Clip 3 - 30 January 2018 - Law 14

Release!

In a Varsity Cup match in Pretoria, Andrew Beerwinkel (3), the Tukkies prop, charges ahead but is stopped by Kurt Eybers and Hanno Snyman of the Shimlas. The players stay on their feet. Marius Verwey (4) and WJ Snyman (15) of the Tukkies join in to support their man. Beerwinkel wriggles his way down till his right knee is on the ground. The referee calls: "Release". Eybers rips the ball from Beerwinkel's grasp and the referee penalises the Shimlas.

Right?

Two laws are relevant.

i. Law 16 MAUL

FORMING A MAUL
A maul can take place only in the field of play.
It consists of a ball-carrier and at least one player from each team, bound together and on their feet.

Beerwinkel is a ball-carrier.
There are players from each team, namely Kurt Eybers and Hanno Snyman of the Shimlas and Marius Verwey and WJ Snyman of the Tukkies.

There is a maul.

Law 16 DURING A MAUL
The ball-carrier in a maul may go to ground provided that player makes the ball available immediately.
Sanction: Scrum.

ENDING A MAUL
A maul ends and play continues when:
The ball or ball-carrier leaves the maul.
The ball is on the ground.
The ball is on or over the goal line.
A maul ends unsuccessfully when:
The ball becomes unplayable.
The maul collapses (not as a result of foul play).
The maul does not move towards a goal line for longer than five seconds and the ball does not emerge.
The ball-carrier goes to ground and the ball is not immediately available.

There is nothing in all this that suggests that going to ground turns a maul into a tackle.

ii. Law 14 TACKLE
REQUIREMENTS FOR A TACKLE

For a tackle to occur, the ball-carrier is held and brought to ground by one or more opponents.

Neither of the Shimla players brings Beerwinkel to ground. Going to ground is entiurely Beerwinkel's own effort.

This occurs frequently but must surely be clearly outside of the law. 

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