To ruck or not to ruck?

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To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by RDW_Scotland on Mon 27 Feb 2017, 8:06 am

First topic message reminder :

That is the question.

Now I'm not interested in specifically what Italy did and whether it was 'anti-rugby' or not - that's being debated to death elsewhere - I'm interested to talk about what this might mean for the future.

I can't see teams suddenly adopting the same tactic from minute zero as Italy did but it has certainly served as a reminder to coaches and players of when a ruck is not a ruck, and what you therefore can do.

In pretty much every game you get phases of play where the defence doesn't commit men to the ruck, therefore making it a tackle only. Sometimes it is because their defence is struggling to cope so they keep men in the line, and other times it is late in a game where a team is winning and they deliberately don't compete so they can fan out in defence.

Could we see players 'doing an Italy' in these situations?

How do you think this will affect the rest of the games?

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by Rugby Fan on Fri 03 Mar 2017, 12:05 pm

marty2086 wrote:
Rugby Fan wrote:
marty2086 wrote:...What they should have been doing is dragging the Italians in before the tackle was complete which turns it into a ruck...
Not for Nigel Owens. He told Brian Moore on his Telegraph Full Contact podcast that he would not rule a ruck had formed if he saw what you described.

That's in the cold light of day, the phrase that was used was dirty it up. If you have players falling everywhere and a lot going on it makes it harder to determine what is going on and if a defensive player is engaged post tackle its a ruck.

The point is though that Italy had it too easy getting away from the tackle

Owens was pretty explicit on this point, though. He's on the podcast from about the 58th minute. I'm no stenographer, but this is what he said:

"...Contact for a ruck is not touching...What you will find some teams will try and do to try and form a ruck is grab an opposition player...Their hand touching an opposition player does not constitute enough contact to form a ruck. You have to be in physical contact -- so shoulder-to-shoulder or full arm bind. Me reaching over a grabbing an opposition player who is stepping away is not enough. That's a common tactic attacking teams will try and use."

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by Scottrf on Fri 03 Mar 2017, 12:10 pm

ebop wrote:Why was it such a massive effort and delay for England to clear the ball from a massive pile of white shirts? Slow twitch brain fibres.
Go to a All Blacks board then so you can talk about skill rather than being such a boring troll here.
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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by marty2086 on Fri 03 Mar 2017, 12:15 pm

Rugby Fan wrote:
marty2086 wrote:
Rugby Fan wrote:
marty2086 wrote:...What they should have been doing is dragging the Italians in before the tackle was complete which turns it into a ruck...
Not for Nigel Owens. He told Brian Moore on his Telegraph Full Contact podcast that he would not rule a ruck had formed if he saw what you described.

That's in the cold light of day, the phrase that was used was dirty it up. If you have players falling everywhere and a lot going on it makes it harder to determine what is going on and if a defensive player is engaged post tackle its a ruck.

The point is though that Italy had it too easy getting away from the tackle

Owens was pretty explicit on this point, though. He's on the podcast from about the 58th minute. I'm no stenographer, but this is what he said:

"...Contact for a ruck is not touching...What you will find some teams will try and do to try and form a ruck is grab an opposition player...Their hand touching an opposition player does not constitute enough contact to form a ruck. You have to be in physical contact -- so shoulder-to-shoulder or full arm bind. Me reaching over a grabbing an opposition player who is stepping away is not enough. That's a common tactic attacking teams will try and use."

I understand that, that's what Im saying England were essentially grabbing shirts post tackle trying to draw players in that was the problem. They needed to making sure the tackler wasn't rolling away and that any Italian player nearby wasn't just in contact but essentially on top of the tackled player and/or the ball before a tackle was complete and when it came to Poite deciding whether it was a ruck or tackle, all evidence was pointing towards a ruck

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by marty2086 on Fri 03 Mar 2017, 12:17 pm

Scottrf wrote:
ebop wrote:Why was it such a massive effort and delay for England to clear the ball from a massive pile of white shirts? Slow twitch brain fibres.
Go to a All Blacks board then so you can talk about skill rather than being such a boring troll here.

Maybe you should go lie down if you can't see England take criticism

ebop, the problem is that some teams over prepare. If you prepare for 50 possible scenarios in a game and someone pulls out something you haven't prepared for a week or two of training goes out the window

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by Rugby Fan on Fri 03 Mar 2017, 12:18 pm

marty2086 wrote:...They needed to making sure the tackler wasn't rolling away...
Anyone rolling anywhere is off his feet. It has to be physical contact between opposition players on their feet.


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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by ebop on Fri 03 Mar 2017, 12:19 pm

Scottrf wrote:
ebop wrote:Why was it such a massive effort and delay for England to clear the ball from a massive pile of white shirts? Slow twitch brain fibres.
Go to a All Blacks board then so you can talk about skill rather than being such a boring troll here.
It's a legitimate question

Delve into it
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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by Scottrf on Fri 03 Mar 2017, 12:21 pm

ebop wrote:
Scottrf wrote:
ebop wrote:Why was it such a massive effort and delay for England to clear the ball from a massive pile of white shirts? Slow twitch brain fibres.
Go to a All Blacks board then so you can talk about skill rather than being such a boring troll here.
It's a legitimate question

Delve into it
Make a few posts that aren't England criticisms then I'll delve into the ones that are.
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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by marty2086 on Fri 03 Mar 2017, 12:26 pm

Rugby Fan wrote:
marty2086 wrote:...They needed to making sure the tackler wasn't rolling away...
Anyone rolling anywhere is off his feet. It has to be between physical contact between opposition players on their feet.

I know that but the whole point is you are blurring the line, if there are no Italian players there it makes it easy to see its not a ruck. Tacklers were rolling away, they were getting up and walking away at times and England players should have been smashing them so they couldn't get away. How many times do we see rucks called because of things like this?

Poites decisions were easy to make, Haskell was asking what he needed to see but didn't try and give him different pictures other than grabbing a shirt

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by marty2086 on Fri 03 Mar 2017, 12:27 pm

Scottrf wrote:
ebop wrote:
Scottrf wrote:
ebop wrote:Why was it such a massive effort and delay for England to clear the ball from a massive pile of white shirts? Slow twitch brain fibres.
Go to a All Blacks board then so you can talk about skill rather than being such a boring troll here.
It's a legitimate question

Delve into it
Make a few posts that aren't England criticisms then I'll delve into the ones that are.

Time of the month?

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by ebop on Fri 03 Mar 2017, 12:28 pm

marty2086 wrote:
Scottrf wrote:
ebop wrote:
Scottrf wrote:
ebop wrote:Why was it such a massive effort and delay for England to clear the ball from a massive pile of white shirts? Slow twitch brain fibres.
Go to a All Blacks board then so you can talk about skill rather than being such a boring troll here.
It's a legitimate question

Delve into it
Make a few posts that aren't England criticisms then I'll delve into the ones that are.

Time of the month?
Ouch
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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by SecretFly on Fri 03 Mar 2017, 12:30 pm

marty2086 wrote:

ebop, the problem is that some teams over prepare. If you prepare for 50 possible scenarios in a game and someone pulls out something you haven't prepared for a week or two of training goes out the window

Yes, rugby is to an extent becoming just computer programs run through 80 minutes. If you as a single player hit your individual targets of tackles or turn-overs etc etc, then we should win, because the computer simulation says it.

That's true in a sense, yes. Those targets being met by individual players can go a long way in making the predictions happen, but it can take a lot of the intuition and eyes-up alertness out of the game too. Rugby is perhaps more efficient over-all nowadays at the top level but only a few days ago I was lamenting to a degree the lack of what I regard as real emotional fire in this 6N.

England are a very good side and I'm not pinning them down so much on this because they do have some exciting players that can put the boot down and do the intuition stuff with aplomb. Indeed, I think my own side Ireland might be more guilty of the targets-being-met kind of game.

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by Hammersmith harrier on Fri 03 Mar 2017, 12:30 pm

You can't stop the tackler rolling away though.

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by marty2086 on Fri 03 Mar 2017, 12:32 pm

Hammersmith harrier wrote:You can't stop the tackler rolling away though.

Except in happens in nearly every game you watch, what you mean is you aren't supposed to but plenty still try and get away with it. That's whats meant by dirty it up, if a referee sees it they will tell you to let them go if they don't you may well draw a penalty

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by marty2086 on Fri 03 Mar 2017, 12:37 pm

SecretFly wrote:
marty2086 wrote:

ebop, the problem is that some teams over prepare. If you prepare for 50 possible scenarios in a game and someone pulls out something you haven't prepared for a week or two of training goes out the window

Yes, rugby is to an extent becoming just computer programs run through 80 minutes.  If you as a single player hit your individual targets of tackles or turn-overs etc etc, then we should win, because the computer simulation says it.

That's true in a sense, yes.  Those targets being met by individual players can go a long way in making the predictions happen, but it can take a lot of the intuition and eyes-up alertness out of the game too.  Rugby is perhaps more efficient over-all nowadays at the top level but only a few days ago I was lamenting to a degree the lack of what I regard as real emotional fire in this 6N.

England are a very good side and I'm not pinning them down so much on this because they do have some exciting players that can put the boot down and do the intuition stuff with aplomb.  Indeed, I think my own side Ireland might be more guilty of the targets-being-met kind of game.

I agree to an extent about Ireland, watching them in the last year though I think that's being used as a foundation to grow into a more heads up intuitive game because when you have structures to fall back on when that doesn't work it gives you a safety net. Theres still some development to come though from it

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by No 7&1/2 on Fri 03 Mar 2017, 12:39 pm

Yes and as previously stated Poite and every ref has got rucks and tackles wrong in the past but this time he had been informed that this was a planned tactic so was more aware.

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by Poorfour on Fri 03 Mar 2017, 1:00 pm

marty2086 wrote:
Hammersmith harrier wrote:You can't stop the tackler rolling away though.

Except in happens in nearly every game you watch, what you mean is you aren't supposed to but plenty still try and get away with it. That's whats meant by dirty it up, if a referee sees it they will tell you to let them go if they don't you may well draw a penalty

I don't think it would have worked anyway - Poite's interpretation seems to have been that it's only a ruck if an Italian player was actively engaged - i.e. if pulling them in wasn't enough, then presumably he wouldn't count players off their feet either (since they can't legally engage).

The thing to bear in mind is that Poite was briefed on and had prepared for a specific tactic and was looking out specifically for situations when it could apply. He needed to know whether the Italians could safely go offside and so was probably watching very specifically for whether they were engaged by the strict definition. As someone's pointed out above he clearly wasn't looking for it from England because there were a number of rucks where he could have called "tackle only" where England were defending, but didn't.

It all suggests to me that usual ruck tactics didn't apply, at least in one direction. If England took some time to work it out, it's in part because they had to run through a number of things they could try before having to fall back on pick and go.

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by Hammersmith harrier on Fri 03 Mar 2017, 1:03 pm

marty2086 wrote:
Hammersmith harrier wrote:You can't stop the tackler rolling away though.

Except in happens in nearly every game you watch, what you mean is you aren't supposed to but plenty still try and get away with it. That's whats meant by dirty it up, if a referee sees it they will tell you to let them go if they don't you may well draw a penalty

It does happen all the time but that's because a ruck has either been formed or there are multiple tacklers, his view from the Italian side would have been clear.

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by marty2086 on Fri 03 Mar 2017, 1:13 pm

Hammersmith harrier wrote:
marty2086 wrote:
Hammersmith harrier wrote:You can't stop the tackler rolling away though.

Except in happens in nearly every game you watch, what you mean is you aren't supposed to but plenty still try and get away with it. That's whats meant by dirty it up, if a referee sees it they will tell you to let them go if they don't you may well draw a penalty

It does happen all the time but that's because a ruck has either been formed or there are multiple tacklers, his view from the Italian side would have been clear.

No it happens because the lines have been blurred, plenty of times tacklers CAN'T roll away or get clear and aren't punished because they are being held in

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by Scottrf on Fri 03 Mar 2017, 1:14 pm

That was his point. You can spot holding if there aren't other bodies.
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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by No 7&1/2 on Fri 03 Mar 2017, 1:19 pm

A ruck has nothing to do with tacklers rolling away.

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by Scottrf on Fri 03 Mar 2017, 1:25 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:A ruck has nothing to do with tacklers rolling away.
Of course it does.
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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by marty2086 on Fri 03 Mar 2017, 1:26 pm

Scottrf wrote:That was his point. You can spot holding if there aren't other bodies.

And what happens then? The referee tells you to let go and you get what you would have got anyway but if they miss it you get the ruck you played for

As Ive said you try and fail so be it but that's better than not trying, its about giving the ref something to think about

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by Scottrf on Fri 03 Mar 2017, 1:27 pm

marty2086 wrote:
Scottrf wrote:That was his point. You can spot holding if there aren't other bodies.

And what happens then? The referee tells you to let go and you get what you would have got anyway but if they miss it you get the ruck you played for

As Ive said you try and fail so be it but that's better than not trying, its about giving the ref something to think about
100% you push it as far as you can. But with nobody else around it's probably not going to be effective.


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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by marty2086 on Fri 03 Mar 2017, 1:28 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:A ruck has nothing to do with tacklers rolling away.

I never said it does, its about making it harder for a referee to say its just a tackle. Holding an opposition players shirt isn't a ruck but Haskell still tried it, after that England basically said we don't know what else to do we'll have to wait for Eddie to tell us

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by No 7&1/2 on Fri 03 Mar 2017, 1:34 pm

Go on then Scott you'll have to explain that.

How does stopping players rolling affect a ruck call then marty?

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by Scottrf on Fri 03 Mar 2017, 1:36 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Go on then Scott you'll have to explain that.

How does stopping players rolling affect a ruck call then marty?
I don't see what there is to explain. Contact after a tackle forms a ruck, tackler not rolling away affects the ball presentation from that ruck.
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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by marty2086 on Fri 03 Mar 2017, 1:37 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Go on then Scott you'll have to explain that.

How does stopping players rolling affect a ruck call then marty?

How does holding an opposition players shirt create a ruck?

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by marty2086 on Fri 03 Mar 2017, 1:38 pm

Scottrf wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Go on then Scott you'll have to explain that.

How does stopping players rolling affect a ruck call then marty?
I don't see what there is to explain. Contact after a tackle forms a ruck, tackler not rolling away affects the ball presentation from that ruck.

A player has to make it to his feet first but if he makes it to his feet and ends up back on top of the tackled player you create the allusion at least of a ruck or they end up on top of the ball and you get a penalty

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by No 7&1/2 on Fri 03 Mar 2017, 1:49 pm

Yes if a tackler doesn't roll away and blocks the ball it's penalty but holding players in doesn't help create a ruck.

The holding of a shirt isn't a ruck according to Poite and a few other refs. And is if you listen to a few more ex pros.

So after all this England should have basically given up on trying to create rucks sooner and tried to con the ref.

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by Scottrf on Fri 03 Mar 2017, 1:51 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Yes if a tackler doesn't roll away and blocks the ball it's penalty but holding players in doesn't help create a ruck.

The holding of a shirt isn't a ruck according to Poite and a few other refs. And is if you listen to a few more ex pros.

So after all this England should have basically given up on trying to create rucks sooner and tried to con the ref.
It's clear that it's difficult to accurately judge a ruck during the flow of the game. So yes, perhaps they should.
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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by marty2086 on Fri 03 Mar 2017, 1:53 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Yes if a tackler doesn't roll away and blocks the ball it's penalty but holding players in doesn't help create a ruck.

The holding of a shirt isn't a ruck according to Poite and a few other refs. And is if you listen to a few more ex pros.

So after all this England should have basically given up on trying to create rucks sooner and tried to con the ref.

That's what happens every game, the number of penalties given for players being held in is ridiculous and England have done it as well as anyone in recent times so why not against Italy?


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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by No 7&1/2 on Fri 03 Mar 2017, 1:56 pm

And I'd get that thinking after this game Scott . Shows that it was clearly a mine field for the players to go through, and come through it they did. Must be a nightmare for refs. Will be interesting to see how defences use this in the remaining 6Ns games.

Sorry marty thought the discussion was around creating rucks and combating this not buying penalties. As you say every team will try things like this when they can it's not something you can do every tackle and not a sure fire way around this tactic.

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by marty2086 on Fri 03 Mar 2017, 2:01 pm

No as stated numerous times its about given refs something to think about, a ruck is not always a ruck but is still considered a ruck so you got to make it look like a ruck rather than be a ruck Shocked

Run

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by No 7&1/2 on Fri 03 Mar 2017, 2:12 pm

And again in a normal game refs have made that mistake. In this instance Poite had been informed it was going to be a sustained tactic had even given advice and was.payong more attention than perhaps he would normally.

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by Gooseberry on Fri 03 Mar 2017, 2:21 pm

marty2086 wrote:No as stated numerous times its about given refs something to think about, a ruck is not always a ruck but is still considered a ruck so you got to make it look like a ruck rather than be a ruck Shocked

Run

Translating that to English ...

Yes usually you would be right. Refs rarely apply the laws strictly and play usually consists of a series of bodies which both teams happily accept to be a ruck and refs imagine theres an offside line.

Thats part of what bamboozled England so much, sudenly there was a referee applying a laws and unpublished rules differently to how they usually would, to enable the opposition to use a struictly legal but not what the laws intended tactic. One side knew how it would be reffed but not the other. In that context its not massively surprising that England got confused and narked, especially as there was occassions in the game where the usual "yeah that looks like a ruck it will do" was applied.

Add to that inconsitency over grabbing players in. Its not defined in the laws. Super Rugby, whilst Haskell was there, used interpretation to allow it to form a ruck during the period teams were trying out a similar tactic to Italys. So again, Haskells questioning of why his attempts to form rucks werent working was understandable.

Unlike Italy England hadnt questioned the referee in detail on this point ahead of the game. And its just as well for Italy they had done, otherwise what they had spent the previous two weeks drilling (hitting the scrum half directly) wouldve been met with penalties thanks to another rule that isnt in the published laws.

All in this has opened up a can of worms around the ruck/tackle that needs some clear guidance from world rugby. Hopefuly this will happen before the next round of games. Whether your England, Italy or a referree it helps if you all are playing the game to the same laws and standards and dont have to ask mid way through which version youre playing.

The one thing players and coaches alywas ask for is consistncey.


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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by Rory_Gallagher on Fri 03 Mar 2017, 2:38 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:And again in a normal game refs have made that mistake. In this instance Poite had been informed it was going to be a sustained tactic had even given advice and was.payong more attention than perhaps he would normally.

Source? I know that O'Shea discussed the rules regarding the ruck area with Poite, but I highly doubt he divulged his tactical decisions for the game.

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by No 7&1/2 on Fri 03 Mar 2017, 2:39 pm

Ok. Happy to just say Poite was consulted that they were going to employ so was on guard to look closely at it.

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by Poorfour on Fri 03 Mar 2017, 3:33 pm

Rory_Gallagher wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:And again in a normal game refs have made that mistake. In this instance Poite had been informed it was going to be a sustained tactic had even given advice and was.payong more attention than perhaps he would normally.

Source? I know that O'Shea discussed the rules regarding the ruck area with Poite, but I highly doubt he divulged his tactical decisions for the game.

they discussed it enough that Poite was reported as having said they couldn't sack the scrum half and as a result developed the stand around waving your arms approach. Source: Guardian.

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by nlpnlp on Sat 04 Mar 2017, 11:48 pm

Does it really matter what Italy and the ref agreed? What is important was how poor England reacted to this. Hartley was clearly completely bemused by it and when you have to rely on Haskell to provide some intelligent thought, then you know you are in trouble. At least Hughes had the rugby sense to work out what to do - pick up and go straight through the middle. It has to be a real question mark against England though - big, strong, brave but little between the ears, that is where New Zealand will always beat us.

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by No 7&1/2 on Sun 05 Mar 2017, 7:25 am

Yes it matters as Poite s view of the tactics and interpretation of the law affects how a team can respond.

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by Poorfour on Sun 05 Mar 2017, 7:34 am

Yes, it matters, because it led - as has been discussed at length above - to a very different approach to refereeing what is and is not a ruck than we have seen before. The remedies that have worked in other games - eg pulling people into the ruck - were tried and not accepted, so England had to try something else. The point is that part of their seemingly slow response was needing to work out what was and wasn't required.

England were still arguably slower to respond than they should have been, but a lot of the apparent delay was trying to find out what they could do to restore the normal offside line and play the game plan they had prepared for. When it became apparent that that wouldn't be possible, they switched to pick and go and it worked well. They perhaps spent too long trying to work out how to get an offside line, but it's not as if they were just standing around scratching their heads.

As more details emerge, England emerge with a little more credit and all the people saying "oh we would have worked it out immediately" look a bit misguided. Polite had been briefed, had thought it through like the highly technical ref he is and had concluded that he needed to apply a far stricter definition of what constitutes a ruck to accommodate this tactic. That takes time to understand, especially as he appeared to be refereeing English rucks much more conventionally.

Poorfour

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

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