IRB change ‘yes, nine’ call(Update)



IRB is to ditch the current “yes, nine” scrum call in favour of a non-verbal, pre-agreed instruction. This change will take place with immediate effect, and is being introduced at all levels of the game worldwide.  Referees will no longer give a verbal instruction of “yes, nine”, and instead will issue a non-verbal instruction to the scrum-half when he/she considers the scrum to be square and stable.

Planet Rugby has reported that this change will take place with immediate effect.

The non-verbal instruction must be agreed by the referee and both scrum-halves prior to the start of the game and could be in the form of a tap on the back while the referee is on the side of the put in, or an agreed signal (nod of the head or hand signal) by the referee while he/she is on the non putting in side of the scrum.

Referees must continue to insist on a stable and square scrum prior to instructing the scrum-half to put the ball into the scrum. Scrum-halves who put the ball in prior to the non-verbal command by the referee to do so will still be liable to being penalised.

It is confirmed!!!

Joël Jutge, the IRB’s refereeing boss, statement reads: “Up to now, the referee has been asked to tell the scrumhalf that the scrum is ready for the put-in by the use of the phrase “yes nine”. But following an initial review, including consultation with national coaches and referee managers, it has been decided that referees will adopt a non-verbal communication to scrumhalves for the introduction of the ball. This is in accordance with the relevant law [20.5 Throwing the Ball Into the Scrum].

“The change is effective immediately and will include this week’s Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup matches in the northern hemisphere (January 9-12). It will also include the next rounds of other elite competitions, including the Top 14 in France [January 24], Premiership in England [February 7-9] and the Pro12 in other parts of Europe [February 7-9].

“As with the original protocol, it is up to individual Unions to decide whether this change will be adopted at levels below Elite Rugby.”

The IRB is reluctant to do away with referee control altoegtehr as that could revert to early pushing which it seeks to avoid so that scrums are stable and stationary befopre the ball is put in.

Law 20.1 (j) Stationary and parallel. Until the ball leaves the scrum half’s hands, the scrum must be stationary and the middle line must be parallel to the goal-lines. A team must not shove the scrum away from the mark before the ball is thrown in.
Sanction: Free Kick


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Better known as Bunny, Took over after Pissant went over to the "Dark Side"


  1. It is to combat two things which was deemed unfair to the team in possession. Firstly allowing the opposition hooker to strike at the same time as the ball is put in under instruction and secondly to negate a collective 8-man against 7-man shove from the opposition team. The call was the perfect trigger for all 8 opposition forwards to start pushing while the team in possession are down to 7 with their hooker needing to strike the ball under the strictly applied straight feed law.

    Advantage at the scrum should go to the team that has the ball, with this call it went the opposite way on many occasions.

    If opposition teams wish to call themselves upon put in then it is up to the timing and accuracy of their player who calls, so good luck to them.


    It is similar to the ref telling the opposition exactly what jumper they are going to throw to in a line out and instructing the hooker exactly when to throw it so they can get their timing right.

  3. @Morné:

    I don’t drink wine! :tpuke:

    anyway – getting back to the scrum. The call is not that important but the statement: “Advantage at the scrum should go to the team that has the ball, with this call it went the opposite way on many occasions” is the issue!
    that statement says to the ref – don’t worry about the straight feed – the team in possession should have the advantage! and the “on many occasions” is absolute BS! If the opposition win 1 or 2 scrums of 20 is not MANY IMO.




    You of all people should know it is not only about winning the scrum ball but disrupting the scrum for the team in possession giving them bad ball to work with.

    The straight feed has been sorted out to make it contest, the timing of the strike and push should remain with the team in possession as their advantage and this is what this amended call now does.

  5. I am with Morne on this one JT, too many times these days that the attacking team gets the low end of the stick. Advantage of a scrum should be to the team that gets it, not the cheaters.

  6. I’m interested in how this new wrinkle will effect the play of Rory Kockett & given this change….what SA S15 franchise would be best suited to implement this key piece of the WC winning puzzle in their side ASAP.

  7. But the team in posession ALWAYS has the
    advantage – the ball is thrown in from their
    loosehead side, which means their hooker is
    closer to strike?

    ♦I’ve seen this putting the ball in straight
    being relaxed in most of the December tests
    – hopefully it gets reigned in again.

    ♦I’ve also noted some refs not quite knowing
    when the scrum is stable – waiting too long
    for the command.

    ♦Varsity Cup will introduce jerseys with a
    good grip attached to them. Will be very
    interesting to see if it improves scrums.

  8. @Boertjie:

    Hookers strike with the outside of their leg, i.e. their right leg on his tighthead (that is his right side Dawie, the guy with the number 3) which does not give the other team that much of a space advantage.

    Remember the Boks wanted to make similar changes to their 2007 RWC kit and the IRB refused the ‘grips’ or ‘handles’ on the side of the props jersey.

    My suggestion to this situation is the ref should not instruct the scrumhalf in any way when to put it in, he should call the scrum steady, once he makes the call of ‘steady’ the scrummy must put the ball in in a reasonable time from the call, i.e no longer than 5 seconds from the call.

  9. Can’t wait for implementation of these Scrum Strap jerseys.
    Has their been experimenting with these in competitive play? What is the preliminary on them?

  10. @Morné:

    he is a lefty and the bind does not change too much, He heels it back and can then focus on pushing.
    When I played I used my right leg in a sweeping motion to hook the ball back on my own ball. However I used the same technique as my lefty on opposition ball (heeling it back) I was totally ineefective to support my props on my ball but won a lot of opposition ball on the strike.
    Like you say – what works for the hooker is important, don’t try and coach something that works for you on a player that has his own technique.