“Body rolls are dangerous and don’t make the game better. So why are they allowed?”
rocodile roll. Judo roll. body roll. Whatever you want to call it, it’s a blight on the game. the law book states clearly under law 16.3 (a): “players in a ruck must endeavour to stay on their feet.” this is clearly not the case when a player is body-rolled as you use your weight and levers to roll the opposing player, resulting in both players ending up on the floor deliberately. it is almost impossible to body-roll someone whilst staying on your feet. try it. You won’t be successful.
if you don’t think that law is 100% relevant, then add in law 16.3 (b) – “A player must not intentionally fall or kneel in a ruck” – and no one can argue it’s against the law. law 16.3 (c)? “A player must not intentionally collapse a ruck.”
the fact that law 16.3 (e) is always ignored (players must have their heads and shoulders no lower than their hips) only makes this look even more reckless in the actual officiating of the game at the moment.
For many years i’ve been complaining about body rolls. they are dangerous and don’t make the game better. so why are they allowed? A quick story that you will not know: i once brought it up at a World series coaches’
cmeeting whilst i was england sevens coach, showing two clips where two Fijian players had suffered serious knee injuries in the Gold coast final against New Zealand. many coaches supported me in this. We had another coaches’ meeting a few months later when i was in charge of Fiji, in Wellington, that resulted in the teams voting to outlaw this practice. they simply asked for the laws i mentioned to be actually refereed. the rest of the season went well, with cleaner rucks and no injuries from it. Great, i thought, finally some sense.
Unfortunately over the summer, one of three teams (out of 15) that did not want this to be enforced by officials asked World rugby for a ruling. they said both 15s and sevens should have the same set of laws and if it wasn’t being penalised in 15s then it shouldn’t be in sevens.
Amazingly this argument won the day and we went back to illegal body rolling. the reason World rugby gave was that they deemed it a tackle. A tackle? did i hear that right? if it’s a tackle, why’s there a gate for players body rolling? if it’s a tackle, why do defending players attempting to get the ball get body-rolled without the ball?
if it’s a tackle, why do players that come in to clean out an attacking ruck get body-rolled without the ball?
talk about confusing. i would completely agree with any law being omitted, introduced or modified if it made the game safer and better.
What is happening now only makes both a lot worse. more bodies end up on the floor at rucks, making it more of a mess for the referees to try to officiate. We want more players on their feet, not more players on the floor.
When a player gets rolled it is a very awkward action. You’re being pulled or rolled against your joint line, and the knee and ankle have nowhere to go. i have seen players rupture every ligament in their knee being rolled.
consider the amount of hours a professional player spends getting physically fit to play, yet he can have a career-ending injury that he can’t do anything about – it’s a disgrace! it’s even worse if it’s a non-professional or a kid starting to fall in love with the game. this sort of practice goes on.
i hope the powers-that-be see the validity of the points above – and that change is needed now.
Bodies on the floor A collapsed tangle of chiefs and Waratahs