Maul law changes for Super Rugby

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Super Rugby on 26 Feb 2016 at 15:19
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I’m a little late in hopping onto this one, but I wanted to point out a rather significant law change that will apply to Super Rugby this year.

A player holding the ball in a maul will no longer be allowed to “work his way” to the back of the maul with ball in hand. That will now (correctly) be blown as obstruction. The only way the ball can now make its way to the back of the maul is through being passed to a player behind the ball carrier.

Bear this one in mind the first time you see what would previously have been a legitimate maul turn into a penalty.

In other changes, penalties awarded after the full time or half time hooter may now be kicked to touch, with a guarantee that time will be allowed for the ensuing lineout to take place. There’s also a change to the scrum law. A wheeled scrum does now not automatically mean a turnover in possession to the defending team. If a scrum goes through the 90, the ref must determine whether there was foul play involved (and apply the appropriate sanction). If not, the attacking team retains the possession as the scrum is reset.


  • Matt Pearce reckons “Tweak is good, but as I have said before, eradicate the maul and prepare for boring impenetrable defences and less space wide”.

    Two observations:
    1. The space out wide is a moot point if teams keep mauling the ball over trylines.
    2. “boring impenetrable defences” are countered by innovative attacking play but I’m sure rugby doesn’t need that.

  • Comment 1, posted at 26.02.16 15:30:09 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • Saw no effect of the new rules in the Brumbies v Canes. The mauls were still just as unstoppable (legally).

  • Comment 2, posted at 26.02.16 15:32:40 by Seth101 Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter Author
  • Sheesh the law changes regarding the maul sounds really hard to officiate. So the ref will need to keep track of who caught the ball, and that every ball carrier in the maul passes the ball back instead of moving back. Mauls can be complex with so many bodies, and it is often hard to see where the ball is. This doesn’t sound very practical. I’m not a big fan of mauls, and welcome any changes to the laws that makes scoring tries using the maul harder, but this almost seems to give the officials another avenue where dodgy 50/50 calls can go to or for your team, depending on the ref.

  • Comment 3, posted at 26.02.16 15:56:44 by jakkalas Reply

  • So you pass backwards and remain at the front preventing opposition to access the carrier directly. Is than not still obstruction?

  • Comment 4, posted at 26.02.16 16:59:15 by coolfusion Reply

  • @coolfusion (Comment 4) : true enough. A bit like deck-chair shuffling

  • Comment 5, posted at 26.02.16 17:04:10 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 5) : Just wish this particular Titanic would do us all a favour and sink a little faster

  • Comment 6, posted at 26.02.16 17:14:15 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @coolfusion (Comment 4) :

    Rugby laws define no such thing as obstruction inside a maul, scrum or ruck. It has always been like this.
    A maul ends when the ball carrier exits. This is what they would be ruling here. When the ball shifts from one properly bound player to another, the maul does not end and obstruction is not possible.

  • Comment 7, posted at 26.02.16 23:41:11 by fyndraai Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @vanmartin (Comment 6) :

    When it does, teams will take many more kicks at goal and place kickers such as Morne Steyn will be even more crucial. That’s how it was before the penalty exception for line-out possession existed.

  • Comment 8, posted at 26.02.16 23:54:54 by fyndraai Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @robdylan (Comment 5) : @vanmartin (Comment 6) :@jakkalas (Comment 3) : geez I’m so glad about this rule change!!!! This is originally how it was done when I was still playing. “Swimming” to the back was not allowed so you had to pass the ball back!!! Really glad they stopped this but poor maul “tailing” specialist try scorers like Flo and Bossy will now score fewer tries!!!

  • Comment 9, posted at 27.02.16 01:03:19 by JD Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator

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