Friday, 24 February 2023

Trash Talk

 Hi Ref,

Is trash talk illegal in Rugby games?

As a ref, should I penalize the trash talker? Based on which law?

Here, the trash talks are not dirty talks. For example, “the hooker cannot throw straight” during a line out; they play like a kids….

Stuff like that.



Hi Bly

This will depend to some degree on which country you are in, but is also covered in Law.

In England the RFU have rugby values, or TREDS.

Teamwork:  Respect:  Enjoyment:  Discipline:  Safety 

These are the values that players, coaches and referees should be adhering to.  Stepping outside these values is against the spirit of the game.

The rugby values are covered in law by Law 9.27

Law 9 Foul Play

27. A player must not do anything that is against the spirit of good sportsmanship.

 The sanction for breaking Law 9.27 is a Penalty, but referees should manage this in the first instance by reminding the players of the core values of the game, then escalating if necessary.  Ask, Tell, Penalise.


The Rugby Ref

Monday, 26 September 2022

Kick Forward question

Hi there Ref

I saw a situation the other day and was not sure if it was legal or not and request your advice.


Blue team backs have the ball in the middle of the park and the centre chips the ball forward and all the backs advance, The parson who chipped the ball get to the bouncing ball first and kicks it off the ground as its bouncing, a second blue player who was just in front of the this person collects the bouncing ball collects the ball and scores a try.

So was he off side if he was in front of the player kicking the ball? I don’t think it could be a forward pass as a kick is not a pass is it ?

Hi Alan

Thanks for your question.   

Law 10.1 A player is offside in open play if that player is in front of a team-mate who is carrying the ball or who last played it. An offside player must not interfere with play. This includes :

a. Playing the ball.

b. Tackling the ball-carrier.

c. Preventing the opposition from playing as they wish.

So after the second kick, the team-mate in front of the kicker is offside and must not interfere with play. Since the player in front "played the ball" he did interfere with play.  Penalty.

Thanks for the question

The Rugby Ref

Thursday, 8 September 2022

RIP Her Majesty The Queen

 On behalf of the rugby union community in England, we offer our condolences to the whole Royal Family at this time.

We are deeply grateful for Her Majesty’s support of our sport over many years, including serving as the RFU’s Patron for 64 years, helping the Union to celebrate its centenary in 1971, her reception at Buckingham Palace after England won the Rugby World Cup in 2003, and honours bestowed on many of those who have served the game.

Her Majesty earned the respect and affection of generations of rugby players and supporters here in the England and around the world.

The St George’s Flag has been lowered to half mast at Twickenham Stadium.

Friday, 29 July 2022

Summary of Law Changes for the 2022 season


Following the World Rugby Council meeting in May 2022, a number of law changes have

been made. These all come into force for the whole game on 1 July 2022.

The five current Global Law Trials Goal Line Drop-out, 50:22, jackler protection, banning pre-bound pods in open play (flying wedge) and approving a single latcher will become full law.

There are two new Global Law Trials

- Brake foot - At the scrum, hookers must have a brake foot in place during "Crouch" and "Bind" phases, and is removed on "Set".  This is to reduce axial loading on the hookers.

- Water carriers - New restrictions on medics and water carriers have been introduced as well as formalising technical zones into law. This is primarily related to the elite game, but the principles apply to all levels of the game.

These will become Global Law Trials until at least the end of 2023. There are also a number of

minor amends to law that have arisen from previous clarifications.


Wednesday, 13 October 2021

Leggings now legal for all players.

A new law amendment from World Rugby, effective immediately (12 Oct 2021), will mean that all players now have the option of wearing tights/leggings on any playing surface.

The World Rugby Executive Committee today approved an amendment to the laws of the game and Law 4 will now be extended. Currently permissible for women, Law 4 – covering player’s clothing – will now be extended to all participants with immediate effect, enabling the wearing of tights or leggings that are a cotton blend with a single inside leg seam.

The announcement has been made on welfare and accessibility grounds and reflects the growing worldwide use of World Rugby Regulation 22 compliant artificial surfaces at both the elite and community levels, which have played a role in increased rugby accessibility and participation. With some players susceptible to abrasions on artificial surfaces, the decision gives players the option to wear tights or leggings as a preventative measure, maximising access to the game.

World Rugby have said they will continue to work with unions and registered artificial turf providers to ensure that rigorous best-practice maintenance programmes are observed that minimise the risk of abrasions, particularly in relation to brushing and watering especially in hot conditions.

The wording does not restrict leggings to any particular surface, so leggings may be worn in any match, on any surface.

New law wording:

Law 4: Players clothing.

Section 3: Additional clothing list – new section K added:

4.3 Additional items are permitted. These are….:

k) Cotton blend long tights or leggings, with single inside leg seam under their shorts and socks.

The Rugby Ref 

Monday, 4 October 2021

Taken Back In


Just watching the All Blacks v S Africa game and a Springbok player kicked from his own 22 with the ball landing a metre or so outside the All Black's 22 which obviously is not a 50:22.

The All Blacks Outside Half picked the ball up out of play and staying out of play retreated behind his 22 line, he then threw the ball quickly to his winger who was in the 22 who then kicked directly to touch within the Springbok's half - should this have been classed as taking the ball back into your own 22 with the line out throw awarded to the Springboks in the All Blacks 22.


Hi Rob

Good question, and yes you are correct, the ball was taken back into the 22, so no gain in ground should have occurred and the resulting lineout should have been in line with where the ball was kicked.

Law 18.7 refers to this and is accompanied in the Law Book with a diagram to illustrate it.

18.7. If the mark of touch is outside the 22, the defending team may take the quick throw inside the 22 but is deemed to have taken the ball into the 22.

The Rugby Ref 

Wednesday, 18 August 2021

Global Law Trials

The following global law trials apply to competitions beginning on or after 1st August 2021.

World Rugby GLT's LINK


The trial

If the team in possession kicks the ball from inside their own half indirectly into touch inside their opponents’ 22, they will throw into the resultant lineout. The ball cannot be passed or carried back into the defensive half for the 50:22 to be played. The phase must originate inside the defensive half.

Primary intention

To encourage the defensive team to put more players in the backfield, thereby creating more attacking space and reducing defensive line speed.

Goal line drop-out

The trial

If the ball is held up in in-goal, there is a knock-on from an attacking player in in-goal or an attacking kick is grounded by the defenders in their own in-goal, then play restarts with a goal line drop-out anywhere along the goal line.

Primary intention

To encourage variety in attacking play close to the goal line and to increase ball in play time by replacing a scrum with a kick that must be taken without delay. An opportunity for counter attack is also created.

Flying wedge

The trial

To sanction the three person pre-bound mini-scrum by redefining the flying wedge.

Primary intention

To reduce number of events where the ball carrier and multiple support players are in contact (latched) prior to contact, and to protect the tackler who can be faced with the combined force of three opposing players.

1-player pre-latched

The trial

To recognise the potential for 1-player pre-latching prior to contact, but this player must observe all of the requirements for a first arriving player, particularly the need to stay on their feet.

Primary intention

To be more consistent in the management of the 1-person pre-latched player.

Cleanout and the safety of the jackler

The trial

To introduce a sanction for clean outs which target or drop weight onto the lower limbs.

Primary intention

To reduce injury risk to the player being cleaned out.