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Duty Ref 527 - Jaco Peyper

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This answer to a reader's question comes to us from Edinburgh where Jaco Peyper is to be an assistant referee in the Six Nations opener between Scotland and Ireland.

Then he is off to Paris to referee the match between France and Scotland.

Our top referees are whizzing about the world. Peyper, who actually lives in Bloemfontein, in recent times has been to a Super Rugby meeting in Sydney, then to a Six Nations meeting in London.

Here is what he has answered.

Name: Morgan Whitlock

Question: Hi. In a recent Premiership game in England a defending player (Harlequins 7) is penalised when intercepting a pass from the ground from a tackled attacking player. But no ruck has been formed, and so why is he penalised?

Many thanks, Morgan

Jaco Peyper: Hi Morgan
Good question!

The referee states correctly “Clearly no ruck” (meaning that no ruck offside lines for players), though a “ clear tackle” has been completed, implying that any defender that enters the tackle zone has to enter through the ‘gate’ as we all in practice call it. If a player doesn't enter the tackle zone he doesn't have to comply to any phase offside line.

It is more technically correctly described in Law: Law 15.6 (d) At a tackle or near a tackle, other players who play the ball must do so from behind the ball and from directly behind the tackled player or the tackler closest to his goal-line.

The Harlequins No.8 who enters the tackle zone to play the ball does so illegally (not through ‘the gate’), and after a threatening line break it is deemed to be deliberate spoiling of quick ball. The most obvious decision here seems the one that the referee made by penalising for a clear infringement and adding the yellow card in the context seems to be spot on.
Enjoy analysing the tackle the rest of the season!

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