Never a dull moment in Currie Cup

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks on 3 Aug 2017 at 09:47
Tagged with : , , ,

Rob du Preez and the other Sharks coaches will hardly have had much time to rest on their laurels after a reasonable victory over the Pumas last week.

Some crazy scheduling, coupled with a few rather sudden law changes are sure to keep both coaches and players on their toes over the next fortnight and it’s already starting to shape up as a bit of a make or break period for the team, who are already in catch-up mode after losing heavily in their first game of the season. That fixture, against the Cheetahs, was hardly a fair contest given that the Sharks were forced to send a severely understrength team due to a scheduling conflict that saw the Super Rugby quarterfinal played the same weekend.

There’s more of the same coming up, as SA Rugby tries in vain to shoehorn a relevant Currie Cup schedule into an overcrowded calendar already stuffed to the brim with full-fat (or over-fat?) versions of Super Rugby and the Rugby Championship. There’s little room these days for what always used to be the “premier domestic showcase”, but even so, the timing of the “special round” of midweek matches must raise some eyebrows. The Sharks, after facing Griquas on Friday, play the Blue Bulls at Loftus on Wednesday followed by the Lions in Joburg next Saturday. That’s three big games in the space of 8 days and it’s a complete lottery as to how the coaches and players are going to approach a schedule like that.

There does lie some hope in the fact that the Bulls face the Lions on Saturday before playing the Sharks on Wednesday, so may be a little sore themselves ahead of that Loftus clash. I’m also secretly hopeful that the Sharks, in playing the Lions just a week after the Super Rugby final, may be able to exploit a hangover of one sort or another.

Adding to the chaos are six new laws that will be trialled in all domestic rugby, starting this weekend. Yes, that’s right, they’re actually changing the laws mid-competition, if you can believe it. Here’s a breakdown of what’s changed:

1. Law 20.5 and 20.5 (d) Throwing the ball into the scrum

No signal from referee. The scrum-half must throw the ball in straight, but is allowed to align their shoulder on the middle line of the scrum, therefore allowing them to stand a shoulder width towards their own side of the middle line.

Rationale: To promote scrum stability, a fair contest for possession while also giving the advantage to the team throwing in (non-offending team).

2. Law 20.9 (b) Handling in the scrum – exception

The number eight shall be allowed to pick the ball from the feet of the second-rows.

Rationale: To promote continuity.

3. Law 20 Striking after the throw-in

Once the ball touches the ground in the tunnel, any front-row player may use either foot to try to win possession of the ball. One player from the team who put the ball in must strike for the ball.

Sanction: Free-kick

Rationale: To promote a fair contest for possession.

4. Law 15.4 (c)

The tackler must get up before playing the ball and then can only play from their own side of the tackle “gate”.

Rationale: To make the tackle/ruck simpler for players and referees and more consistent with the rest of that law.

5. Law 16 Ruck

A ruck commences when at least one player is on their feet and over the ball which is on the ground (tackled player, tackler). At this point the offside lines are created. Players on their feet may use their hands to pick up the ball as long as this is immediate. As soon as an opposition player arrives, no hands can be used.

Rationale: To make the ruck simpler for players and referees.

6. Law 16.4: Other ruck offences

A player must not kick the ball out of a ruck. The player can only hook it in a backwards motion.

Sanction: Penalty

Rationale: To promote player welfare and to make it consistent with scrum law.


  • I would love to see the 23-man squad be introduced as well…seriously

  • Comment 1, posted at 03.08.17 10:09:11 by DuToit04 Reply
  • I’m lazy. How do changes number 4 and 5 differ from the current laws?

  • Comment 2, posted at 03.08.17 10:59:02 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • Don’t think the law changes are trials. They are to be implemented in Jan 18 in the SH and if I’m not mistaken from begining of NH season next month. Just brought forward for the benefit of Cheetahs & Kings I suppose.

  • Comment 3, posted at 03.08.17 11:02:32 by McLovin Reply

  • @vanmartin (Comment 2) : let me try explain

    number 4 – currently, the tackler is allowed to get up and play the ball from anywhere…. coaches focus on what they call the “golden space” beyond the tackle, where currently only the tackler has any rights to the ball. It’s a bit of a loophole in the laws because it means that if the tackler can get to his feet quickly enough, there is essentially no offisde line for him. This change means the tackle is treated like any other payer and has to respect the offside line.

    5 – currently you require one player from each team to be “over the ball” for a ruck to be formed. Now you only need one player from either team (ie. once the “third player” gets there, a ruck is formed). Might try find Morne….

  • Comment 4, posted at 03.08.17 11:06:56 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 4) : Who is Morne?

  • Comment 5, posted at 03.08.17 11:22:17 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • @robdylan (Comment 4) :

    Quite correct actually.

    At a tackle the tackler has no off-side lines and can play the ball from anywhere provided he gets to his feet. The problem with this is as Rob says tacklers often loiter on the wrong side preventing the tackled player from effectively placing the ball or support players to clean effectively. Example, in a tackle the attacking team commits 4 players – the tackled player, two cleaners and a halfback. If the first cleaner cleans the tackler, they have two guys on the ground and have to send in another player as the second cleaner – it is a tactic a lot of teams use to get defending numbers over attacking numbers.

    The 5th one is a bit badly worded but again spot on. Main thing here is to try and get rid ‘tackle only’ scenario where opposition teams stand off a tackle to avoid the call for ruck which in turns immediately sets off-side lines – remember what Italy did against England???

    So as soon as a player ‘binds’ to a tackled player or team mate on the ground, off-side lines are set irrespective if an opposition player is also part of that tackle situation.

    Hope it gives some context to the ‘thinking’ behind it.

    BTW these laws were used in Junior World Cup. I quite liked them, especially the kicking of a ball out of a ruck.

  • Comment 6, posted at 03.08.17 11:25:37 by Morné Reply
  • @robdylan (Comment 4) : @Morné (Comment 6) : thanks Gents. Number 4 in it’s original form seemed to have left to wide a door open for interpretation as I honestly was never sure what the law actually was from simply watching games. The limits of that ‘golden space’ seem to currently be contentious.

    Number 5 I actually understood correctly but the wording made me unsure. Thanks for clarifying. Wonder if the England/Italy game heavily influenced this one?

  • Comment 7, posted at 03.08.17 11:38:18 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @vanmartin (Comment 7) : Bet your ass it did. As for interpretation again 100% correct. It left refs with too much interpretation leverage which means each ones officiates it differently. This hopefully will make it clear cut so there is no room for different calls in the same situation.

  • Comment 8, posted at 03.08.17 11:42:28 by Morné Reply
  • @Morné (Comment 8) : regarding number 3 – does this mean an attacking team can concede a free kick at the scrum if they do not attempt to hook?

  • Comment 9, posted at 03.08.17 11:52:51 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 9) :


    This is to avoid those long scrum duels where the scrum is stationary with the ball lying in the middle or the tunnel.

    You get this a lot at international level, ref can’t do anything and the result is 20 or 30 sec scrums which most of the time ends in a collapse or penalty of sorts.

    Attacking teams wants to scrum with all 8 players, which you can’t if your hooker has to hook or ‘strike’ the ball (you basically lose his contribution for that split second).

    Another way to avoid milking penalties also

  • Comment 10, posted at 03.08.17 12:21:00 by Morné Reply
  • I’m happy with these rules and anything that reduces a ref’s “interpretation of a law” is a good one in my mind. 2 thoughts though:

    1. With any front rower being able to hook are we doing to see a change in how our props and hookers look in the future? As I can’t see the point of a hooker hooking anymore, I’m sure the loosehead will be hooking immediately; so will our front row all start looking like props at some point?

    2. The one law I think that seems to be completely ignore by refs is the, no playing the ball on the ground. The amount of times I see players tackled, then they roll and then crawl on their hands and knees is staggering. Also the player being tackled, holding the ball in the air waiting to pop it up only then to decide he’ll rather place it, or going to ground placing the ball, then pulling the ball back so the arriving player can’t poach the ball. Al these are things I see in just about every match and never get blown anymore. Surely the law makers need to remind the refs that this is a key rule to the game and one that they need to start paying more attention to. We seem to have let this one slide in an effort to speed the game up.

  • Comment 11, posted at 03.08.17 12:30:28 by Hulk Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 4) : @Morné (Comment 6) : This brings an interesting question to mind – Is Morne continuously monitoring this site, or did you contact him by another means? 😀

  • Comment 12, posted at 03.08.17 13:03:36 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @Hulk (Comment 11) :

    Will be very difficult to have your props do this as this will bring great instability to either side.

    Refer to what Rob side about the King’s Space – the meter beyond contact. The team who control’s this space controls the game.

    @Bokhoring (Comment 12) :

    I am omnipresent 😈

  • Comment 13, posted at 03.08.17 14:24:13 by Morné Reply
  • @Morné (Comment 13) : Except for for 1 hour 20 minutes and 43 seconds 😆

  • Comment 14, posted at 03.08.17 16:43:58 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @Hulk (Comment 11) : @Morné (Comment 13) : yes think as a prop I’d love mo opponent trying to hook a ball as with two legs Ill murder him on one leg worrying about hooking and not scrumming!!
    I’m sure hooking wil be left to the players who got their name for doing it!
    Thanks for your input Morne and yes I think some of these changes could work. One change I’d still love see change is the bindjng of the props. Personally I’d like the tight head to do a shorter bind with the loose head doing the longer over bind. Think that would also add more stability to the scrums.

  • Comment 15, posted at 03.08.17 22:02:13 by JD Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator
  • The new laws sound like a good idea. Hopefully they’ll remove a lot of contentious decisions.

    I’d love to see a rule implemented that prevents a maul from a lineout being driven over the 5m line. I think it would create more of a spectacle for fans if the attacking team can only drive until 5m from the tryline and then has to swing the ball wide and use speed and skill to score tries instead of the driving maul.

    @Morné (Comment 13) : Any drawbacks to this idea about the 5m limit?

  • Comment 16, posted at 04.08.17 10:23:14 by ChrisS Reply
  • @JD (Comment 15) : I agree about the binds. Something definitely needs to be done as the scrums aren’t always stable and props often change their bind a number of times during a game.

    I’ve never played in the front row but the lack of stability is worrying as it can lead to some bad injuries.

  • Comment 17, posted at 04.08.17 10:24:59 by ChrisS Reply
  • Not true but funny

  • Comment 19, posted at 04.08.17 11:54:53 by jdolivier Reply

  • @jdolivier (Comment 19) : Thanks, best joke of the day so far!

  • Comment 20, posted at 04.08.17 12:27:13 by HeinF Reply

  • @jdolivier (Comment 18) : Damn, that whole website is funny.

  • Comment 21, posted at 04.08.17 13:29:55 by Hulk Reply

  • @jdolivier (Comment 18) : 😆

  • Comment 22, posted at 04.08.17 16:54:03 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • @ChrisS (Comment 16) :

    Teams will go back to kicking all those penalties at the posts again.

  • Comment 23, posted at 04.08.17 17:54:39 by fyndraai Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld

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