IRB SCRUM DIRECTIVE (Effective 04/01/14)
You may not have noticed recently that the referee does not now tell the scrum half to put the ball into the scrum, this is why: -
In a minor revision to the current protocol surrounding the on-going scrum engagement global trial, the International Rugby Board has confirmed that referees will use non-verbal communication to indicate to the scrum half when the ball can be thrown into the scrum. Up to now as part of the scrum trial, the referee has told the scrum half that the scrum is ready for the put-in by the use of the phrase 'yes nine'. But following an initial review, including consultation with national coaches and referee managers, it has been decided that referees will adopt a non-verbal communication to scrum-halves for the introduction of the ball in accordance with the relevant law (20.5 Throwing the Ball Into the Scrum). With the new procedure now the verbal "Yes 9" has been dropped: If the 9 is on the far side of the scrum the referee will raise his hand and nod his head in a yes motion when he believes that there is sufficient stability for the ball to be put in. If the 9 is on the putting in side he will give the 9 a tap on the back when he believes that there is sufficient stability for the ball to be put in Referees need to continue to referee all of the other elements of the scrum trial including: pushing BEFORE the ball is introduced to the scrum by the 9 and clear and obvious put-ins that are not straight.