When a player carrying the ball is about to be tackled in rugby union, they often brace themselves for contact with their arm.
Here’s what they can and can’t do explained by Wayne Barnes.
“We often see a ball carrier when they’re about to be tackled, lower their height and brace themselves for contact,” he said.
“Here we see Michelangelo bracing, ready for Raphael to tackle him using either his arm, his bicep, or even his shoulder to make sure that tackle is more difficult. That’s perfectly legal.
“What Michaelangel can’t do is lift his arm just before the contact and smack Raphael in the head. That’s illegal, that’s foul play and that will probably mean a card to the Turtle here [the tackler].
“So feel free to drop your height, keep your arm next to your body, but don’t raise it at the last moment. And that’s why you’ll hear referees talking to their TMOs and saying ‘at the point of contact, where was the arm? Against the body or away from the body?’
“What is fine though, is after that initial contact, with the arm against the body is to push the player away. So what we’re looking for, arm against the body on contact and then arm pushing away after contact. All of that is perfectly legal.”
DID YOU KNOW? Wayne Barnes was once voted the third most-hated man in New Zealand after his failure to spot a France forward pass that helped dump the All Blacks out of the 2007 World Cup.
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3. Richie McCaw
“I’ve been on the field with some of the great captains, John Smit, Sam Warburton and Richie McCaw,” said Barnes.
“Richie always had the knack of asking the right question at the right time, sometimes it felt like I was losing a little bit of control.
“Contrary to popular belief, he didn’t talk a lot on the field. He knew the law book inside out and so when he asked a question, he often had a point.”