Scrum law clarified for uncontested scrums

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 14:35
Large law book 2018 800

World Rugby has issued a comprehensive document to clarify some aspects of Law relating to games which revert to uncontested scrums. It is about what happens when a team of 23 players has a front-row player carded. It could suffer more as a result.

If a team is unable to play with contested scrums because they have a front row player yellowcarded or redcarded, that team will have their on-field playing numbers reduced by TWO:

- The player who has been issued with the yellow or red card
- A nominated player must leave the field as a sanction for the team being unable to contest scrums

Clarification 1 - 2018

These clarifications correlate specifically to fixtures where 23 player squads are in effect:

- Test Matches / Super Rugby / (New Zealand) Mitre 10 Cup / (New Zealand) Jock Hobbs Memorial National Under-19 Tournament

When 23 players are named in a squad, the Laws require there to be:

- a starting loosehead prop - a replacement loosehead prop
- a starting hooker - a replacement hooker
- a starting tighthead prop - a replacement tighthead prop

When a front-row player is tactically replaced, they are subsequently able to return to the field for:
- an injured front row player
- a player with a blood injury
- a player undertaking a head injury assessment
- a player who has just been injured as a result of foul play
- a front row player who has been yellow/red carded

If a front row player is yellowcarded or redcarded, then the following process takes place:
1) The player who has been issued with a card leaves the field, the team reduced by 1 player

Where there IS a suitably trained front row player available to be used:
2) If there is another player on the field who is suitably trained to play in the ‘vacant’ front row position, then, at the next scrum, that player moves into the front row and the game continues with contested scrums

3) If there is no such player on the field, but there IS a suitably trained player on the reserves/replacements bench, then, at the next scrum:
a. A player is nominated to leave the field
b. The suitably trained replacement player joins the game
c. Contested scrums remain in force

Where there is NOT a suitably trained front row player available:
4) Scrums will become UNCONTESTED

5) A further sanction will be applied for the team not being able to contest scrums
a. A (nominated) PLAYER MUST LEAVE THE FIELD and the team reduced by a 2nd player

6) If there is ANY front row player available to play, that player must play in the front row before a non-front rower does so

7) In the case of a yellow card, at the completion of the 10 minute sin-bin period, playing numbers revert to 15 (both the yellowcarded and nominated player return to the field)

8) Uncontested scrums MUST be 8 players versus 8 players