Playing the 9

One of the intriguing things that you often come across is the syndrome where commentators on TV use phrases to explain referee decisions which are not actually in the laws. I’m not saying the commentator is wrong, just that they invent phrases as a shorthand. This becomes more of a problem when players also start to use the phrase, and the link to the actual laws has been lost. A great example is “Playing the 9”. You will often hear this phrase when a scrum-half is tackled before or as she is reaching into a ruck to get the ball. But if you look at the laws you will see nothing specific about this infraction. As is often the case, it is actually a combination of laws which make it illegal to tackle the scrum-half at a ruck when she doesn’t have possession of the ball.

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