Suppose a runner is heading across the field at 150 degrees....and he passes to the right....backwards out the hands. What is absolutely guaranteed? The ball will travel forward!
Backwards out the hand only makes sense if the player is heading substantially straight up the field. If he is heading at about 70 degrees as the Crusader was at Newlands, the ball should go backwards.
But it didn't....on a 10 metre pass it went 2 metres forward relative to the field. Ah but it was drift they say. Maybe there was some drift, but the player had been virtually stopped dead 15 metres before by a JJ tackle....and his momentum up the field wasn't that great.
This was a forward pass, and the Saffa commentators have bought into the NZ whining, without even thinking. Incredible!
The truth is this is a terrible rule, requiring calculations that a ref can't make. Show me a pass which is backwards out of the hand, and I'll show you an offload. Every pass is forward out the hands....it's the swing of the arms they are trying to gauge.
But hold on the wrists and even the fingers can mitigate that swing....it's unreliable. If you apply that rule as the only determinant, some passes which go laterally or even backwards....are actually forward out the hands.
Are we then going to call them forward passes? Of course not. The rule is really backwards or backwards out the hand.
Every lateral pass from a player drifting substantially to the right is forward out of the hands....and therefore a forward pass according to the rule.
If the objective is that a ball should not go forward, except for drift.......we have the most complicated rule in sports. Impossible to referee without technology....not just visual technology.....a chip and an algorithm.
Ninety five percent of passes go backwards relative to the field, as always intended. Apply the old rule.....rugby doesn't rely on drift as a spectacle.