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  #1 (permalink)  
Old Wed Dec 09, 2009, 05:59pm
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Why ping-pong?

I didn't get an answer crossposting to rec.sport.rugby.union, so I'll try here.

"Bob" wrote in message


news:[email protected]m...
On Dec 1, 5:08 pm, "Chris" wrote:


> "Peter Ward" wrote in message
> news:[email protected]
> > I've been watching some of the rugby internationals on the Iplayer. Can
> > you say why the kicking game is so much more popular than I recall from
> > back in the '90s. A game often degenerates into ping-pong for a while,
> > and it is quite annoying how often it does so. I can't work out why it
> > happens so much now, but didn't back then.
> There was a rule change involving the rucking that made penalties much
> easier to give away. So now we suffer ping pong. The rule is apparently
> going to be repealed for next season.


Do you know what specifically the change was? Are you saying they
adopted something that makes it more likely that the side going into
the ruck WITH the ball would wind up penalized? Some amendment
regarding obstruction, maybe?
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

No, I don't know what the change was.
Yes, apparently so.
No idea, but it seems that a lot of penalties have been given at rucks.


I half heard a radio conversation between two commentators just before one
of the matches held last weekend.


Chris
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Old Sun Dec 13, 2009, 07:37pm
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I'm bumping the thread just so nobody thinks all there is here is spam. Want cheap shoes? Look elsewhere.
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Old Tue Jan 05, 2010, 04:32pm
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Hi Bob. What a confusing post! Are you talking about an increase in tactical kicking in open play? Or an increase in penalty kicks as a result of some 'new' law as suggested in the second half of your post? I don't recall any ELV specific to rucking that would increase penalty calls...not that there needs to be. My general impression is that more penalties come from rucks than any other phase...hands in, diving, not binding, offsides, etc, etc. As for ping-pong...I'm not seeing an increase, in general, at the local level here. Hmmm.
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Old Wed Jan 06, 2010, 08:45pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bellnier View Post
Hi Bob. What a confusing post! Are you talking about an increase in tactical kicking in open play? Or an increase in penalty kicks as a result of some 'new' law as suggested in the second half of your post? I don't recall any ELV specific to rucking that would increase penalty calls...not that there needs to be. My general impression is that more penalties come from rucks than any other phase...hands in, diving, not binding, offsides, etc, etc. As for ping-pong...I'm not seeing an increase, in general, at the local level here. Hmmm.
If you haven't seen an increase in non-tactical kicking since the period in the 1990s the poster from alt.fan.cecil-adams wrote of, then you can't be of use answering the question.

To clarify what I asked in this thread, let's suppose there was an increase in non-tactical kicking, i.e. "ping pong" as teams unartfully dump the ball down into the other end, and that the trend was the result of some laws change, as rumored (from someone's recollection of an on-air sports commentor) on alt.fan.cecil-admas. My question then is, what was the law change that resulted in the tactical change? It would seem most likely that some change at rucks that would have decreased the chances of retaining possession for another phase would increase the tendency to kick the hot potato away.
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Old Wed Jan 06, 2010, 09:25pm
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Maybe this will help...

Ruck and ruin: IRB agree to review breakdown law after boring autumn Tests | Mail Online
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Old Thu Jan 07, 2010, 09:00pm
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Thanks, but that leaves me no more informed than the article I'd been led to from the original discussion in Usenet. This one said:

Quote:
Since the world governing body amended the laws at the ruck to allow defensive players more ability to contest possession,
and just assumes readers know what those amendments were, or don't care about the details. What were those amendments?

Of course these things are matters of taste & degree. For all I know, the "aerial ping pong" referred to may be no more than a return to the style of game of >15 yrs. ago, as it had been for a long time previous. Most of the change hadn't been a result of laws changes, but regulation by raised eyebrow from Twickenham regarding how much unwritten leeway to give to whom after a tackle. They went nuts for a couple of seasons in the middle 1990s by letting the tackled player get away with murder getting rid of the ball, then throttled it back a bit.

However, I do think they went wrong a few years ago when they did amend the laws by restricting play after a tackle. They took away much of the incentive to form a proper ruck and to hustle with or without the ball in the vicinity of the tackle.
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Old Fri Jan 08, 2010, 10:35am
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I'll ask my referee friends if they know. The current law allowing tacklers to pick up the ball even whilst they are on the wrong side certainly leads to ping-pong kicking, for obvious reasons, in open play. But some of that can be put directly on the players for sure. And I think nearly every ruck will generate a law violation; with a vigilant referee this often leads to a penalty kick-fest, more ping-pong kicking. Again, the blame for this can be spread around. Hmm.

Last edited by bellnier; Fri Jan 08, 2010 at 11:33am.
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Old Fri Jan 08, 2010, 09:36pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bellnier View Post
I'll ask my referee friends if they know. The current law allowing tacklers to pick up the ball even whilst they are on the wrong side certainly leads to ping-pong kicking, for obvious reasons, in open play.
That's the current law? Then that's no more than the repeal of the provision that came in about a decade ago, requiring a player to come from onside to be first to play the ball after a tackle, and requiring that it be done from directly on that side. Under that rule, if you were tackled and placed the ball behind you, an opponent had to step directly over you to get to the ball legally. And if you were the fullback with no help behind you, your teammates also had to step over you to be first to play the ball!
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Old Fri Jan 08, 2010, 10:41pm
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15.4.c allows tackler to pick up ball from either side. As such, ball carrier may elect to kick away versus being tackled and ball being turned over. It has been suggested that that is the reason for the increase in ping-pong kicking. Of course, better support would mitigate this.
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Old Sat Jan 09, 2010, 08:04pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bellnier View Post
15.4.c allows tackler to pick up ball from either side.
But I see 15.6 still has those "from directly behind" provisions applicable to everyone else. So you're saying all they did was liberalize that one little bit -- when it had been the case until just a few years ago that any player on his feet could play the ball from any direction after a tackle, if no offside line had formed for some reason -- and now people are complaining the ball's being kicked away too often? Why don't they go watch RL, American, or Canadian football? Are their complaints exaggerated, or is it really ping-pong because of some more important factor?
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Old Sat Jan 09, 2010, 08:20pm
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Here's a site I just now found addressing the ping-pong issue:

contraversial tackle law - The Rugby Referees' Forum

Note that it starts with a quote similar to what I and others have suggested:

Quote:
The IRB council meets in Dublin, where the Rugby Football Union, among others, will raise the issue of clarifying the tackle law which was passed at the council meeting in July. This states that the tackler is allowed to play the ball from any direction if he is on his feet, increasing the risk of the attacking team losing possession in dangerous areas.
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Old Sat Jan 09, 2010, 11:15pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Goodman View Post
Thanks, but that leaves me no more informed than the article I'd been led to from the original discussion in Usenet. This one just assumes readers know what those amendments were, or don't care about the details. What were those amendments?
Does this possibly refer to new ruck law 16.4(b):

"Players must not handle the ball in a ruck except after a tackle if they are on their feet and have their hands on the ball before the ruck is formed."

This makes the life of the tackler attempting the turnover much less problematical, thus heightening the cult of the individual at the breakdown.

This appears to have been an attempt to simplify the breakdown and reduce penalties, but only serves to increase field clutter, by again discouraging mass participation at this phase.

Last edited by TheRugbyologist; Sat Jan 09, 2010 at 11:20pm.
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Old Sun Jan 10, 2010, 06:09pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRugbyologist View Post
Does this possibly refer to new ruck law 16.4(b):

"Players must not handle the ball in a ruck except after a tackle if they are on their feet and have their hands on the ball before the ruck is formed."

This makes the life of the tackler attempting the turnover much less problematical, thus heightening the cult of the individual at the breakdown.

This appears to have been an attempt to simplify the breakdown and reduce penalties, but only serves to increase field clutter, by again discouraging mass participation at this phase.
I bet they meant to write "as the ruck is formed", not "before", because otherwise it would seem anyone who'd handled the ball any time during the game until then....

So this means that you can be holding the ball in a maul, drop it to the ground voluntarily or involuntarily, and if even it stays between the players' feet to form a ruck, you can pick it up again? This must be a heck of a thing to referee, considering that any number of other players might've had a hand on the ball too at the qualifying time, and others might've had a hand near it but not on it. Who thinks up these crazy things?
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Old Tue Jan 12, 2010, 10:57am
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No, I think the critical word is present tense "have" (not 'had'). This is the picture in my head...I tackle you...we both go to ground...you release the ball. I get to my feet before you, and no one has yet commited to the ruck. As I put my hands on ball which is still on the ground, the ruck forms. The Law allows me to play the ball on the ground with my hands.
But maybe not...
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Old Wed Jan 13, 2010, 06:08pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bellnier View Post
No, I think the critical word is present tense "have" (not 'had'). This is the picture in my head...I tackle you...we both go to ground...you release the ball. I get to my feet before you, and no one has yet commited to the ruck. As I put my hands on ball which is still on the ground, the ruck forms. The Law allows me to play the ball on the ground with my hands.
But maybe not...
This is exactly the case. It is the only exception allowing handling in the ruck.

Given the official desire to streamline this phase, I would have preferred it if they had gone in the other direction and restricted handling post tackle rather than liberalized it. Rucking requires players to use their arms to bind, not handle.
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