• Help Support The Rugby Forum :

Cheating or merely 'playing the game'?



One thing that always without a doubt crops up when New Zealand play is the legendary issue about slowing the ball down at the ruck or sneaking a turnover out of nowhere. All Black captain Richie McCaw is a bona fide genius at just such an art as many players will testify.

Before him however there were others. Richard Hill for example was excellent at just such a thing, something which frustrated and infuriated just such an All Black side in 2003 when England toured.

Opinion among rugby greats is divided over whether it is 'cheating' or just merely 'playing the game'. Iieuan Evans comments on the RUCKU podcast with Will Carling and Zinzan Brooke that it is catagorically cheating. He is joined, mostly by other greats in the back row who have suffered at the hands of such arcane arts of the ruck.

On the other hand, England heroes Will Carling, Richard Hill and Martin Johnson as well as Zinzan Brooke contend that it is playing the game. That it is just bending the rules at most rather than breaking them.

Richard Hill notes in a recent interview that:

<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE("The Silent Assassain" (i.e. Richard Hill))</div>
"Slowing the ball down is a skill, as much as anything else," he insists. "People think it's cheating - it's not.

"It's not giving the attacking player the luxury of landing how he wants to, taking people out of their comfort zones."[/b]

The debate continues. Your thoughts?
Technically speaking, killing the ball is cheating.

Hence why penalties are given out if the offender is caught, followed by cards for persistent infringing.

However, doing this in order to gain an advantage is part of the game. I will quite happily go spare at a referee for not punishing these kind of tactics when they go unnoticed against my team, but recognise that's what a flanker's job is.

I class this kind of cheating, which doesn't harm anyone, in a totally different way to dirty play such as stamping, punching etc.

Trying to get hands on opposition ball has a place in the game, foul play doesn't.
I agree with Saintsfan Webby on this one- although it is technically cheating, I would much prefer the rule to be changed in order to allow slowing down of ball to become legal. I for one prefer a team being able to defend- as a South African, having to suffer through endless Super 14 series with basketball-like scores of 53-35, I would seriously advocate a rule change allowing hands in the ruck.

Rugby should be a contest between 2 sides, not a case of seeing who can hold onto possession for the longest period, thereby eeking out penalties/cards for the opposition. If slowing the ball down by using hands in the ruck were to become a law, it would result in defence becoming more possible- at the moment the laws are unfairly weighed in favour of the ball carrier- he`s allowed 2 seconds to place the ball as he wishes, the tackler cannot compete for the ball and has to release the tackled player and roll away, allowing the attacking team yet more possession. And then there is the issue of hands in the ruck........

I would honestly not classify slowing down the ball cheating, merely stretching the rules in order to play the game.
I wouldn't want to go as far as actually making handling the ball on the floor. The attacking side should have the advantage in retaining possession - plus the dark arts of the flanker take a large amount of skill to get away with while avoiding the gaze of the referee.

As long as referees show some consistency, particularly at international level, then I personally think the laws on this are fine the way they are.

Everyone knows it is cheating and realises the consequences if they are caught doing it.
I think legalizing it may have negative effects on the game in general, and could well lead to overly defensive, boring games. I think it's good the way it is, as it forces skillful players to tread a fine line... something which Mr McCaw does particularly well, but even he can get caught out.

I agree that it is not in the same league as foul play, but it can be used in a negative way, and legalizing it is not the answer!
it depends who richie mcCaw is playing for if hes playing for your team hes great, if hes not playing for your team or against your team hes a cheat!
Leave the laws alone, but don't call it cheating. It's part of the game and a flankers black arts are part of the fascination which is Rugby.
I am a qualified referee, not neccesarily the best but I consider myself fairly decent. So I have a complete understanding of the rules. The fact of the matter is, there are literally hundred's of infractions that go on during a game but you can't call them all or there would be no flow. A scrum half for example is technically not allowed to "dig the ball out" but every ref let's it go. The law book is not supposed to be a definite, but a guideline to provide some order to how the game is played. So it's not what the ref does or does not see, or what is or is not legal; it's what infracrations occur on the field the ref deems to give one side an advantage over the other.
Interesting to note that Graham Henry does not like the current laws at the tackle situation. Yes he trains his boys to exploit the current laws by contesting to the limit every ruck situation but his philosophy on how the game should be played moves away from that slow ruck style and more towards an open faster expansive play.

Graham Henry and other leading ex AB's have strong opinions on how the tackle situation should be ruled. However they are not administrators so their power is limited at the moment.
I dont think its cheating , if the ball is not protected properly at the breakdown then why shouldnt it be played as long as your on your feet?.The abs have perfected quick ball from the ruck by blowing the opposition away from the ruck and not giving the opposition a chance of spoiling.Use it or loose it.

Latest posts