Clip 4 – 6 April 2019 - Law 9
The case of the obstructive scrumhalf
Tate McDermott, the Reds' scrumhalf, puts the ball into a scrum and the Reds heel it. As the ball is making its way to the back of the scrum, McDermott stays near the tunnel and clearly blocks Herschel Jantjies, the Stormers' scrumhalf, from following the path of the ball. McDermott even uses both hands to push Jantjies back. The ball reaches the Reds' No.8, Scott Higginbotham, who sends out a rolling pass to flyhalf Bryce Hegarty.
What McDermott does is illegal and deserving of a penalty.
Law 9: Obstruction
An offside player must not intentionally obstruct an opponent or interfere with play.
A player must not intentionally prevent an opponent from tackling or attempting to tackle the ball-carrier.
A player must not intentionally prevent an opponent from having the opportunity to play the ball, other than by competing for possession.
Law 19.29: Once play in the scrum begins, the scrumhalf of the team in possession has at least one foot level with or behind the ball.
Law 19.17: The scrum begins when the ball leaves the hands of the scrum-half.
McDermott is well ahead of the ball in the scrum, i.e. nearer the Stormers' side.