In a pool match in the IRB Sevens in Port Elizabeth, Lucas Hammond of Canada darts ahead and is stopped five metres by Cecil Africa and Branco du Preez of South Africa.
Connor Braid and Sean White of Canada and Chris Dry of South Africa join in.
Four metres from the South African line, the referee calls: "Maul."
It has been one of South Africa's Sevens tactics to hold a ball-carrier up, form a maul and get the scrum when the maul falls down.
This time Canada keep shoving and when the maul falls, it is over the South African line. The referee proclaims: "held up. Red scrum, five metres."
And Canada put the ball into a five metre scrum.
Look at some law:
Law 22.10 BALL HELD UP IN-GOAL
When a player carrying the ball is held up in the in-goal so that the player cannot ground the ball, the ball is dead. A 5-metre scrum is formed. This would apply if play similar to a maul takes place in in-goal. The attacking team throws in the ball.
Unsuccessful end to a maul
Law 17.6 (b) A Maul ends unsuccessfully if the ball becomes unplayable or collapses (not as a result of foul play) and a scrum is awarded.
Is it still a maul?
Law 17.1 FORMING A MAUL
(a) Where can a maul take place. A maul can only take place in the field of play.
Field of play?
Law 1. DEFINITIONS
The Field of play is the area between the goal lines and the touchlines. These lines are not part of the field of play.
Here is a thought: The maul ended when it reached the goal-line. The ball had not come out of the maul and so the maul had ended unsuccessfully and so it should have been a South African ball.
Here is another thought: By the time the maul reached the goal-line, the ball had not become unplayable, nor had it collapsed. So the law of 'held up' came into play.
Actually the Laws of the Game themselves contain the solution:
Law 17.5 SUCCESSFUL END TO A MAUL
A maul ends successfully when :
• the ball or a player with the ball leaves the maul
• the ball is on the ground
• the ball is on or over the goal-line.
When the maul reaches the goal-line it is over and successfully over. Then it was just a matter of what happened to the ball. because it was held up, it was a five-metre scrum, attacking ball.
The referee was right.
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