Clip 3 – 27 March 2019 - Law 16

Tate McDermott, the Reds' scrumhalf, passes to Samu Kerevi who charges straight ahead. Three Brumbies - Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin, James Slipper and Christian Leali'ifano grab Kerevi and hold onto him, keeping him up.

First Chris Feauai-Sautia and then Feao Fotuaika of the Reds join in to support Kerevi. The referee is heard to call: "Tackle". Kerevi is then released and the ball comes back to the Reds.

We have to make allowances in this that light travels faster than sound, and so we see before we hear.

In assessing the incident, the order of events is important.

1st Possible Order
i. Kerevi charges
ii. The Brumbies hold onto him, and all four are on their feet.
iii. Feauai-Sautia (13) joins in.
iv: The referee calls "Tackle".

2nd Possible Order
i. Kerevi charges
ii. The Brumbies hold onto him, and all four are on their feet.
iii. The referee calls "Tackle".
iv. Feauai-Sautia (13) joins in.

In the first case, when Feauai-Sautia joins in (iii.), a maul is formed.
In the second case, Kerevi is brought to ground and the referee calls tackle. No maul is formed, and play is allowed to continue.

In the first case where the maul is formed, the maul must be allowed to take its course, that is go on to its end, whether successful or unsuccessful.

Law 16: ENDING A MAUL

16. A maul ends and play continues when:

  1.   The ball or ball-carrier leaves the maul.
  2.   The ball is on the ground.
  3.   The ball is on or over the goal line.

17. A maul ends unsuccessfully when:

  1. The ball becomes unplayable.
  2. The maul collapses (not as a result of foul play).
  3. The maul does not move towards a goal line for longer than five seconds and the ball does not emerge.
  4. The ball-carrier goes to ground and the ball is not immediately available.
  5. The ball is available to be played, the referee has called “use it” and it has not been played within five seconds of the call.

Sanction: Scrum.

The important statement here is that a maul does not end by becoming a tackle.

If the maul was formed before the referee's call, the referee's call was wrong - unless there is some alternative law that is not in the book of the Laws of the Game.

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