Clip 2 - 4 November 2019 - Law 19

Up and Under and unplayable - Whose ball is it?

Handré Pollard of South Africa kicks high. Inside the English half, Makazole Mapimpi of South Africa and Elliot Daly of England jump for the ball. They both have arms wrapped round the ball. They both come to earth with arms still wrapped round the ball. Other players from each side form onto them. The whole group falls to ground, Mapimpi and Daly still clutching the ball.

The referee awards a scrum to South Africa, saying by way of explanation: "Attacking team."

Why a scrum?

First of all, what phase of play is this?

There is no one ball-carrier and so:

It is not a tackle.
It is not a ruck.
It is not a maul.

But the ball is unplayable with a layer of players on top of it.

In such a case when the ball is unplayable, the referee awards a scrum. "The team last moving forward. If neither team was moving forward, the attacking team."

The meaning of attacking team is important here.

Attacking team: The opposition to the team in whose half play is taking place.

South Africa are in England's half.
They are the attacking team.

The referee was right to award the scrum to South Africa. advert