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Latest law clarifications for coaches

England Team Manager Martin Johnson with his England players

Photo: Getty Images

The following refereeing directives have been issued by the International Rugby Board and are to be implemented at all levels of the game.  Their aim is to ensure that there is an equal contest for possession and to allow the game to flow more freely.

To assist coaches, referees, players and observers to understand how these law clarifications affect the game, the RFU has put together the below resource of explanations and supporting video examples.

This resource highlights key infringement areas to help develop a common understanding for the 2010/11 season.

IRB Refereeing Directives
LawDescriptionExample video
Law 11. 1 (a) Offside from kicks. A player who is in front of a team mate who has kicked the ball should retreat and must not move forwards until played onside – the highlighted player moves forward and prevents the receiving team space to launch a counter-attack. Offside from kicks example 
Law 16.5 (d) Offside at a ruck – team not in possession. Players should be penalised for breaching the offside line – particularly defending players – as this restricts the attacking options. Specific attention should be paid to players close to the ruck, and players in the wider spaces. Offside at a ruck – team not in possession examples
Law 10.1 (c) Illegal maul formation. Line out: Players from the team in possession must not obstruct opponents prior to the maul being established. Players who are not part of the maul and who obstruct opponents joining the maul must be penalised as in video clip 3. Restarts: Players from the team in possession must not obstruct opponents closing in on the ball carrier. Referees should penalise clear and obvious offences Illegal maul formation line out examples

Illegal maul formation restart examples
Law 20.1 (g) Scrum engagement sequence.It is critical that the referee controls the scrum engagement sequence (crouch-touch-pause-engage) and that players react to the referee’s call. A zero-tolerance will operate towards teams that engage early. The clips demonstrate the affects of negative and positive scrum engagement sequences. Correct scrum engagement examples

Incorrect scrum engagement examples
Law 14 & 15 Ball on the ground – no tackle. Should the ball carrier voluntarily go to ground without a tackle being made opponents are permitted to contest possession provided that they are on their feet and that a ruck has not already formed. In the video clip, the ball carrier (blue) goes to ground voluntarily therefore the opponent can contest possession. Ball on the ground – no tackle example
Law 15 The tackle – not releasing ball/player. In the first clip Green 7 assists in bringing the ball carrier to ground, but makes no immediate attempt to release the player and ball. In the second clip, the player assists in bringing the ball carrier to ground, releases the ball and player immediately, but is incorrectly penalised. The tackle – not releasing ball/player examples
Law 15.6 (c) Players remaining on feet must play the ball from behind the tackled player. In the clip, the highlighted green player assists in bringing the red ball-carrier to ground. The highlighted player is not the tackler as defined in law, and can thus only contest possession by doing so from behind the ball and behind the tackled player. Players remaining on feet must play the ball from behind the tackled player example
Law 15.6 (d) At a tackle, players must play ball from directly behind the ball and tackled player. In both clips, the highlighted players do not play the ball from directly behind the ball and tackled player, and thus are penalised correctly Not playing ball from directly behind examples
Law 15.4 (b) Tackler not moving away from the ball and the tackled player. Players must immediately release the tackled player and move away from the ball and the tackled player. In the first clip, the Blue 4 and in the second clip, the Pink 5 make no attempt to release the tackled player and move away resulting in the slowing down of the release of the ball. Tackler not moving away from the ball/player examples
Law 15.7 (c) Players falling on or over the players lying on the ground after a tackle.The highlighted players wilfully go off their feet to seal off possession and are correctly penalised. Players falling on or over the players lying on the ground after a tackle examples
 

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