Rugby Union 3 years ago

Was Richie McCaw's Try Legal?

  • Was Richie McCaw's Try Legal?

All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw scored the winning try against the Springboks in the Rugby Championship Round 2, late in the second half, from an attacking lineout (see below).

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An interesting article by South African Brenden Nel from SuperSport who believes that Richie McCaw's try broke two laws of the game as not only did he move before the ball was thrown in, but the All Blacks jumper also went up before the ball was thrown in, which was a diversion, but was also illegal. Of course, it is the referee who is the sole judge of the implementation of the laws for the game and players will look to exploit the laws to gain any advantage possible.

Personally, I saw the All Blacks jump early in the match a few times, but it was never penalised.  Maybe this is why they decided to try this move, knowing that the officials weren't monitoring this aspect of the laws.  In any sport 

There are so many laws in the game of rugby, that it is easy to miss something.  It is also necessary to not be too vigilant on everything in a game of rugby, otherwise the game will be ruined as a spectacle.  Because of the amount of laws, often referees have their pet peeves which they watch out for in a game, this is mainly because it is hard to be strict on every single law of the game.  The referee only has so much brain space, and so that is often why referees miss technicalities like this.  

I have refereed sport recently and found that it is necessary to be strict on a limited number of rules/laws, in order for the game to be policed, but not to ruin the overall flow of the game, although most laws do have a reason or rationale behind them to avoid some kind of exploitation in a game.  

Therefore, I think McCaw's try wasn't legal, to the letter of the law, but there are so many obscure laws in the game of rugby, which are there for a very small number of instances that they occur, that is impossible to not miss something.  This has probably added fuel to Springboks' fans fire who see McCaw as a cheat!

Personally, I think rugby needs to stick to laws that are absolutely necessary, if it wants to surpass football in worldwide popularity.  There are laws which are paramount to a game of rugby, but the rest need to be assessed for relevance or how they could affect a game, to see if they are really necessary.  I am glad there will be a review of the laws after the Rugby World Cup.  The problem is, getting through the Rugby World Cup where driving mauls and other special moves are set to manipulate and test the laws of rugby. 

Do you think Richie McCaw's try was legal?

The referee's ruling is all that counts at the end of the day, but according to the laws it probably shouldn't have been awarded, but the referees have their hands full with so many laws of the game, that you can understand them overlooking this one.  


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