I noticed that, for a long time now, the crooked feed became the norm in international rugby. When did this practice start? Why is it not policed by the refs?

1 Answer 1


It has been a problem in the international game since at least the 2007 world cup, when just before the world cup an edict was sent to the IRB referees to police the feed.

However they have taken the decision that the straightness of put in falls so low down the priority order that it gets ignored, with only the most outrageous examples being penalised.

The argument is that the scrum is a restart and a slightly crooked feed is 'immaterial' in the grand scheme.

As referees in general we are asked to think about can I not blow my whistle not can I blow my whistle to improve the game for players and spectators.


In the World Rugby law changes for 2017-18 the scrum half was allowed to stand with their foot on the mid point of the scrum so that their body was nearer their own team. This gives an advantage to the putting in side and has generally reduced the extremes of putting the ball into the second row.

  • Good point about the refs. Scrums are a slow enough part of the game at the moment without stopping every time the ball isn't quite straight. Commented Aug 13, 2015 at 7:53
  • I played college ball in the late 90s in the US. We would get a stop for the slightest alignment issue - some refs were just crazy with it. But I will say - I played wing - I loved when the opposition got tilted away and I was on the short side. I am in the open field and have to beat two guys max for a try. I do understand the issues with the tilt - our front line for sure would come over and discuss this if they saw I had a matchup that was favorable. And sometimes they would just keep tilting until ref gave up (ala seahawks/patrioits PI in nthe NFL)
    – Coach-D
    Commented Mar 18, 2019 at 18:19

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