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'How can we allow this to happen?': Rugby's laws under spotlight after Blues-Reds clash

By Sam Smith
(Source/Sky Sport NZ)

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Caterpillar rucking has once again come under the spotlight after the Queensland Reds were spotted using one to clear a box kick against the Blues in their 53-26 loss at Eden Park.

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The image shows Reds halfback Tate McDermott preparing to hoist a kick with four forwards standing up connected in a line to extend the ruck backward. One Reds player is on the ground, however zero Blues players are engaged in proceedings.

Twitter user Alan Zondagh questioned: “How can we allow this situation to happen in rugby? What is it?”

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“It’s not a maul, it’s not a ruck. No defenders in contact with attackers.”

The problem seems to be ongoing in professional rugby as rule makers struggle to get a grip on rucking to promote more contests during ball in play time.

To have no defenders in contact with attackers at any time during phase play where the ball is not moving seems to be inherently against the original intentions of the game.

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Fans could not agree whether this was technically a ruck as there were zero defenders involved at the breakdown.

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In this instance it was likely the Blues players had already retreated from the ruck to form the defensive line as the recycle was so slow with the Reds preparing for a kick.

Other fans believe the problems around the breakdown stem from the Italy England game where the Italians stunned the English by refusing to form rucks, therefore there was no offside line.

After that game, the offside line laws were amended to be in force once a tackle was made, not a ruck formed.

Overall, the Blues-Reds Super Rugby Pacific contest was a highly enjoyable high scoring affair with plenty of attack from both sides as the home side ran rampant.

Whether the game can stamp out caterpillar rucks altogether remains to be seen.

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