ARU Smart Rugby – The Ruck

ARU Smart Rugby – Ruck Definition

A ruck is defined as two opponents in physical contact over the ball on the ground. As soon as a ruck is formed, players can no longer use their hands to win the ball.
Determining when to ask players to take their hands off the ball is a very tough area to referee.

The IRB has made it clear that if a player has their hands on the ball at a tackle, he is allowed to keep contesting for the ball even if a ruck forms over the top of him. Referees should allow players who get to the ball first to win a turnover. This poaching player has one shot at the ball. If he doesn’t get his hands on the ball, or is driven off the ball by the opposition, then if a ruck has formed around him then no player may handle the ball.

ARU Smart Rugby – Joining Players

Once the ruck forms, players joining a ruck must bind onto a teammate. You can no longer drive out
opposition players like you can at a tackle.
Players finding themselves on the ground can’t interfere with the ball coming out. You may ruck the ball, but you may not ruck the body of players to get at the ball.
Players not bound in the ruck must be behind the last feet of players in their team in the ruck.


ARU Smart Rugby – Ball Out

The ball is not out of a ruck until the ball comes completely clear of the ruck. Many players call “hands on” but these players are wrong. Hands on is not necessarily out. 
The scrum half or player clearing the ball must be allowed to dig the ball out from amongst bodies and cannot be touched by an opposition player in the ruck until the ball is completely clear of bodies and out of the ruck.

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