Hello and hi. On Sunday, like many here in the UK, I turned on the telly and expected to see a ‘normal’ rugby game. Actually, I expected to see a fast moving game where England would show the Italians how the game is played with style, finesse and great speed. Oh sure, Italians can play rugby at a pretty good level, but let’s face it..England knows how to ‘throw it down.’
The England national rugby union team represents England in rugby union and have won the Six Nations Championship on a total of 27 occasions (13 times winning the Grand Slam) making them the MOST successful team in the tournament’s history. The belaboured point I am trying to make here is…those boys know about rugby and play it awfully well. So….I was expecting an easy win over the Italians last night. Yes England won but…holy cow! What the heck was going on? Someone…please tell me.
So, this happened….
- England beat Italy 36-15. Applause. Woot woot!
- England rugby head coach Eddie Jones was pretty steamed at the visitors’ rucking tactics
- Initially, England struggled a bit against Italy’s ‘tactics’
- Italy played a strange, tactical game…was it even allowed? Was it legal? What the heck was going on? Someone…please tell me
- There was a tackle…and an offside line. I was confused.com while watching (and so was EVERYONE ELSE)
- The Italians were not off side-Italy was not committing anyone else to the tackle area-Poite (the referee) could NOT call a ruck…
Still confused? Me too. In brief, a ‘ruck’ is formed when at least one player from either team compete at the breakdown above the ball after a tackle (I am told). In that situation-any opposition player has to come from the CORRECT side of the ruck-and through an imaginary one metre gate. Hence players being penalised for coming in from the side, or not through the gate. IF THERE IS NO RUCK FORMED…the only offside line is directly around the tackle area. So, imagine an England and Italian player collide and a spotlight is shining on them (in a darkened stadium-for argument’s sake)…that is the tackle area and the ONLY offside line is directly around them.
The opposition (the Italians) can then stand where they want-and they did. Once one or more players from either side come through the gate correctly from their own try-line side of the pitch-then that becomes a ruck as they then compete for the ball. And that is when the width of the pitch offside rule comes in. In that particular scenario…the Italians could NOT stand on the England side as they would be offside.
But is this a new law in rugby? Nope. It has been around for years. But the Italians deployed this little plan and everyone was bewildered…including the England players and they even asked Poite (the referee) for an explanation. Please read that sentence again. They actually asked the ref what the heck was going on. Then England players (along with the UK) were left totally befuddled, confused and a lot more too. Referee, Poite had a pretty hilarious response: “I’m not your coach, I’m the referee. It’s not for me to work out your strategies.” Yes. Indeed. Well said. I mean…hot damn.
So, what gives? Why didn’t England not know about this particular law/aspect of the game? Actually no one did. Or did they? I am confused.com. So, was it in the spirit of the game to use this little known tactic? Dunno. Basically, rugby is similar to a game of chess…in the sense that any breakdown position a side, will have 6 moves they can choose from-but seeing a member of the opposition stand between nine and ten disrupts that.
I hope I explained that well. Please know that I tried really hard but still confused.com. Also..and this is important although not relevant but…yellow and blue make GREEN. That I know for sure. In short, it was a weird, wacky and interesting game. England won and that is the crux of it. And this American blogger is going back to her BREXIT posts. Rugby is real hard to understand. Yes, yes it is. That is all.