IRB abolish verbal “yes nine” call at scrum - But the Yanks say No!

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IRB abolish verbal “yes nine” call at scrum - But the Yanks say No! Empty IRB abolish verbal “yes nine” call at scrum - But the Yanks say No!

Post by Scrumpy on Thu 09 Jan 2014, 10:30 am

In a minor revision to the current protocol surrounding the on-going scrum engagement global trial, the International Rugby Board has confirmed that referees will use non-verbal communication to indicate to the scrum half when the ball can be thrown into the scrum.

Up to now as part of the scrum trial, the referee has told the scrum half that the scrum is ready for the put-in by the use of the phrase “yes nine”.

But following an initial review, including consultation with national coaches and referee managers, it has been decided that referees will adopt a non-verbal communication for the introduction of the ball in accordance with the relevant law (20.5 Throwing the Ball Into the Scrum).

The RFU’s Professional Referee Development Manager, Tony Spreadbury, explained the new procedure now that the verbal “yes nine” has been dropped: “If the nine is on the far side of the scrum the referee will raise his hand and nod his head in a yes motion when he believes that there is sufficient stability for the ball to be put in.

“If the referee is on the putting in side he will give the nine a tap on the back when he believes that there is sufficient stability for the ball to be put in.

“Match officials need to continue to referee all of the other elements of the scrum trial including pushing before the ball is introduced and clear and obvious put-ins that are not straight.”

The change is effective immediately, apart from in the USA.


Last edited by Scrumpy on Fri 10 Jan 2014, 9:49 am; edited 2 times in total
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Post by BamBam on Thu 09 Jan 2014, 10:44 am

I might be being thick, but what is the point of this?

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Post by Scrumpy on Thu 09 Jan 2014, 10:46 am

The article or the yes 9?  Smile 

I guess the 'yes 9' call is a green light for some dark arts to take place in the scrum.

Like what Sale did to Leicester.
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Post by BamBam on Thu 09 Jan 2014, 11:01 am

I mean abolishing the yes 9 call, definitely not the article!

I didn't see that game, what did Sale do?

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Post by Nematode on Thu 09 Jan 2014, 11:03 am

 IRB abolish verbal “yes nine” call at scrum - But the Yanks say No! 3933776953 

Not sure if this is relevant but there is a very similar, if not identical, thread in the main chunk before you choose club/intl.

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Post by Notch on Thu 09 Jan 2014, 1:32 pm

BamBam a verbal call to the scrum half to put the ball in alerts the opposition as to when the ball is coming in making it easier for them to time their drive for when the opposition hooker is striking for the ball or to try and strike against the head themselves.

Non-verbal signal is more even. Currently there is a slight advantage to the team without the put-in.
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Post by GunsGerms on Thu 09 Jan 2014, 2:08 pm

I think it is a good idea. However, if the ref nods to one scrum half whats to stop the other scrum half signalling to his front row to do their thing whatever that is?

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Post by GunsGerms on Thu 09 Jan 2014, 2:11 pm

Im sure thats what Morgan Parra would do anyway.

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Post by aucklandlaurie on Thu 09 Jan 2014, 5:24 pm


Good on U.S.A. rugby, for pointing out that this wasnt a rugby law in the first place, merely a suggested protocol from the IRB.


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Post by Cyril on Thu 09 Jan 2014, 6:55 pm

What a complete and utter mess rugby is in at the moment.

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Post by Scrumpy on Fri 10 Jan 2014, 9:18 am

Cyril wrote:What a complete and utter mess rugby is in at the moment.

Couldn't agree more, but why change a habit of a lifetime!

At the end of the day you can't keep everyone happy but its begining to get a little silly now. furious 
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Post by Scrumpy on Fri 10 Jan 2014, 9:36 am

The USA board has announced that it will not be implementing the IRB's change on scrum engagement and the elimination of the need for referees to say "yes,nine".

In a surprising move, USA Rugby said that nothing would happen until the changes had been discussed by the board's law committee which will not meet before next week.

"It should be emphasized that the verbal communication is not law, but a suggested protocol," said Ed Todd, USA Rugby's head of referees. "At the present time, all referees in the United States are using the verbal communication. USA Rugby's laws committee and the rugby committee are now reviewing this new possibility, and a policy decision will be made.

"However, this will not happen before next week as it requires full consideration, which must not be rushed. In the meantime, the 'yes nine' communication will stay in effect."

It is inconceivable that the board will not fall into line with the IRB change. While the need for the decision to be communicated to referees across the country is understandable, the rather high-handed tone in which it has been communicated is not.
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Post by kiakahaaotearoa on Fri 10 Jan 2014, 10:32 am

Can you put the link to planetrugby so I can read about this in more depth?

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Post by Scrumpy on Fri 10 Jan 2014, 10:35 am

It was off ESPN Scrum
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Post by Exiledinborders on Fri 10 Jan 2014, 2:18 pm

Surely the opposition's nine is just going to watch for the non verbal signal and then just shout a verbal one.

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Post by GloriousEmpire on Fri 10 Jan 2014, 2:33 pm

I worry most of all about the role of the opposition 9 at the scrum.

For years now, the defending 9 has had the responsibility to repeatedly shouting "put it in! put it in!" and waving his arms around in the air in mock exasperation in the attempt to win a defensive penalty due to the attacking 9 failing to feed the scrum in a timely manner.

With the 9 now being forced to be quiet (addendum to earlier addendum to scrum set sequence addendum revisited) while the referee twitches his nose, tweaks his ear, makes suggestive eyebrow movements whilst rotating the carnation in his top pocket anti-clockwise to order a scrum feed, just what will the defensive 9's roll be? will he be allowed to make a non verbal gesture of his own to by-pass the addendum addendum? such as, tapping his own front row discretely?

And is it possible, that just once, the IRB might implement advice after having thought it though fully?

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Post by profitius on Fri 10 Jan 2014, 4:58 pm

BamBam wrote:I might be being thick, but what is the point of this?


I'll give you an example. Last week Munster won a scrum penalty against Ulster by puching them back. A minute or two later Munster had another scrum. The Munster 9 was just putting the ball in when Ulsters pack drove through and won a penalty. The Munster front row couldn't push because they had to wait for the ball.


So I think its mainly a move to make it harder for the opposition front row to guess when to push. Whether or not it changes anything remains to be seen. Like GE said, the opposition could easily come up with a solution to let their pack know when to push. What it does do though is make things harder to guess.
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Post by OzT on Mon 13 Jan 2014, 8:27 pm

Not suppose to push until the ball's in, isn't that the law? so wouldn't Ulster been penalized for early shove?

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Post by gregortree on Wed 15 Jan 2014, 11:56 am

OzT, yes early shove is supposed to be penalised. Didn't see it, but refs are vulnerable to calling marginal timing issues the wrong way. Early/late tackle / shove / put in /taken in the air and so on.

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Post by geoff998rugby on Wed 15 Jan 2014, 11:58 am

Somebody should have told Greg Garner at the weekend - obviously missed the message

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