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World Rugby issue law clarification to prevent Saracens ruck tactic

World Rugby Saracens

World Rugby have issued a law clarification which discourages the use of the so-called “crab ruck” that Saracens have utilised in recent times.

The “crab ruck” tactic is a variation of the “caterpillar ruck”, which sees a number of attacking players bind to each other to form a long ruck, which increases the distance between the opposition defence and their scrum-half.

This is usually done to allow the scrum-half to perform a box kick under little to no pressure, as there is several metres between him/her and the opposition defence.

The “crab ruck” is an interesting twist on that tactic, as defensive players bind to the teammate in front of them, before both players twist around, in order to effectively bypass the offside line and close the distance between them and the opposition scrum-half.

‘These actions should be discouraged.’

World Rugby have released a statement on the “crab ruck”, saying that defensive players must be behind the hindmost foot of the attacking player who was tackled, although they have made no comment on the “caterpillar ruck”.

“Recently there have been instances of rucks being extended sideways which gets the last player very close to the opposition nine when he/she is box kicking. This reduces space and the options available to players,” the statement reads.

“Adding players to your own side of the ruck, in order to advance closer to the opposition side of the ruck squeezes the space available and compromises the clearance of the ball from the ruck. These actions should be discouraged.

“If a player is fully bound and they have moved beyond the offside line then they must return to be behind the hindmost foot before being able to be involved in play, once the ball is out or is played from the ruck.”

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