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To pull down, or not to pull down, that is the question.

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tigertattie
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LondonTiger
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Post by LondonTiger Mon 14 Mar 2016, 11:04 am

It seems to have almost become normal to see mauls pulled down in sight of the tryline, even when on a team warning. Events in the last two weeks have shown just how expensive a decision this can be. Events came to a head when Dan Cole, one of 3 or 4 England players who could have been penalised, was binned for just such an offence. In hindsight it can be seen just how expensive this decision was with Wales getting the try anyway at the next lineout, quickly getting a second and then pushing for the win against a desperate and short handed defence.

It was not the first such occurrence this weekend. Friday night, with Quins leading by 35-6, Sam Twomey was binned for dropping a Bath maul. Again from the very next lineout Bath scored the try anyway, and proceeded to get two more before the YC period was over. Suddenly they were right back in the game and Quins were holding on for dear life.

If anyone thinks I am picking on Quins, just 5 days earlier Tigers were winning 31-6 when Dom Barrow was the culprit and very quickly Exeter had 2 tries and again were right back in the game. (in the same game Parling was binned and a penalty try given, with Tigers the getting their second try very soon after).


That is 4 incidents in less than a week with players binned for pulling down mauls and ultimately costing their teams 2/3 tries and all momentum shifted to the opponents. As I suggested at the start, it seems to be the accepted tactic to pull down the maul rather than concede the try. However, especially in situations as England, Quins and Tigers were in with large leads, is it better to concede the try and regroup with all 15 men still on the pitch?

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Post by formerly known as Sam Mon 14 Mar 2016, 11:38 am

I guess this shows that the laws are working in making cynical attempts at stopping tries harshly punished. It is better not to infringe and keep 15 men on the pitch, the maul can be a bit of a lottery though so I think players push their luck there as you can sometimes get away with bending the rules, see Charterus swimming up the side on an English maul earlier in the second half. Brilliant if you can get away with it, derided if not.

Cole I felt was a touch unlucky as it looked to me as momentum from the second surge whilst the front was peeling round caused the maul to go down. Then again I doubt he did anything to try and keep it up. Back to the point on the maul being a bit of a free for all I suppose.

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Post by tigertattie Mon 14 Mar 2016, 12:43 pm

Pulling down a maul is a bit of an odd one as often you may pull it down without meaning to! Its very easy to lose you footing and fall over among all those legs and feet going everywhere!

Some physics geek will be able to tell you the maths behind it, but once a maul gets going, it's very hard to stop. The best way (imo) of defending the maul is to stop it from getting started! Either by standing off (which means it doesn't become a maul) or you have one man (also means its not a maul) bringing the ball carrier down.
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Post by Hazel Sapling Mon 14 Mar 2016, 2:07 pm

tigertattie wrote:Pulling down a maul is a bit of an odd one as often you may pull it down without meaning to! Its very easy to lose you footing and fall over among all those legs and feet going everywhere!

Some physics geek will be able to tell you the maths behind it, but once a maul gets going, it's very hard to stop. The best way (imo) of defending the maul is to stop it from getting started! Either by standing off (which means it doesn't become a maul) or you have one man (also means its not a maul) bringing the ball carrier down.

Close to the line it is a tough option. Would have to leave 2 men right behind the try line to stop the second row from stretching out for it. I would say going into the air at the front/middle and force them to hit a tough one. Collapse as he lands tends to do well. Both if you can.

Mauls need to be more tightly reffed about the attacking body position. Refs were hot on changing lanes not too long ago and it seems to have stopped being called very soon after.

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Post by yappysnap Mon 14 Mar 2016, 2:31 pm

At the moment as long as the attacker is organised a 5m lineout will nearly always produce a try and/or yellow card.

It's only really inaccuracy by the mauling side that stops it.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon 14 Mar 2016, 3:00 pm

Play it straight and let them walk over unopposed rather than go down to 10 men, especially in the last 10 min! Question for poeple in general, the old choke tackle; why are they allowed to be collapsed without sanction? Is it because most of the time there the player with the ball is the one being directly held by the opposition so in all intents a tackle?

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Post by LondonTiger Mon 14 Mar 2016, 3:36 pm

Down to 10 men!!!!

It annoys me hugely that the Ref calls maul and it immediately collapses and no punishment meted. Have to say though I was pleased to see the ref between Leicester and Exeter call maul as Tigers tried to execute a choke tackle and rather pointedly seemed to tell Ed Slater not to collapse it.

I do agree with Sam that there are times where a maul just seems to collapse under it's own momentum. Right now the officiating of mauls is far too much in the favour of the attacking team.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon 14 Mar 2016, 3:39 pm

For petes sake! I've got my mind too mcuh on football after our manager walked out!

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Post by king_carlos Mon 14 Mar 2016, 7:31 pm

One measure that could be taken to make setting the maul slightly more difficult is outlawing a forward standing in the scrum-half spot from stripping the ball. A few years back the ball would be taken from jumper by another forward from the line-out who swept around. Now a forward stands at 9 so that there is near no movement needed to get a player in position to gather the ball from his jumper and get to the rear of the maul at which point it is 'set' and damn near impossible to legally stop.

This practice also means that a full maul can be set with fewer men in the line-out and provides a man advantage to the attacking side at the outset of the maul.

It would only be a small measure but would start shifting the balance a little bit.

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