Clip 2 - 24 July 2019 - Law 17

This is becoming increasingly problematic in rugby where it really need not be. It's about identifying what phase of play is being dealt with, which depends on the sequence of events - which came first, the maul or the tackle.

Simon Westraadt of the Pumas has the ball and charges ahead. He is grabbed by Michal Haznar and Gideon van der Merwe of Griquas. The three stay on their feet. Almost immediately Morgan Naudé of the Pumas joins in.

The four are still on their feet. Play goes on. The referee is then heard to say: "Tackle. Release." The group fall to ground and the referee penalises Griquas for not releasing the tackled player.

But it would seem that the moment Naudé joined in, a maul was formed.

LAW DEFINITION
Maul: A phase of play consisting of a ball-carrier and at least one player from each team, bound together and on their feet.

Westraadt is the ball-carrier.
Michal Haznar is a Griqua player; Morgan Naudé is a Puma player. There is one player from each side.
The three are bound together and on their feet.

That would make it a maul.

Even allowing for the fact of physics that light is faster than sound, it would seem that the maul formed first, before the referee decided it was a tackle. Then Westraadt got a knee to the ground.

That Westraadt got a knee to the ground does not end the maul and turn it into a tackle.

The law is clear on when a maul ends.

Law 16 ENDING A MAUL
16. A maul ends and play continues when:
a. The ball or ball-carrier leaves the maul.
b. The ball is on the ground.
c. The ball is on or over the goal line.

17. A maul ends unsuccessfully when:
a. The ball becomes unplayable.
b. The maul collapses (not as a result of foul play).
c. The maul does not move towards a goal line for longer than five seconds and the ball does not emerge.
d. The ball-carrier goes to ground and the ball is not immediately available.
e. 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

It was a maul that tumbled to ground.

That Westraadt got his body to ground, did not change the fact that it was a maul. A maul does not turn into a tackle.

When the maul tumbled to ground the ball was not immediately available. That ended the maul.

Law 17: A maul ends unsuccessfully when:
d. The ball-carrier goes to ground and the ball is not immediately available.
Sanction: Scrum.

This could have been regarded as an unsuccessful maul and the scrum award to Griquas. 

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