Someone at the IRB has clearly been reading the Harry Potter books, as the somewhat silly “yes, nine” referee instruction, indicating that a scrumhalf should feed a stable scrum, is to be axed in favour of a “non-verbal signal”.
This change, according to Planet Rugby, will come into effect immediately, across all levels of the game. The signal to be used will be agreed ahead of time by the ref and the two (or four?) scrumhalves and will take the form of a tap, nod or (in the case of Nigel Owens) wink. The idea, I guess, is to avoid giving the opposition pack a clear heads-up that the ball is about to be fed, which those in the know consider to be a serious lessening of the advantage that a scrum feed is meant to provide.
The onus will still be on both referee and scrumhalves, though, to ensure a steady and stable scrum prior to the feed, thus a scrumhalf can be penalised for feeding prior to this “signal”. Let’s hope that sanity prevails and that refs and players alike quickly agree and standardise on a clear, unambiguous instruction to avoid any confusion.Tweet