Decoy Runners – Not always legal
It is becoming increasingly common for the leading teams to employ decoy runners in second phase play, ahead of their strike runners, writes Phil Rice (bio below)
The decoy runners are usually slower movers who act as obstructions either visually or even physically at times. I have yet to see a referee even warn a team for this practice let alone penalise them.
I have frequently seen decoy runners hold back defenders off the ball but because they are slightly away from the action and everything outside them is moving at pace, the perpetrators get away with it.
Next time you see decoy runners masking faster runners coming from behind, keep your eye on the actions of the decoys rather than following the ball and the attackers in possession.
Touch judges should be spotting illegal blocking and holding back but they very seldom do. This is a technique that originated in rugby league, if you watch them they have got obstruction off to a fine art.
Professional fouls are increasingly common in union and the ref’s are behind the eight ball.
Pic: Sporting Occasions.
Bio: Phil Rice has joined the KnockOn.ie crew of writers. He has extensive experience in coaching and rugby journalism from time spent living in London where he worked with BBC Southern counties radio and local papers within the Guardian newspaper group. He played for London Irish and later became Head Coach of their Academy. He was Head Coach of Ealing RFC and since returning to Ireland was Head Coach at an AIL club prior to working with Lansdowne Under 21′s