Our former elite match official agrees with South African pundits on tactic supposedly used by Munster

It has been dubbed the “Cannon arm” by SuperSport pundit Swys de Bruin, as he described a tactic he believes Munster and others in Ireland have utilised – explaining the manoeuvre as a picking ball-carrier putting a hand to the ground as they go forward, in order to keep a low trajectory as they carry and also to help propel them forward.

And according to Rugby World‘s Secret Ref, the South African pundits have a point. As the former elite match official tells us: “This (video) is very interesting. Because the technique makes a fair contest almost impossible.

“There used to be something in law about going into contact with the shoulders above the hips but I suspect it might have been scrubbed in one of the constant rewrites of the law book. So you get things like this.

“It is definitely very dangerous.”

Earlier in May, World Rugby gave a clarification in law over grounding the ball in the act of attempting to score, on top of an object like a dislodged corner fag. So expect some to put the above issue to the sport’s governing body soon…

What is the cannon arm in rugby?

The SuperSport analysts look at incidents of ball-carriers placing their hand on the ground, near the point of contact.

As de Bruin describes in the play-by-play breakdown above, “There’s the hand down… It’s set up for a cannon… The cleaning is past and it’s very dangerous.”

The concern here is two-fold: As the pundits point out, in scrums or mauls players are not allowed to put their weight through an arm or arms touching the ground, and the lower angle may decrease the potential area a tackler can legally and safely target. But also, the carrying player may be at risk of injury using their arm in this way in high-traffic areas.

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