2Refereeing The Ruck Agenda Importance to the GameThe GateThe RuckCommunicationWhen is the ball out?Referee PositioningDiscussion
3Importance to the Game Statistics Review London Wasps vs Newcastle FalconsEnglish Aviva Premiership, January 3, 2010Passes: 186Tackle/ruck/maul: 164Kicks: 80Scrums: (including resets) 31Line-outs: 24Penalties: 19Free kicks: 4Drop Outs: 4Whistling start and end of half: 4Consulting TMO: 1Consulting assistants: 0514 things to observe in 33 minutes of ball in play.Something to observe every 4 seconds on average while the ball is in play.Note: Tackle/ruck/maul is the 2nd most observed action in the duration of the game at 164 times.Tackle/ruck/maul is 32% of the game.Accuracy in decision-making is key as Tackle/Ruck is an area of high penalty count and can affect the outcome of matches.In N, tackle/ruck averaged 170 events/game.
4The GatePlayers who play the ball after a tackle must do so from the gate as indicated in the proceeding diagrams.Players must come from the direction of their own goal line and directly behind the tackled player or tackler nearest to their goal line.
7MIND THE GATEAll players must enter the tackle through the gate, referred to as a square entry, shoulders parallel to the goal lines. No part of the player’s body (including the arms), may enter the tackle through any other areas.Zero tolerance to be applied to players who do not enter through “the gate” and who have a material effect on play.
8Ruck - DefinitionA ruck is a phase of play where one or more players from each team, who are on their feet, in physical contact, close around the ball on the ground. Open play has ended.Rucking - Players are rucking when they are in a ruck and using their feet to try to win or keep possession of the ball, without being guilty of foul play.FORMING A RUCKPlayers are on their feet. At least one player must be in physical contact with an opponent. The ball is on the ground.
9Contest For The BallThe referee must ensure that tackled player releases the ball; note when a poaching player has possession, and if a ruck forms thereafter; allow the poaching player to continue his efforts to produce ball for his/her team.Conversely if a ruck forms immediately after the tackle, the referee has to prevent hands in, and achieve equal opportunity for both teams.Driving versus DivingDriving players go into the tackle/ruck with the intention of lifting and driving an opponent off the ball or tackled ball carrier.Diving players have only one purpose, “Kill the ball”, and thus preventing the opposition from getting quick ball.
10“Cleaning Out” Players The following analogies apply to arriving players:Acceptable Actions Unacceptable ActionsPlanes taking off Planes landing, diving over, etc.,Fork lift truck when cleaning out players Stacking / Piling upIf players enter the tackle in conformance with the required criteria and subsequently go to ground during the process of removing a tackler or because the opposition was unable to retain its position at contact, these players should not be penalized because they did not willfully go to ground. The ball should be available to be played. However, if these players then obstruct the ball from being available to be played, they must then be penalizedIf players make contact with the tackler or tacked players and subsequently go to ground during the process, but have made the ball available immediately, this will be allowed. Arriving players of the team who have secured the ball may either play the ball or bind onto their players, even if their players are on the ground, to maintain possession.
11Zero Tolerance EventsZero tolerance to players who charge into rucks and mauls without binding.Zero tolerance to players who clear out opponents not involved in ruck or maul.
12Incorrect Ruck Examples No players may bind onto the tackler/tackled player who is on the ground.Players who secure the ball without their weight fully on their feet (i.e. bound on OR leaning on the tackler/tackled player on the ground) OR who go to ground head first, or dive over players on the ground, OR dive over players on the ground with the ball between them should not be tolerated and penalized.
13Arriving Players Diagram Referees are to communicate when a ruck has formed, by using the term “Ruck”. This communication should be used to facilitate the ruck, and to enforce the ruck offside lines around the fringes and for the backlines. If the ball is immediately won and a ruck is formed, the referee should communicate “Ruck”. If required, the referee may use the term “No Hands” to indicate to players that they should no longer use their hands, prior to calling “Ruck”.NOTE: Referees are to allow the contest to develop at the breakdown, and should not call “Ruck” until a ruck has clearly been formed.
14Video Examples ARU – Ruck Definition ARU – Ruck Arriving Players ARU – Ball Out
15PLAY THE BALLUnplayable rucks are acceptable if the referee is in doubt as to the offender or there is no offence.Unplayable rucks should be whistled quickly.Too many unplayable rucks should indicate there may be a problem with the players.Communicate with players as to requirements during the setup time for the awarded scrum.
16WE DON’T READ MINDSReferees to judge on fact/law, not intent. Intent is for the judiciary to rule on, not the referee.Referee what you see, not what you expect to see or you believe should happen.
18Communication is KeyIt has been demonstrated that your communication, as varied as it comes, could determine your ultimate success or your downfall.Communication will be paramount at this breakdown.Use to avoid destructive play.
19Phrases For Rucks Timing is everything Too early and you can prevent contest for ballToo late and you may have lost controlOnly communicate if there is a need.Over use and it becomes just noise to players.Be Positive, Specific and Preventative.Phrases for Prevention (try to add colour & #)RollReleasePlay the ballRuckHands offStay on your feetStay boundLast feetJoin from behind
20Observed Communication Styles DirectA player that is clearly defined.e.g., “Black 7 – Release” or “Blue 2, roll!”IndirectNon specific communication.e.g., “Hands away”, “Ruck”, “Last Feet”Non verbal communicationCommunications used without voice, (e.g., use of hand signals).Positioning.All three styles are key components of getting players to respond positively to your requirement.Studies have shown that the more direct communication used the fewer the number of penalties awarded at tackle/ruck/maul events.
21When is the Ball Out? Hands on the ball? None while the competition for the ball in a ruck is ongoing.Once the ball has been clearly wonpushing the ball back by using the hand by a player of the team that have won possession of the ball is permissible.digging for the ball, by the player of the team who has won possession of the ball, who is in the scrumhalf position and not part of the ruck, is permissible and the BALL IS NOT OUT.The ball is out when there are no bodies over the ball from a bird’s eye view.Players in the ruck may under no circumstance slap the ball out of the scrumhalf’s hands or interfere with the scrumhalf.Quip: Advice on received from senior referee in the UK, “If you go for it and I penalize you, the ball wasn't out, if I don't, the ball was out"
22Where to referee the tackle? On the side where the ball is being presented by the ball carrier.In other words, on the side where the ball is being placed back to the tackled players team.We call this the ‘A Line’.
23Referee arrival position The tackle gateD-lineD-lineA-lineA-lineRRReferee arrival position
24Some suggestions:Try and avoid facing touch lines, instead, try to face the defenders goal line.If you find yourself facing a touch line, you could miss offsides in the defending backline.If you find yourself facing a touch line, move such that your body is facing the defending goal line and you are looking sideways at the TRM.From this position it is easy to scan the defenders with a movement of the head rather than the whole body.
25Tackle/Ruck Position Take position on A-Line at ruck. Move away from the ruck he is once the ball has been won.Ball-line running across the fieldAcross until linebreak is madeThen up the field until tackle madeAcross to tackle & set up againLook for direction of arrival at tackle.
26Positioning – Tackle/Ruck A-Line positioning at multiple tackle/ruck situations.Don’t get in the way of runners one-off the ruck.At first tackle, positioning/action sequence is:Close to tackle, verbal communicationBack away once ball is wonCheck ‘offsides’Pivot following the pass > Ball-line running
27Positioning – Tackle/Ruck A-Line positioningWatch ball-line runningAs break is made up-field, he sprints straight staying in line with the ballWhen a tackle is made, he then comes across field
28Your Mental Checklists! Identify the ruck.Communicate early.Don't get too close post tackle decisions.Look for Guards?As events unfold, be:1. Positive, Specific, Preventative2. Watch the cleanouts- must use arms- close proximity to ball, not just the ruck3. When it’s over, look for players in an offside position.
29Video Examples Local referees Let’s discuss the following examples (with thanks to Mel Tranchemontagne and Alan Hosie)Mel1 Mel2 Mel3 Hosie1 Mel4Do you agree with their call?What would you have done different?What is the impact on the game?