Clip 3 - 23 February 2018 - Law 19


To see this clip it is better to enlarge it to full size. Then you can see clearly what happens.

France have a scrum. Maxime Machenaud is to put the ball in. The ball comes back to France and play goes on.

It's what happens in the tunnel that is interesting.

Rugby football is governed my laws. It is the laws that make the game different from any other game and deserve great respect because they are the essence of the game.

The laws tell us what the scrumhalf must do when he puts the ball into the tunnel..

Law 19. The scrum-half throws in the ball:
 From the chosen side.
 From outside the tunnel.
 Without delay.
 With a single forward movement.
 At a quick speed.
 Straight along the middle line.
 So that it first touches the ground inside the tunnel.
Sanction: Free-kick.

The middle line is where the shoulders of the two front rows come together.

there are laws and there are laws. There are things called amendments which have the force of laws.

One of the amendments does away with the middle line.

Now the place where Machenaud takes up his position is nearer to the right, so that his left shoulder is at the middle line.

The amendments reads:

The scrumhalf must throw the ball in straight, but is allowed to align their shoulder on the middle line of the scrum, therefore allowing them to stand a shoulder width towards their own side of the middle line.
Rationale: To promote scrum stability, a fair contest for possession while also giving the advantage to the team throwing in.

People may look sceptically at the fair contest. Having one's hooker nearer to the scrumhalf is already an advantage for the team throwing in the ball.

The amendment then says:

Striking after the throw-in
Law 19 Once the ball touches the ground in the tunnel, any front-row player may use either foot to try to win possession of the ball. One player from the team who put the ball in must strike for the ball.
Rationale: To promote a fair contest for possession.
Sanction: Free-kick

That's different - that the team throwing in must strike for the ball. It's no longer just a case of pushing over the ball - oh, and the put-in must be straight.

Look at this scrum:

French hooker Guilhem Guirado pushes his right knee forward.
Then Machenaud puts the ball in straight to the knee.
Then the ball is diverted to the French side.

That is not according to law, original or amended.

Guirado pushes forward before the ball touches the ground in the tunnel.
Nobody in the French front row uses a foot to strike for the ball. A knee is not a foot.

Using a foot in the scrum dates back the first written law of 1866.

Is there any point in having laws at all, if they not observed in the highest form of the game? advert