Clip 2 – 17 April 2019 - Law 16
The Chiefs go right in the face of the Blues' defence. Held, Anton Leinert-Brown passes to Brodie Retallick. He makes contact with Blues scrumhalf Jonathan Ruru and then is grabbed by Dalton Papalii and Ma's Nonu.
They hold Retallick up as Chiefs hooker Nathan Harris joins the group to help Retallick and then Leinert-Brown adds himself to the group. Papalii gets the ball from Retallick's grasp and plays it back to his side where Tom Robinson knocks on. The referee awards a scrum to the Chiefs for the knock-on.
The commentator is doubtful about it, saying that Papalii was "obligated" to release Retallick when Retallick's knee was on the ground because he was "officially tackled".
The sequence of events was important.
i. Retallick was grabbed by Papalii and Nonu.
ii. Then Nathan Harris bound onto the group of three.
iii. Then Retallick got his knee to the ground.
When Harris binds onto the group, a maul was formed.
Maul: A phase of play consisting of a ball-carrier and at least one player from each team, bound together and on their feet.
Retallick was the ball carrier, Papalii a Blues player and Harris a Chiefs player.
From then on, the phase of play is a maul until it ends. That Retallick got his knee to the ground was irrelevant and Papalii was not obligated to release Retallick.
The referee applied the law correctly.
This whole business of getting a knee on the ground to create a tackle is suspect.
Look at the definitions
Tackle: The method of holding a ball-carrier and bringing that player to ground.
Tackled player: A ball-carrier who is held and taken to ground by a tackler or tacklers.
Bringing that player to ground/taken to ground (by somebody else) - not forces his own way to the ground. Papalii was not bringing Retallick to ground; on the contrary he was holding him up off the ground.