Clip 5 – 3 July 2018 - Law 16

The Brumbies have the ball and are going right. Kyle Godwin, the Brumbies' centre, charges but is held. He does not get far, and Isi Naisarani, the Brumbies' No.8, goes into aid him. It is a maul.

Naisarani takes the ball from Godwin and moves to his right where three Hurricanes, Jordie Barrett, Jeff To'omaga-Allen and Toby Smith grab him. David Pocock of the Brumbies pushes in on Naisarani and others of both sides join in.

They are all on their feet and the referee calls: "Maul". He calls maul because it is a maul. Naisarani forces his way to ground and the maul collapses.

The referee awards a scrum to the Hurricanes. David Pocock queries this, as he often does - as he is not entitled to do but then rugby is, it seems, marching towards soccer.

Law 16.17 A maul ends unsuccessfully when:

  • The ball becomes unplayable.
  • The maul collapses (not as a result of foul play).

This maul ended unsuccessfully.

Law 19.1 A scrum is awarded to:

  • The team not in possession at the start of the maul.

This correct when it comes to the award is a scrum. It is a maul and a maul stays a maul until it ends, successfully or unsuccessfully. It does not become a tackle.

The way the scrum was awarded was correct.

And yet....

Look again at the law.

Law 16.17 A maul ends unsuccessfully when:

  • The maul collapses (not as a result of foul play)

Law 9 deals with foul play.

Law 9.20 Dangerous play in a ruck or maul

  • A player must not intentionally collapse a ruck or a maul.

By trying to force his body down, Naisarani could be causing the maul to collapse. This is foul play.

Naisarani could well have been penalised.

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