Clip 6 – 12 November 2018 - Law 15
Adam Hastings, Scotland's flyhalf, collects a kick and runs forward. Justin Tipuric and Ken Owens of Wales tackle him. Cory Hill of Wales and Ben Toolis of Scotland make contact above the tackle, thus forming a ruck.
Hill and Toolis fall down and Alun Wyn Jones, from behind the heap of players leans over to pick up the pall with his hands. The referee penalises Wyn Jones, who is puzzled. The referee explains that he penalised Wyn Jones because a ruck was formed.
The ruck had been formed and then collapsed. Is it still a ruck?
The ruck was formed when Hill and Toolis made contact.
Law 15: FORMING A RUCK
2. A ruck is formed when at least one player from each team are in contact, on their feet and over the ball which is on the ground.
But Hill and Toolis fell down. Didn't that end the ruck?
This is a Law Clarification from 2007.
1. A ruck is formed and the ball is playable for Team A. All players in Team B now leave the ruck and step back. Is there still a ruck or has the ruck ended?
Ruling of the designated members of the Rugby Committee
A ruck ends successfully when the ball leaves the ruck or when the ball enters in goal i.e. on or over the goal line.
A ruck ends unsuccessfully when the ball becomes unplayable.
As there has been a ruck formed initially, AND the criteria for a successful or unsuccessful ruck have not been exhibited, then the ruck has not ended.
That applies here as well.
- A ruck was formed.
- The ball did not leave the ruck.
- It was still a ruck.
Wyn Jones used his hands to pick up the ball.
Law 15.11: Once a ruck has formed, no player may handle the ball unless they were able to get their hands on the ball before the ruck formed and stay on their feet. [Apparently "they" and "their" refer to "a player", which is odd.]
That is why Wyn Jones was correctly penalised.