Nigel Owens was taking no nonsense in yesterday’s Champions Cup semi-final between Racing 92 and Saracens, clamping down on the practice of “caterpillar rucking”.
The tactic has crept into the game in recent times and involves players forming a string of bodies bound out of a ruck so as to protect the scrumhalf from being charged down as he attempts a box kick.
Reliably informed that Barnes may have done it to Bristol last season. But still. Point made.— Sam Roberts (@samrobertsrugby) September 26, 2020
King John has done it once.https://t.co/d8HEeLFg7E
— Elgan Evan Alderman (@WelshMinor) September 26, 2020
As effective as it is, there have been rumblings around the rugby world about the time wastage associated with it – a reservation that Owens clearly shares.
During the game yesterday, Owens, upon seeing the Racing players about to form the caterpillar ruck, repeatedly shouted “Use it!” to scrumhalf Teddy Iribaren before awarding Saracens a five-metre scrum.
“He’s absolutely right,” said former England international, Ben Kay. “It’s the first time I’ve seen that. It was the slowest ruck I have ever seen. The Racing fans won’t be happy but I think rugby fans will be happy.”
Owens was his usual, quirky self on the night:
Racing managed to put one over Saracens yesterday in an exciting spectacle in which the creative brilliance of fly-half Finn Russell flourished.
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