Wheeling the scrum

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Wheeling the scrum

Postby leinsterforever » July 24th, 2016, 12:25 am

Something troubles me about the current refereeing approach to wheeling at the scrum. It's a bit hard to articulate, but something just doesn't seem right.

Formerly, around, say, 2000, there were loads of turnovers for scrums going through 90 degrees. Now, you might only see something like one a season. As things stand at the moment, if the team in possession stays level on the th side and goes forward enough on the loosehead side, the interpretation that the th side has to not go backwards during a wheel means that the defending team will be penalised for illegal wheeling. The current interpretation is illogical because there are different sets of rules for the team in possession and the defending side. The only way there'll be a turnover is if both tightheads are seen to go backwards

I believe I'm right in saying that wheeling was never actually illegal. Whipping the scrum, or pulling back on the th side is what's actually not allowed. But the current interpretation sees tighthead props get penalised as if they had pulled back when they actually only got pushed back.

There was the farcical decision from Nigel Owens in the 2nd Test against NZ in 2012 when he penalised the Irish scrum, saying "That is not a straight wheel. You are walking it around". There's a big difference between getting pushed back, or even allowing yourself to be pushed back, and pulling back to whip the scrum.

Pulling back should obviously be illegal, as it's dangerous, but I think we need to go back to allowing wheeling, because it's a clever tactic for teams with less powerful scrums to use, and, I think, would discourage teams from using the scrum to generate penalties. Powerful scrums would have to be wary of being wheeled and consequently losing possession - even if they were moving forward - and would, in theory, be more inclined to get the ball in and out

Maybe the thinking is that wheeling was dangerous, and they wanted to try to limit it in the game? I think the current interpretation just leaves teams no option but to try their best to meet power head on, and encourages teams with powerful scrums to try to win penalties, which is complete anti-rugby in my view
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Re: Wheeling the scrum

Postby LeRouxIsPHat » July 27th, 2016, 12:46 pm

That Owens' call still grinds my gears.

I've noticed a big increase in packs almost running forward and collapsing the scrum once they get some momentum. It's incredibly dangerous and I reckon it'll take a Bod spear tackle/Payne high ball kind of incident for it to stop. Not quite sure how it could be policed but it's a ticking time bomb. Maybe one thing could just be to make sure packs stay low and bound because players do tend to stand up once they get some go forward. They could copy underage scrums too where you're only allowed to move forward a small number of metres. At least I think that's the case, it certainly used to be. I think the latter is unlikely though.
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Shane Horgan
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Re: Wheeling the scrum

Postby Ruckedtobits » August 2nd, 2016, 7:38 pm

Although not quite the same point as wheeling the scrum, the new Law / interpretation of the defensive scrum-half restrictions at the scrum has had a very significant impact on back-row defences.

No doubt The42.com will do a full analysis piece on it in the coming days, but have a look at the try scored by Victor Vito for Hurricanes last weekend against the Chiefs. Also in the Lions v Highlanders van Zyl found huge space in breaking to put-in side because his opposite scrummie couldn't follow him round to ball, in traditional fashion.

Perhaps some poster with top refereeing interpretation will explain for this site just how this is going to be refereed - it was evident the the SA ref and NZ Gardiner had both got different versions last Saturday.

BTW, our new man from the 'Canes really looked the business in another 20 minute cameo at the business end of the Super 15 semi-final.
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