Clip 1 - 2 November 2017 - Law 20

A wheeling scrum - whose ball? Did the referee "bottle" it?

Australia play New Zealand in the third Bledisloe Cup match of 2017. Near their goal-line, Aaron Smith, the New Zealand scrumhalf puts the ball in. The scrum is unstable and wheels through 180 degrees till the ball comes out. Flank Jack Dempsey of Australia picks up the ball and charges for the line. Damian McKenzie of New Zealand tackles him. Dempsey pops the ball up to Will Genia who pass to Tevita Kuridrani on his left who has a clear run to the line.

But while all this is happening, the whistle has gone and the referee has a rescrum with New Zealand to feed the ball again.

The commentator says that he believes that the referee "has bottled it here". Made a mistake. Apparently he believes that after the wheeled scrum, if there was no penalty and the scrum was to be taken again, the ball should be put in by the team not in possession when the scrum went past 90 degrees - in this case Australia would get the put-in. This used to be the case but the law has changed.

Law 20.11 Scrum wheeled
(a) If a scrum is wheeled through more than 90 degrees, so that the middle line has passed beyond a position parallel to the touchline, the referee must stop play and order another scrum.
(b) This new scrum is formed at the place where the previous scrum ended. The ball is thrown in by the team that previously threw it in.

by the team that previously threw it in.

That means that the referee was right to award the rescrum to New Zealand.

*It may be worth noting that both New Zealand's left flank (Sam Cane) and No.8 (Kieran Read) had broken from the scrum while the ball was still in the scrum and were thus penalisable.

Law 20.1 (e) Number of players: eight. A scrum must have eight players from each team. All eight players must stay bound to the scrum until it ends. Each front row must have three players in it, no more and no less. Two locks must form the second row.
Sanction: Penalty kick

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