not an easy decision.
What is the offence, OB?

A player who gets his hands on the ball before the ruck is entitled to "play the ball"
not quite what the law says.
for me a player that gets his hands on must make an effort to "win the ball" if he just seals it in there, he's liable to PK
But again - on what grounds?

16.4(b) Players must not handle the ball in a ruck except after a tackle if they are on their feet and have their hands on the ball before the ruck is formed.
Sanction: Penalty kick


So our jackler is not making a conscious effort to do anything with the ball other than hold it on the floor. Assuming he started this activity fractionally before the ruck started, so cannot reasonably be held subject to Crossref's well-spotted 15.6e offence, I can't see any offence. He's entitled to keep his hands on the ball, but can't complain if those hands find themselves under the boots of people genuinely trying the free the ball. He had his hands on the ball before the ruck started, and is therefore legally entitled to handle the ball in the ruck. It is an unqualified exception to the "hands in the ruck" law. Any ref pinging him for hands in the ruck has incorrectly failed to grant him the right to which he is entitled - i.e. the right to handle the ball in the ruck.
 

harlequins1970

Rugby Club Member
#12
In fairness to the ref the tackle law has been oft debated. Law 15 Clarifications - iRB

In your senario the defender is entitled to play the ball, does he have to lift the ball from the ground? Debatable...
having read the clarification the referee got it wrong. It doesn't matter whether the ball is on the ground or off it providing he has his hands on the ball before the ruck is formed he can keep them there providing he does not go over the ball and seal it off
 

crossref

<img src="http://www.rugbyrefs.com/flags/england.p
#13
having read the clarification the referee got it wrong. It doesn't matter whether the ball is on the ground or off it providing he has his hands on the ball before the ruck is formed he can keep them there providing he does not go over the ball and seal it off
except that if his weight is on the ball he's no longer on his feet, so ...
 

Dixie

<img src="http://www.rugbyrefs.com/flags/england.p
#14
except that if his weight is on the ball he's no longer on his feet, so ...
But nowhere did it say the player was bearing his weight on the ball - merely that he was not attempting to get it off the ground
 

TheBFG

<img src="http://www.rugbyrefs.com/flags/england.p
#15
head and shoulders below hips (where theres a will).

If a jackler gets his hands on the ball i'd expect a positive action, and holding on to it isn't one :nono:
 

Womble

<img src="http://www.rugbyrefs.com/flags/england.p
#17
Firstly, if the "jackler" lifts the ball it is no longer a ruck, and secondly if he has his hands on the ball pre ruck then let him get on with it! One of the few ways of legally slowing the ball so reward him. (IMO you can bend over and press the ball down whilst still having your weight on your feet, I'm with Dixie
 

crossref

<img src="http://www.rugbyrefs.com/flags/england.p
#18
But nowhere did it say the player was bearing his weight on the ball - merely that he was not attempting to get it off the ground
that's true. I just assumed that unless he put any weight on it, he wouldn't keep it trapped there for long.