I was once asked to produce a handout of signals so that people could understand exactly what was going on when a referee makes a decision. With our resident referee George Clancy in camp for the next fifty days or so I stumbled across this on a tweet by Nigel Owens earlier this evening and thought I should share it.
Well wales online have managed to do what I didn’t, churning out a set of explanations from referee Nigel Owens:
Here they are and you can save a link to this page to study if you are the geeky type or you can save the link on your phone for a quick peek whenever you get stuck or just want to show off your vast knowledge of the game to lesser mortals standing alongside you against the railing 🙂
The signals in full
HOLDING ONTO THE BALL
When you’re tackled, and go to ground, you must do three or four things with the ball. You can either release it immediately, you can place it in any direction, or you can pass it off the floor, or roll it back. But if you hold on which slows play down, that’s a penalty.
OFF YOUR FEET
In rugby the game is played on your feet. If you go off your feet deliberately, in the contact area for example, then it’s a penalty.
If a referee suspects a player has become concussed, and would like him to get checked, then he calls the medic with a head check signal.
NECK ROLL/NECK GRAB
This is something quite new that has been creeping into the game. It’s dangerous play where players grab an opponent by the neck in a maul or contact area to take them out, or grab them round the neck to twist them out of the contact area. This should not be happening because it’s very dangerous play.
So that’s classed as a high tackle, dangerous. That is to be penalised and clamped down upon.
This neck roll/neck grab has pretty much replaced what used to be known as the spear tackle.
This is awarded for an infringement which is deemed to be not as deliberate as a penalty offence.
That would be, for example, if a scrum-half feeds the ball not straight at the scrum… although a lot of people would say that’s deliberate.
The hooker having his foot up before the ball comes into the scrum is another free kick.
BALL NOT STRAIGHT IN LINEOUT
The ball must be thrown down the middle, which we call straight. If it’s thrown down to one side more than the other, which makes it an unfair contest, then it’s not straight. Scrum or lineout to the opposition, their captain’s call.
A penalty is awarded for a deliberate infringement, ie something other than a knock-on, forward pass or an accidental offside.
HANDS IN RUCK
Players must be on their feet in the ruck. They can only use their feet to ruck the ball back, so any player who uses his hands after the ruck is formed will be penalised.
There are different offside lines in the game. You have an offside at the ruck and maul, which is the hind-most foot and that line goes right across the width of the field.
At lineouts, the offside line for players not in the lineout is 10m back, and from scrums it’s five metres back from the feet of the number eight. If anybody encroaches those offisde lines, then they get penalised.
TACKLER NOT ROLLING AWAY
Once you are tackled, the ball carrier must place the ball and make an attempt to roll away. The tackler must release the ball carrier and then roll away from that area if possible, too.
PULLING DOWN THE SCRUM
The front row must bind straight and drive square. They must not drive lower than the hips, or push the scrum up. If you pull the scrum down, you get penalised.
TELEVISION MATCH OFFICIAL
When we go to the TMO, which is quite often these days, it’ll be a TV signal. And as TVs are square at the moment, the signal is square.
ASSIST TACKLER NOT RELEASING
These days, you often see two people tackle the ball carrier. Once the ball carrier has gone to ground, the player who remains on his feet and is still in contact with him must release him before regathering the ball. if he doesn’t, then we call that assist tackler not releasing and that’s a penalty offence.
You must make an attempt to tackle the opponent below the line of the shoulder and neck. If you don’t, it’s a high tackle.
GOING IN FROM THE SIDE
When you enter a tackle at a ruck or maul, you must enter form behind the hind-most foot of your own players in that phase of play. If you enter in front, that’s regarded as side entry and will be penalised.
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