Friday, 25 November 2016

Long Throw In Question

I'd like to ask a question concerning Law 19.15, concerning a long Throw In.
The law states that if the player throwing in throws the ball beyond the 15m line, a player of the same team may run forward to take the ball as soon as the ball leaves the hands of the player throwing in. If that player does so, opponents may also run forward.
In the context of this law, does the scrum half (or receiver) of the team throwing in, constitute “a player of the same team who may run forward to take the ball…….” and therefore trigger the defending team player encroaching within 10m of the line of touch, or does it have to be a player of the attacking team who stands 10m from the line of touch?
Thanks for your help.david
Hi David

Law 19.5 concerns players who are NOT part of the lineout. So if an attacking player who is "not part of the lineout" runs forward from the 10m offside line, then an opponent who is also "not part of the lineout" may run forward from his 10m offside line.  Note however that if the ball fails to travel over the 15m line then the attacking player who ran forward first is offside and must be penalised.

Now to the part of your question concerning the scrum half.  Since Law 19.5 only applies to player who are "not part of the lineout" the simple answer is no.  However for the full story we have to look to a different law, Law 19.14 - Offside When Taking Part In The Lineout.
19.14(f) Long throw-in. If the player who is throwing in throws the ball beyond the 15-metre line, a player taking part in the lineout may run infield beyond the 15-metre line as soon as the ball leaves the hands of the player throwing in.
If this happens, an opponent may also run infield. If a player runs infield to take a long throw in, and the ball is not thrown beyond the 15-metre line, this player is offside and must be penalised.Sanction: Penalty kick on the 15-metre line
 A lineout player may run infield in the same way as none participating players may run forward. But they are two separate laws and cannot be merged together.  So if the attacking scrum half (or any other player in the lineout) runs infield in anticipation of a long throw, then the opposing scrum half (or any other of his lineout players) may also run infield. But it doesn't allow a none participating player to run forward.

To answer your specific question therefore; an attacking lineout player running 'infield' does not allow a defender to run 'forward'.  Likewise and attacking none lineout player running 'forward' does not trigger an opponent to run 'infield'.  The two actions (running infield or forward) are separate.

One final word though.  Once the ball has crossed the 15m line the lineout is over so anyone can move anywhere.

This was a good question that demonstrates that individual laws cannot be read in isolation.

The Rugby Ref

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Question on the Laws, jumping over a player

Hi there,
last weekend i refereed my first 15s game and the following occured. A ballcarrier got tackled in the defending teams 22. Tackler and tackled player went to ground, however the tackled player managed to pass from the ground to his supporting player while the tackler was kneeling on all fours (hands and knees).
I was happy with all that. However the support player was running such a line that he couldn´t stop and jumped over the kneeling defender. No contact was made between the two. I deemed this dangerous play and gave a penalty to the defending team. Was i right?
Greetings Hilmar
Hi Hilmar

Jumping over a player is not specifically against the Laws of the Game, but dangerous play is.

If a ball carrier jumped over a prone player lying on the ground, play on.

If a ball carrier attempts to hurdle a would be tackler who is crouching, that would be dangerous as his boots would be in very close proximity to the tacklers head, Penalty.

Your situation sounds somewhere in between, so was it dangerous?  That would be a decision for the referee on the day, sometimes events have to be seen and judged at the time.  If you thought it was dangerous, then it was, and you were correct to give a penalty.

Good question
The Rugby Ref

Tuesday, 15 November 2016


Dear Ref,
Ball carrier is tackled, and goes to the ground and presents, one of his players joins to ruck and is met by the first defender who pulls him towards him, over and to the floor. I'm happy that it would be a penalty to the attacking team but I'm not sure the particular law
Stephen Guest
Hi Stephen

Technically that 'could' be collapsing the ruck, but that law is a safety issue where a large ruck is collapsed, which is dangerous for any players on the floor beneath it.  This law is very rarely used and certainly not in the circumstances you describe.

Personally, The Rugby Ref would do nothing and wait to see what develops. In reality the player who was pulled through would probably roll away and rejoin from his own side, someone else would take his place and the ruck would reform, play would continue.

Remember Stephen, we don't want to blow the whistle if we don't have to.  Let's try to keep the game flowing.

The Rugby Ref

Monday, 14 November 2016

Sealing in the Ruck

Would value your judgment on this one!!
A player is tackled and goes down, presents the ball and two team mates come in to form a ruck. They both latch on to his shirt with their hands while he is on the ground and the ruck forms behind them. They seem to use the fallen player as a barrier to prevent the opposition from accessing the ball on the ground.
Would you ping the grounded player  for not rolling away?  Or the two shirt-holders for going in too low? Or for being off their feet because their hands are on the grounded player?
This seems common practice but to me it is iffy.
Would appreciate views on this .
Thank you

Hi Peter

If the team mates are leaning on the player on the ground, then they are off their feet.  If you knocked their arms away would they fall over?  If so they are off their feet.  Potential penalty.

The act of grabbing the grounded players shirt is in itself not a problem, but if the opposition try to ruck them off the ball and they use this grounded player as an anchor, then that is a potential penalty.  If they drag the grounded player back with them, and the ball goes with him that is a potential penalty.

You can almost take your pick of reasons for giving the penalty.  Sealing off by the team mates, not rolling away by the ball carrier, or holding on by the ball carrier if he takes the ball with him as he is dragged back.

Thanks for a good question.
The Rugby Ref

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Taking a quick free kick for an early shove.

Afternoon, I hope you are well. 
Can a team given a free kick for an early shove at a scrum take the kick straight away or is there a requirement to have the packs disengaged before taking the free kick ?
Thank you 
Regards David Forrest

Hi David

Good question.  The team can take the Free Kick quickly, generally speaking referees are in favour of allowing a team to play at a high tempo providing it is done correctly and safely.

The place for the Free Kick is the centre of the scrum, obviously this place isn't accessible if the scrum is still formed, so moving backwards from the mark the nearest place to take the kick is at the base of the Number 8's feet.

A proviso against his would be if the scrum had collapsed for some reason, when the referee might want to make sure everyone got up safely before allowing the game to continue.
21.2 WHERE PENALTY AND FREE KICKS ARE TAKEN(a) The kicker must take the penalty or free kick at the mark or anywhere behind it on a linethrough the mark.....
It should also be noted that this action puts the teammates of the Free Kick taker who are still engaged in the scrum, in an offside position, and as such they cannot take part in the game until they have been put onside.

The same would apply for a Penalty Kick at a scrum.

The Rugby Ref

Hookers 'binding' in scrum

Hi rugby ref, 
I've been hooking 13 years. On occasion, an opposing hooker intentionally goes head to head during '"bind," blocking me from correct head position at the 'cup' of my opposing hooker and prop. Then at "set" the hooker ducks into the 'cup' of the shoulders.
The ref calls "set" once the front rows are ready. Are hookers head to head considered 'ready' for "set"?

Hi Kyle

The law states that front row players must interlock heads, ear to ear.  On the command "Crouch" and "Bind" front row players are expected to be in a position ready for "Set".
20.1 (f) Front rows coming together. First, the referee marks with a foot the place where thescrum is to be formed. Before the two front rows come together they must be standing notmore than an arm’s length apart. The ball is in the scrum half’s hands, ready to be thrown in.The front rows must crouch so that when they meet, each player’s head and shoulders areno lower than the hips. The front rows must interlock ear against ear so that no player’shead is next to the head of a team-mate.
The Rugby Ref would not consider hookers being forehead to forehead as being ready.  This is usually a tactic by one or the other hooker to intimidate the opposition, and as such it is a potential flashpoint.
The Rugby Ref would stand up a scrum forming in that way and explain that heads need to be "in the gap".  So the answer to your question is "No".

Thanks for the question
The Rugby Ref

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Place kick for touch

When Argentina played Australia, Sanchez tried a PK for goal, but the ball hit a post and rebounded into touch without another player touching it.  Wayne Barnes awarded the lineout to Australia in line with Clarification 2 of 2006 which laconically says:
"If the penalty kick is for goal, then it is a lineout defending team to throw in.Law 21.4(d)."
It also adds "If the penalty kick is for touch, therefore no place kick, then it is a lineout attacking team to throw in."
21.4 (d) is now 21.4 (e).  The kicker "must not place kick for touch"  If he does so, the sanction is an opposition scrum at the mark for the penalty.
If a "place kick FOR touch" implies intention, then in this case it was obviously accidental, and a PK into touch leaves the throw with the kicking team.
If a "place kick FOR touch" includes accidents, then the outcome should be a scrum.
How did the Designated Members reach their conclusion? 
Peter Shortell 
Hi Peter

Unfortunately I am not privy to the Designated Members decisions.  I do not even know who the Designated Members are?  So cannot help with how they came to this conclusion.

Like a policeman I do not write the laws, I just uphold them.  In the example, which was a kick for goal, Wayne Barnes got the decision correct.

Ours not to reason why......

The Rugby Ref