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