Is It Time We Looked At The Tackler Not Rolling Away Law?

Clever or just plain cheating?

Not rolling away. How many penalties per game are conceded because of this law? I’m not gonna do the numbers, but it’s a lot. The real question is how many of these penalties are genuine and actually the tacklers fault?

The law itself is vital and hugely important at the breakdown, but the problem lies within attacking teams abusing it to their own advantage. If you ask us, pinning someone down in the tackle forcefully, denying them any chance to roll away, should be a offence in itself.

You can call it clever rugby, or ‘the dark arts’ as some say, but we’ve moved beyond that. Those days are gone. Rugby is a professional sport, and it should be a fair one. The days of mischief and rule bending at the breakdown should be well and truly behind us at this stage.

When a player completes a tackle he must release the tackled player, and must move himself away from the ball. Failure to do so will result in a penalty to the opposing team. Likewise the tackled player must release the ball and allow players from both teams compete for the ball. Basically what the rules are saying here is the breakdown must be competitive, with both teams given an opportunity to take control of the ball.

If the tackler must move away from the ball and the tackled player must release it, why is the player coming to to clear-out allowed to interfere with the tackler and pin him down? Is this not making it an unfair contest? Is this not milking a penalty? Is this not akin to diving in football?

Here’s the actual rule.

15.4 The tackler

(a)
When a player tackles an opponent and they both go to ground, the tackler must immediately release the tackled player.
Sanction: Penalty kick

(b)
The tackler must immediately get up or move away from the tackled player and from the ball at once.
Sanction: Penalty kick

The player must immediately get up or move away from the tackled player. Sounds simple enough. But how do you move if you are being forcefully restrained? Should this be allowed? No it shouldn’t, but it happens consistently. And before you say it, it’s not the tacklers fault for ‘getting himself in that position’ or ‘not moving quick enough.’ That’s nonsense and you know it.

Let me leave you with the most blatant abuse of the law you will ever see from Dan ‘the penalty machine’ Cole, during Leicester’s loss to Munster last night. You will not see a better example of the law being abused.

 

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