World Rugby Laws - World Rugby's Law Education Web Site: Law 15: Ruck
15 Ruck


    The purpose of a ruck is to allow players to compete for the ball which is on the ground.


    Forming a ruck

  1. A ruck can take place only in the field of play.
  2. A ruck is formed when at least one player from each team are in contact, on their feet and over the ball which is on the ground.
  3. Players involved in all stages of the ruck must have their heads and shoulders no lower than their hips. Sanction: Free-kick.
  4. Offside at a ruck

  5. Each team has an offside line that runs parallel to the goal line through the hindmost point of any ruck participant. If that point is on or behind the goal line, the offside line for that team is the goal line.
  6. At a ruck, the offside line runs through the hindmost point of the hindmost player of either team. The player in the yellow jersey on the right-hand side is offside.

    Joining a ruck

  7. An arriving player must be on their feet and join from behind their offside line.
  8. A player may join alongside but not in front of the hindmost player.
  9. A player must bind onto a team-mate or an opposition player. The bind must precede or be simultaneous with contact with any other part of the body.
  10. Players must join the ruck or retire behind their offside line immediately.
  11. Players who have previously been part of the ruck may rejoin the ruck, provided they do so from an onside position.
  12. Sanction: Penalty.

    During a ruck

  13. Possession may be won either by rucking or by pushing the opposing team off the ball.
  14. Once a ruck has formed, no player may handle the ball unless they were able to get their hands on the ball before the ruck formed and stay on their feet.
  15. Players must endeavour to remain on their feet throughout the ruck.
  16. All players in a ruck must be caught in or bound to it and not just alongside it.
  17. Players may play the ball with their feet, provided they do so in a safe manner.
  18. Players on the ground must attempt to move away from the ball and must not play the ball in the ruck or as it emerges.
  19. Players must not:
    1. Pick the ball up with their legs.
    2. Intentionally collapse a ruck or jump on top of it.
    3. Intentionally step on another player.
    4. Fall over the ball as it is coming out of a ruck.
    5. Kick, or attempt to kick, the ball out of a ruck.
    6. Sanction: Penalty.
    7. Return the ball into the ruck.
    8. Take any action to make opponents believe that the ruck has ended when it has not.
    9. Sanction: Free-kick.

    Ending a ruck

  20. When the ball has been clearly won by a team at the ruck, and is available to be played, the referee calls “use it”, after which the ball must be played away from the ruck within five seconds. Sanction: Scrum.
  21. The ruck ends and play continues when the ball leaves the ruck or when the ball in the ruck is on or over the goal line.
  22. The ruck ends when the ball becomes unplayable. If the referee decides that the ball will probably not emerge within a reasonable time, a scrum is awarded.