“Body rolls are dan­ger­ous and don’t make the game bet­ter. So why are they al­lowed?”

Rugby World - - News -

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

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