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'Croc roll just rewards bad attack': Ben Ryan makes final plea to World Rugby ahead of law review

By Josh Raisey
England's Jack Willis suffered a brutal knee injury (Photo by Getty Images)

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Ben Ryan has made a final plea to World Rugby to outlaw the croc roll ahead of a law review. The former Fiji 7s coach has been a longstanding advocate of outlawing this method of clearing out at a ruck, saying it can lead to catastrophic injuries. 


The knee injury sustained by England’s Jack Willis in the Guinness Six Nations last February was a gruesome example of the inherent dangers of this area of the game which Ryan has frequently warned about.

Ryan has also emphasised in the past that the croc roll should already be illegal as it sees a player go off their feet and intentionally collapse a ruck. He addressed World Rugby in a tweet this week imploring them to make changes. 

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“Hope they finally do something about banning croc rolls as they can cause catastrophic injury and are a blight on all levels of the game.”

His plea was not universally supported by others on Twitter, with some saying the crocodile roll is an effective way to clear out jacklers. Indeed, figures within the game have argued that the crocodile roll is a positive way of creating a contest on the ground. 

Referee Nigel Owens has in the past said the technique is not penalised because collapsing a ruck is a byproduct of the player clearing out rather than the intention. In the face of this opposition, Ryan outlined the ways in which attacking teams could avoid handing more power to jacklers if crocodile rolls were to be eliminated. “Well, firstly you could get there early and not get beaten by the jackal.


“Or offload, or pass, or beat that defender, or create a dynamic mini maul, or use better footwork pre-contact to give your supporting players more time. The game needs to have competition but the croc roll just rewards bad attack. The game would positively respond and players and coaches would find better ways to attack and clear. You don’t have to have all the solutions right now to take away what is a dangerous and illegal action.”

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