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RSN

Should an obstruction result in a scrum not a penalty?

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After obstruction being quite a big issue in the sport in recent times I've come to think that it should result in a scrum for the opposition rather than a penalty.

The majority of obstructions are accidental and a lot of the time people give themselves up after doing so. They're more of a technical infringement which is very common rather than foul play.

Does anyone else agree?

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Yes, i do. Its more of an error like a knock on.

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I disagree.  It's an actively coached skill that if it comes off undetected anywhere near the try line often results in a try.  Knock ons are errors, obstuctions are usually teams doing it deliberately.  There are the really obvious mistakes of a player getting in the way accidentally and the ref should have the power to be more lenient there but the default position should be that if the ref isn't 100% sure it's accidental then it's a penalty.

 

We already have too many concessions for actively coached cheating, for example when was the last time you saw a ref penalise defences for offside with players having two feet way offside when there's a PTB close to the try line?

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Yes, i do. Its more of an error like a knock on.

what if it's on purpose or a shepherd?

 

A deliebarete knock on(now obsolete) was punishable by a penalty.

 

Obstruction by attacking players is an illegitimate gaining of advantage: penalty, or perhaps a free kick.

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Agree. The increasing planned, practiced and rehearsed use of dummy runners running diagonally across the defence is not accidental, yet does result often in obstruction.

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Accidental obstruction by the attacking side, resulting in a scrum, is in the laws of the game: a couple of examples are described. Can't remember the last time I saw a scrum given for it.

The Laws of the Game refer to active, passive and accidental obstruction, and barely mention dummy runners in front of the ball. The assumption may be that they shouldn't exist. Any attacker in front of the ball is automatically in an offside position: if the referee decides that he is interfering with play, he has to penalise him. A dummy runner in front of the ball is purposely placing himself in an offside position. He would have to be penalised if he obstructs. It would need a serious rewriting of the Laws for it to be otherwise.

This is just from a reading of the Laws. Interpretation seems to be a much more complex matter. As coaches search for ways to gain extra advantages, referees collectively have to react by re-interpreting the Laws. Dummy runners is a difficult one. It could be argued that simply by being in the line of vision of a defender, or causing a defender to differently assess his own reaction, is interfering with play. In the end, this is a basic of rugby league. Unless you've just passed it or played it, you should not be in front of the ball.

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what if it's on purpose or a shepherd?

A deliebarete knock on(now obsolete) was punishable by a penalty.

Obstruction by attacking players is an illegitimate gaining of advantage: penalty, or perhaps a free kick.

you give a great example. Deliberate knock ons still happen all the time and despite it still bein a penalty according to the laws it is always given as a scrum.

I feel that with the 10m rule now penalties are extremely valuable and feel a scrum is a better 'punishment'.

I dont think anybody does obstruction on purpose these days with the way the rules are applied, it happens when a dummy run is not applied effectively.

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I disagree. It's an actively coached skill that if it comes off undetected anywhere near the try line often results in a try. Knock ons are errors, obstuctions are usually teams doing it deliberately. There are the really obvious mistakes of a player getting in the way accidentally and the ref should have the power to be more lenient there but the default position should be that if the ref isn't 100% sure it's accidental then it's a penalty.

We already have too many concessions for actively coached cheating, for example when was the last time you saw a ref penalise defences for offside with players having two feet way offside when there's a PTB close to the try line?

disagree here. Obstruction is usually where a decoy is used incorrectly, so many are pulled up now it would be stupid to do it on purpose.

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disagree here. Obstruction is usually where a decoy is used incorrectly, so many are pulled up now it would be stupid to do it on purpose.

i agree, when a ball carrier runs behind his team-mate....this is not usually done on purpose and is often a case of mis-timing

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i agree, when a ball carrier runs behind his team-mate....this is not usually done on purpose and is often a case of mis-timing

this generally happens in midfield during a bog standard set that has lost its way. up close to the line you see it less and see the more deliberate obsruction because a set play is being used close to the line

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this generally happens in midfield during a bog standard set that has lost its way. up close to the line you see it less and see the more deliberate obsruction because a set play is being used close to the line

I don't see deliberate obstruction at all. What teams try and do is get the maximum benefit possible legally and that is by being close to, but not actually obstructing a player. They often get it wrong because the margins are so fine - as we see all the time now there is a lot of disagreement over what is actually an obstruction - I think it is extremely harsh to give not only a turnover, but a penalty as well.

 

I do think there is a case for reviewing the penalties that are awarded and keep them more for foul play rather than technicalities as often I think the benefits of a penalty outweigh the severity of the offence.

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Teams are trapping the ball at the second row of the scrum to catch the opposition offside now which results in a penalty anyway, albeit a differential one.

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Teams are trapping the ball at the second row of the scrum to catch the opposition offside now which results in a penalty anyway, albeit a differential one.

i havent seen that happen since they changed the rule meaning as the ball passes the 2nd row it is out.

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When a full back or winger retrieves a kick and tries to run the ball back up field there could be an unintentional obstruction virtually every time because his own team mates could be running back in front of the pursuants. Also when a player steps back inside after initially taking the ball out to the wing he can often find his team mates have overrun in front of him. The first example is never penalised while the second often is, even though not deliberate. I feel a differential tap, with no kick to touch allowed, would be more appropriate for non-deliberate offences. I saw a case a few weeks ago where a player was about to run behind a team mate but realised his mistake and stopped to allow himself to be tackled, yet the referee still penalised him, resulting in the opposition moving 40 metres upfield  with the kick before their penalty tap. 

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i havent seen that happen since they changed the rule meaning as the ball passes the 2nd row it is out.

Aye, it doesn't pass the 2nd row, that's where it's trapped.

 

Leeds won a penalty from it against Salford, and may have tried it more than once. Cummings even mentioned it during the sky game on Friday. Wigan also tried and succeeded with it a few times at Odsal too.

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I don't see deliberate obstruction at all. What teams try and do is get the maximum benefit possible legally and that is by being close to, but not actually obstructing a player. They often get it wrong because the margins are so fine - as we see all the time now there is a lot of disagreement over what is actually an obstruction - I think it is extremely harsh to give not only a turnover, but a penalty as well.

 

I do think there is a case for reviewing the penalties that are awarded and keep them more for foul play rather than technicalities as often I think the benefits of a penalty outweigh the severity of the offence.

 

I agree there Dave, in that the players are not deliberately trying to block defenders as more often than not (especially right now) the try would almost certainly be turned down.

 

i'm just trying to differentiate between two ways of conceding a penalty for essentially the same thing - blocking/sheilding the attacking player with the ball, sorry for the confusion.

 

For me the attacking team using the tactic know the risks and because they are attacking the line, the penalty is not as rewarding to the defence as it would be for the "traditional" midfield type obstruction where a half or 9 accidentally runs behind another player. IMO this kind of thing is more of a mistake by the attacking team and maybe harsh to reward a pen as it will give the opposition great field position for what is essentially a lapse of concentration. (pretty much as steve slater posted)

 

Personally I am happy that an "attacking" obstruction or decoy/dummy runner (whichever way you see it) results in a penalty and generally because of the area the tactic is used the result for the defending team is the same whether we use a scrum or a pen - in that they have not conceded a try and they will almost certainly receive the ball back.

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Aye, it doesn't pass the 2nd row, that's where it's trapped.

 

Leeds won a penalty from it against Salford, and may have tried it more than once. Cummings even mentioned it during the sky game on Friday. Wigan also tried and succeeded with it a few times at Odsal too.

Interesting, like I say I haven't seen it since they changed the rules, not sure how they can change the rules again to sort this.

Personally I'd like to just see it that the defenders can't move forward until the ref calls 'out' or similar.

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I agree there Dave, in that the players are not deliberately trying to block defenders as more often than not (especially right now) the try would almost certainly be turned down.

 

i'm just trying to differentiate between two ways of conceding a penalty for essentially the same thing - blocking/sheilding the attacking player with the ball, sorry for the confusion.

 

For me the attacking team using the tactic know the risks and because they are attacking the line, the penalty is not as rewarding to the defence as it would be for the "traditional" midfield type obstruction where a half or 9 accidentally runs behind another player. IMO this kind of thing is more of a mistake by the attacking team and maybe harsh to reward a pen as it will give the opposition great field position for what is essentially a lapse of concentration. (pretty much as steve slater posted)

 

Personally I am happy that an "attacking" obstruction or decoy/dummy runner (whichever way you see it) results in a penalty and generally because of the area the tactic is used the result for the defending team is the same whether we use a scrum or a pen - in that they have not conceded a try and they will almost certainly receive the ball back.

Yeah, that makes sense that the consequences are not as bad due to them getting the penalty on their own line I suppose.

 

I just quite like the idea of a 'free-kick' given, which is basically a handover, and a true penalty given for more serious infringements. I think that nowadays minor infringements, quite often 50:50 calls at the ptb are given as a penalty and have a huge impact on the game.

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