Monday, 29 July 2019

Position of thrower's feet at a lineout

In the 2017 laws, the only requirement in Law 19.6 is "The player must not step into the field of play when the ball is thrown".  However Law 6.B.5 (d) Exception 1 says: "When the player throwing in puts any part of either foot in the field of play the touch judge or assistant referee keeps the flag up."
This was never enforced - all throwers stand with feet crossing the line.
I was therefore pleased to see that in 2018, Law 18.22 says: "The player throwing in the ball stands on the mark of touch with both feet outside the field of play . The player may not step into the field of play until the ball has been thrown." 
Standing with a foot  on the touchline means the foot (and player) is out of play.  Excellent!  Unfortunately Law 6.26 c. still  says: "When the ball is thrown in, the assistant referee or touch judge lowers the flag, with the following exceptions:
i. when the player throwing in puts any part of either foot in the field of play."
Personally I shall continue to regard "both feet on the touchline" as legal even if the toes do overlap it.
Peter Shortell
Gloucester & District Referees Society

Thanks for raising this Peter. 

The Rugby Ref is in full agreement.  Feet on the line being ok would seem to be a pragmatic position to take.  There are bigger fish to fry and more important battles to fight than stopping play for this.


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