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opti
Optimist (IP Logged)

old school rucking
18 September, 2018 09:56
I frequently read rugby writers saying 'we can't go back to old school rucking'. Why not? If you're a player what would you prefer in old age, a battle-scar that gradually reveals itself as your hairline recedes, or ops to your knees and shoulders to keep them functioning?

And, as long as the law regarding dangerous use of the boot is applied, with modern camera angles (albeit only at pro level), players would be wise to ensure their studs are only used in the right places.

I can't really fathom what all the consequences would be - intended or otherwise - but i'm damm sure that i'd rather have someone walk on top of me than blindside me from a 15-metre run-up.

Also regarding the breakdown, it's another of rugby's weird anomalies of non-applied laws - but the length of time that players are actually allowed to handle the ball whilst lying on the floor these days is mad. You even see players effectively offloading or popping the ball long after they have gone to ground and are in the process of laying the ball up. What would happen if the tackled player could actually do no more than place the ball and withdraw their hands the minute their knees hit the ground? I guess the breakdown would just become very messy - but would it encourage a bit more counter-rucking and keep more forwards engaged in the breakdown area?

 
gaz59
gaz59 (IP Logged)

Re: old school rucking
18 September, 2018 10:20
Why would you want to increase the risk of a boot, accidental or 'accidental' to the head?

I agree entirely about the need to make the breakdown far safer and competitive but it can't be at the consequence of increasing risk elsewhere

 
opti
Optimist (IP Logged)

Re: old school rucking
18 September, 2018 11:21
Because a/ a cut is a much less serious injury, and b/ even in the old days there weren't actually that many injuries when it came down to it, and so you have to assume that, especially with tv scrutiny and post-match citing, that players are perfectly capable of avoiding heads if they actually want to. Players used to use their hands/arms to protect their head in the days when it was actually, rather than notionally, a law that you had to let go of the ball on the ground.

 
DanWiley
DanWiley (IP Logged)

Re: old school rucking
18 September, 2018 11:35
I guess the problem, aside from the injury risk, is that rucking makes the player doing the rucking the judge and not ref. That doesn't seem in line with the spirit of the game even if it is traditional.

It doesn't seem like a very good way of solving the problem, I can't imagine anyone introducing it to a sport: "We've got a problem, players are lingering in illegal positions at the breakdown and getting in the way, do we let the ref ping them or let the players rake them with their boots?"

 
dr.bath1865
dr.bath1865 (IP Logged)

Re: old school rucking
18 September, 2018 11:35
Does anyone else think - or am I either a) ignorant and missing something or b )in the minority - that the breakdown is actually in pretty good shape at the moment?

Firstly, player safety must be paramount and put above all else. So rules must be introduced to protect the head and neck at the breakdown, as we can't have the sort of clearouts that Reed inflicted on Louw at the weekend and, of course, the likes of Warburton retiring at age 29 is awful and the risk of this needs to be minimised and put above the need for entertainment.

But, for me, in spite of the elements of danger that are prevalent (and I realise that might invalidate my argument) the breakdown this season feels like a good contest that's well refereed and is leading to a game, especially in the first 3 rounds, that is giving lots of ball in play time and opportunities for all sorts of attack and tries to be scored. It still leaves room for a turnover when a ball carrier is isolated, as we saw when H Thomas and C Robshaw got over the ball at the weekend.

It might be just a relative measure/feeling - but compared to the situation a season or two ago, when no one knew what the hell was going on and it was a complete mess, there seem to be clear directives that both attackers and defenders/jackalers are adhering to and, as a result, referees are governing this murky area of the game pretty well.

Obviously, safety needs to be considered above all else, especially entertainment. But as a spectacle, I feel the game, as a result of a well reffed breakdown, looks pretty good. Of course, this might all change on slower, heavier pitches come November.

 
opti
Optimist (IP Logged)

Re: old school rucking
18 September, 2018 12:02
I think you're right in some ways dr b - in terms of continuity and 'contestability'. I'd much rather illegal clear-outs were properly policed and punished than a radical overhaul or reversion.

As for Dan's point - I'm not going to look it up, but i'm pretty sure the definition of rucking was simply using the foot to move the ball backwards to the back of the ruck; contact with any part of the body was never permitted as such, though it was unavoidable to a degree. What tended to happen when somebody lay on the ball was actually 'stamping' or 'raking' neither of which was ever legal, albeit it often went overlooked when the person on the floor was, effectively, the team's self-appointed ball-killer, who tended to wear the rake-marks as a badge of honour.

 
P G Tips
P G Tips (IP Logged)

Re: old school rucking
18 September, 2018 12:28
I agree with Opti and actually believe risk of injury would reduce if rucking were restored.

Why do I think that?

1. Injuries -particularly concussions and neck/shoulder injuries have steadily risen since the introduction of the modern breakdown with hands in the ruck
2. Players retiring through injury like Sam Warburton are on the increase.
3. Warburton himself has called for "protection' of the jackal. Jackalling puts the body in an unnatural position, bent like a hair grip over the ball- with head, neck and shoulders exposed to a charging clearout that the jackaller often does not see
4. Modern rucks cut down space so increasing number of contacts per game -usually upright collisions with increased risk of head on head clash
5. There is now minimal offside line and spacing between attack & defence: result? More upright collisions and head on heads
6. Current riffing of the ruck does not insist on players staying on their feet. So to shift the jackal opponents fly in with shoulders at other shoulders (neck & heads) or use neck rolls, instead of applying superior technique and force to drive the opponent off the ball.

To make rucking safe requires players to step over and drive over prone bodies and for refs to be vigilant in penalising stamping. Harsh penalties for stamps & especially for any stamp on an opponent's head (e.g 3 months first offence, 6 months second offence, lifetime thereafter) should deter deliberate stamping.



P G Tips



Alex Davies: my adopted Player, 2018-19.

 
DanWiley
DanWiley (IP Logged)

Re: old school rucking
18 September, 2018 14:34
You ARE able to use your foot to move the ball (safely) at the ruck:

15.14 Players may play the ball with their feet, provided they do so in a safe manner.

if that's what we're talking about then fine, but rucking to me means playing the player with your feet.

 
Bammer II
Bammer II (IP Logged)

Re: old school rucking
18 September, 2018 14:43
If you listen to this week’s Ruck podcast, Barnesy makes a very similar point to Optimist’s original post. Suggests re-introducing at junior levels and letting it filter up, in parallel outlawing “jacking”.

 
MESSAGES->author
hasta (IP Logged)

Re: old school rucking
18 September, 2018 15:01
Rucking is about moving players out of the way with your feet. Refs have been pretty hot on making players roll away or penalising it, so I struggle to see what benefit bringing it back would provide. Illegal neck rolls and diving into rucks off feet seems a much bigger problem.

 
opti
Optimist (IP Logged)

Re: old school rucking
18 September, 2018 15:24
I tend to agree with your latter point hasta. As ever with rugby union's 'problems' the solution exists within the current laws. It seems like referees/lawmakers are terrified of games turning into 10 vs 11 if they actually apply all the laws. But it would only take a couple of weeks of vigorous application of those existing laws for players and coaches to work out that it's better to keep all your players on the pitch.

 
P G Tips
P G Tips (IP Logged)

Re: old school rucking
18 September, 2018 15:50
I'm sorry but rucking is not about moving players with the feet- although I accept it came to mean that in the game at times.

The World Rugby Laws (the words that matter when discussing referee matters) say:

"Law 16 Ruck

DEFINITIONS
A ruck is a phase of play where one or more players from each team, who are on their feet, in physical contact, close around the ball on the ground. Open play has ended.
Players are rucking when they are in a ruck and using their feet to try to win or keep possession of the ball, without being guilty of foul play.

(f) A player rucking for the ball must not intentionally ruck players on the ground. A player rucking for the ball must try to step over players on the ground and must not intentionally step on them. "

That's all pretty clear. Properly applied the laws provide for ball to be won without contact with prone players, especially as:


(d) Players on the ground in or near the ruck must try to move away from the ball. These players must not interfere with the ball in the ruck or as it comes out of the ruck.



P G Tips



Alex Davies: my adopted Player, 2018-19.

 
DanWiley
DanWiley (IP Logged)

Re: old school rucking
18 September, 2018 16:01
I think there's a difference between "the ruck" and "rucking".

I'm not sure I follow what opti is asking for when he says "why not bring back old school rucking.", "I'd rather have someone walk on my back..." if he means "I'd like to bring back moving the ball backwards with your feet" which, as I've said, is legal now anyway.

So, going back to the OP, what was it that you wanted to bring back? It's clearly not moving the ball with feet or the definition of the ruck above as they are both currently the case.

 
opti
Optimist (IP Logged)

Re: old school rucking
18 September, 2018 16:13
Honestly, nothing specific or fully-formed, Dan. The post was prompted by reading this piece by Robert Kitson and concluding that his 'black' card ideas was one of the worst ideas i'd heard. Rather than rubbishing it, I was just wondering aloud if there were other solutions. I was also struck by the regularity with which people say, 'we can't go back to old style rucking' and whether that's actually true.

My only desire is to not have to watch players being treated like a Subutteo piece flicked in the head by a giant thumb.

 
DanWiley
DanWiley (IP Logged)

Re: old school rucking
18 September, 2018 16:34
I don't think that the black card is the worst idea I've ever heard, I don't want it though and I don't think it solves any problem.

"And what are you supposed to do as a 6ft 7in forward if a smaller player ducks into your intended legal tackle?"

Leave a margin? I don't buy they can't get down that low. If that's the case then how do you scrummage, how do you ruck? It's not about reactions either, you only need to react if you're playing near that boundary.

It probably is harder work for a taller player to get down, but then it is harder for a lighter/shorter player in pretty much all forms of contact. If going lower nudges things slight back in the other direction I don't see it as a huge problem

 
MESSAGES->author
hasta (IP Logged)

Re: old school rucking
18 September, 2018 16:41
I understand the point that red cards substantially impact games. I think the point players are missing is that they are by FAR the most effective way to change coach and player behaviour. Look at how challenging for the ball in the air or tip tackles have almost totally left the game. The authorities want to do (or at minimum be seen to do) as much as they can to lower tackle height. The red card is their best tool.

 
Substitute
Substitute (IP Logged)

Re: old school rucking
18 September, 2018 21:43
I'm not sure what the changes at the ruck were targetted to achieve. Statistically, the ruck was (and probably still is) much 'safer' than the tackle. I suspect being at the 'bottom' of a ruck is even safer.

All they have done is unintentionally shift the risk to the player first on the ball. The clearance of the opposition is not the greatest risk of injury I suspect.

When I was younger the ruck was conceived differently - almost as a scrum above the tackled player. For whatever reason, the 'jackal' became a key technique - which when you think about it is an exercise in showing the opposition is holding on.

The clearout of the Jackal is the risk. I'd much prefer if we raised the ruck higher - which means using the feet rather than the hands.

 
MESSAGES->author
JimDaff (IP Logged)

Re: old school rucking
19 September, 2018 07:06
Surely the solution is that as soon as a player goes to ground they have to realease the ball, that would negate the need to protect the jackler as they won’t be having a battle with the tackled player to wrestle the ball from them. If they can win the ball quickly they won’t be as exposed in a dangerous position to counter ruckers flying in to dislodge them from the ball.

 
opti
Optimist (IP Logged)

Re: old school rucking
19 September, 2018 08:38
I was trying to think that one through as well Jim. Looking at videos of rugby 20 years or so ago, you see the tackled player letting the ball go, and quite often a whole load of chaos ensues because the ball is juggling around on the floor with 4-5 people flying in diving on it, kicking it etc. With the increased physical commitment of every player on the pitch these days (it's their job, so yo don't get too many old school backs who just didn't bother with mucky stuff like diving on a loose ball) you'd just be letting loose a whole new load of close-quarter collisions.

I think you would have to allow the tackled player to keep the ball under some sort of control (though I don't like the fact that, these days, the tackled player is almost essenjtially lying on the ground with the ball in two hands until the scrum-half takes it away).

As others say, the way the breakdown is now, is probably okay. It's just zero tolerance of going off feet and lowering the point of any acceptable contact.

 
redmix
redmix (IP Logged)

Re: old school rucking
19 September, 2018 09:42
The laws need to change to speed the ball up at a tackle and the ensuing ruck and to provide a greater degree of player safety, for me there are a few things that would achieve this.
1. no one apart from the ball carrier and the defender(s) who tackled him are allowed on the floor.
2. no hands on the ball
3. turnover only if you can drive past the ball on your feet, and/or play the ball back with your feet.

Point 1, is actually in law already just rarely enforced
Point 2 needs a law chnage
Point 3 is the consequence, but may need a law change to penalise players who deliberately collapse a ruck (similar to the maul law)

 
P G Tips
P G Tips (IP Logged)

Re: old school rucking
19 September, 2018 10:45
Excellent redmix!

Close to old style rucking - but concentrating on it's virtues and attempting to eliminate it's faults.

PG



P G Tips



Alex Davies: my adopted Player, 2018-19.

 
DanWiley
DanWiley (IP Logged)

Re: old school rucking
19 September, 2018 15:52
So, by old school rucking is that what we mean? All hands off the ball as soon as a ruck forms? if so I quite agree.

Tackler can "hold" the ball steady after the tackle, but cannot at all prevent someone else from claiming it. If the first player arriving can claim it, fine. If someone binds onto him as he attempts to do so, its a ruck and hands off. There's a little window there where things get a bit tricky. I've got my hands on the ball, but not "claimed" it and the ruck form then what do I do? Drop it and knock on? But if no one is stopping me claiming the ball should be pretty instantaneous.

 
Trawling
Trawling (IP Logged)

Re: old school rucking
20 September, 2018 19:27
That's pretty much what the law says now. First person on their feet from their side over the ball can use their hands (and creates a proper offside line thanks to Mr O'Shea) anyone else arriving and the ball not lifted cleanly "ruck - hands off". Refereeing junior games I tell the players I will not treat a ball which is released as a knock-on.I would like to think that most refs would see it the same way.

Continuity vs the need for a fair contest for the ball like a lot of these discussions.

 
DanWiley
DanWiley (IP Logged)

Re: old school rucking
20 September, 2018 20:11
It's that first player that kills the ball though. The tackled player holds on too long and the first player arriving then slows it down further.

 
gaz59
gaz59 (IP Logged)

Re: old school rucking
21 September, 2018 06:48
Quote:
DanWiley
So, by old school rucking is that what we mean? All hands off the ball as soon as a ruck forms? if so I quite agree.
Tackler can "hold" the ball steady after the tackle, but cannot at all prevent someone else from claiming it. If the first player arriving can claim it, fine. If someone binds onto him as he attempts to do so, its a ruck and hands off. There's a little window there where things get a bit tricky. I've got my hands on the ball, but not "claimed" it and the ruck form then what do I do? Drop it and knock on? But if no one is stopping me claiming the ball should be pretty instantaneous.

Surely if the tackler is back on feet and legitimately has hands on ball but cannot "claim" it before ruck is formed then it has to be because tackled player is preventing release?

 
DanWiley
DanWiley (IP Logged)

Re: old school rucking
21 September, 2018 08:52
I agree, in theory it's black and white, in practise I suspect it isn't. I guess it could just be clarified, right now players DO stop defenders from claiming the ball and don't get pinged for it. Why? I guess it makes the the ruck a race to get your hands on the ball and a bit of a lottery. Becoming even slightly isolated would be deadly, would that reduce expansive play?

Suppose a player uses their gas to exploit some apparent space, they make yards, but get tackled and the next nearest player by a couple o metres is a defender its turnover time. The supporting defender just has to get their hands on the ball and its a turn over, even if a supporting attacker is there in time to force a ruck, it's still likely defenders ball.

If the defender has to release the ball if a ruck has formed then the supporting attacker only needs to be close enough to form the ruck quickly to have a good chance of retaining the ball. If they aren't even that close then the turn over seems fair.

I think the problem is it is all very fine margins time wise.

 
redmix
redmix (IP Logged)

Re: old school rucking
21 September, 2018 16:07
When I said no hands on the ball, I meant just that. Not the first player to arrive or anyone else. However, I now realise this creates a problem. How do you "pick and go" if you can't put your hands on the ball at the tackle. Perhaps the ball carrier can pop the ball up off the floor?

My suggestions would massively favour the attacking team (but I'm not against that, promotes positive play).

Perhaps the defence can only go for the ball if they drive past the ball?

It's not as straightforward as I first thought!

 
B4thB4ck
B4thB4ck (IP Logged)

Re: old school rucking
22 September, 2018 10:51
I think whatever changes are made to the laws the key in something like this is evolution rather than revolution, so maybe a return to old style rucks would be too difficult.

Getting back to the early posts, most were related to injury avoidance which has to be the priority over game flow.

I don't like the sideways judo throws and I don't like the shoulder charging hits by joining players against static players. Remove those and that would help.

 
Trawling
Trawling (IP Logged)

Re: old school rucking
22 September, 2018 18:14
The creative answer may be that the first player HAS to play the ball. Half the time that player will be an attacking player. Stop the bridging to allow time for the 9 to arrive. That slows the game just as much as attempts to win ball.

Most of all ping players for going off their feet - make it a free kick if necessary to encourage refs to give it. Penalty if it's also dangerous.

And PLEASE, Sir ref the angle of arrival - unlike today's game where people flew in pretty much 360°.

 
B4thB4ck
B4thB4ck (IP Logged)

Re: old school rucking
24 September, 2018 16:17
If modern rucks are spoiling the game I guess watching other sports could be tempting..... or maybe not!! :-

[www.bbc.co.uk]

 
MESSAGES->author
shipwrecked (IP Logged)

Re: old school rucking
24 September, 2018 16:52
What was he thinking, the ref had his back to him and running away. That is just pure unadulterated cheating. He should get a 3 match ban!!



Darren Atkins Age 21 years, Fullback, 6 ft 1 in, 13 st 4 lbs. Chance to shine in 18/19 with AW's injury!

https://i.ibb.co/sbQsmcr/darren-atkins-5.jpg


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