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Exeter use controversial rucking loophole

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Exeter's use of controversial 'ladder rucking' loophole criticised

Exeter Chief’s controversial use of a ruck loophole has come in for heavy criticism online, with many suggesting the practice should be banned.

The Chiefs deployed the tactic in their 24-20 Gallagher Premiership victory over Worcester Warriors in Sixways, and it didn’t go unnoticed on Twitter.

The ‘ladder rucking’ technique sees players attaching to a ruck to form a single line of consecutive players, one after the next.

The technique effectively means the hind most of foot of the ruck is several metres away from the nearest opposition player, and thus give halfbacks space and time to kick at their leisure, sure in the knowledge defenders haven’t a chance of effecting a tackle.

An image of the loophole was posted by Chris Clarkson on Twitter. He wrote: “The sooner this ludicrous loop hole gets taken out of the game the better. Looks ridiculous.”

The Tweet drew hundreds of responses, most arguing for the loophole to be closed as soon as possible.

Harlequins hooker Scott Baldwin, did, however, point out that Exeter and England prop Harry Williams hadn’t bound onto the tackled player and that it was no longer technically a ruck and that the ball was in fact out.

Whether the technique catches on or not is yet to be seen, but it made for quite a sight at Sixways.

Worcester’s Director of Rugby Alan Solomons described his side’s defeat to Exeter as “heart-breaking”.

With less than 15 minutes remaining, Worcester still led 17-10 but two crucial errors cost them the match.

First Worcester were set to be awarded a scrum on half-way only for replacement, Michael Fatialofa, to charge in and concede a reckless penalty. Exeter knocked the ball into the corner and from the driving line-out Matt Kvesic crashed over.

Then Chris Pennell made a hash of a clearance and Exeter had the necessary platform to go through 32 phases before Harry Williams crossed for the match-winner.

Jack Maunder scored Chiefs’ first try with Joe Simmonds converting all three and adding a penalty.

Solomons said: “I’m dreadfully disappointed as it is heart-breaking not to get a win out of that.

“It’s a tragedy as the players played so well as we were able to match them physically.

“It’s fine margins but you can’t afford to give away silly penalties and make unforced errors.

“A player loses his head for a moment and we rightly concede a penalty for a no-arms tackle then we shank a kick when under no pressure.”

Thus Worcester threw away their advantage as Perry Humphreys had scored two first half tries for them with Duncan Weir kicking a penalty and two conversions as they built up a 17-3 lead.

Solomons added: “We should have been 17-3 up at half-time but we gave them a try at a crucial stage. So we knew the first 10 minutes of the second would be vital and I was pleased at how we dealt with that period.”

Additonal reporting PA

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Exeter's use of controversial 'ladder rucking' loophole criticised