Clip 1 - 18 July 2018 - Law 16

The Jaguares win a line-out and form a maul. They trundle the maul a considerable distance downfield, where it falls to ground.

The referee notes that the ball is available, but Pierre Schoeman of the Bulls uses his hand to stop the passage of the ball and then moves his body to keep it in. The referee penalises Schoeman.

It looks right but is it?

A maul is a maul and stays a maul till it ends. It ends successfully when the ball is brought back into play. If the maul does not emerge and the referee stops play it has ended unsuccessfully.


Law 16.16 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.

Law 16.17 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.

One way or another, the maul does not become something else. It does not become a ruck and it does not become a tackle. It stays a maul. And a player is allowed to play the ball by hand in a maul. There is also no obligation on him to make the ball available.

It would seem that this could well have been a scrum to the Bulls. advert