First, the maul needs to start legally. At a kick-off or line-out, team-mates often put themselves ahead of the ball-catcher. This is a ploy to protect the catcher. At a line-out, this pre-maul obstruction is used so that the ball catcher cannot be “sacked” or brought to ground.
Second, assuming the maul has started legally, confusion can arise when the ball is moved to the back of the maul. The players in front of the ball appear to be guilty of obstruction!
“Truck and trailer” is the term used to describe obstruction at a maul. However, when the maul starts, all players are onside, and when the ball is moved to the hindmost player, those players in the maul, that are caught ahead of the ball, can’t just disappear.
The situation is similar for the front row of a scrum when the ball is at the eighth man’s feet. If the player with the ball breaks away from the maul and has a player on his team in front of him, the defenders cannot get to the ball carrier, resulting in a penalty for obstruction. If, however, the defending team withdraws from the maul, leaving only attacking players ahead of the ball, then the maul can continue, as the attacking team is not guilty of any infringement.
This does not apply to a line-out, where the attackers catch the ball and the defenders do not engage the opposition. If the ball is moved to the hindmost player of the attacking team and the defenders now engage the attackers to form a maul, it is a penalty offence, because it is pre-maul obstruction - ie there was no maul when the ball was transferred to the hindmost player.
Third, “changing lanes” is where the attackers break away to the left or right from the original maul and then start a new maul. If team-mates are in front of this new maul, it is construed as obstruction.
Conversely, if the maul is moving forward and defenders peel off to the left or right, leaving the original maul with attacking players only, they can continue forward, as this is not a new maul, and obstruction does NOT apply. Extremely confusing to the public and sometimes to even referees!
Fourth, once a maul is formed, players must join, by binding on their hindmost team-mate in the maul. They cannot “swim” around the side of the maul or join the maul from the side, but, if they are “caught up” in a maul, they can work themselves through the middle until they can grasp the ball or ball-carrier.
Why would the attacking team collapse a maul. Makes no sense what so ever
I see Gatland sitting with a golden generation and Wales have certainly underperformed. They should be really doing better with the squad and the players they have
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