Sunday, 30 January 2011

Question from Kevin Morrissey in Dubai.

The Rugby Ref has received a question from Kevin which asks:

Can a team make a substitution at penalties. ?

Simple question so many versions: My understanding is that the team who was awarded the penalty may make a substitution with the permission of the Ref as they decide how long the ball is dead, one assumes that if they make a sub, then the opposition may also sub but may not initiate it. Normally it would appear that subs at a penalty is a no-no.
Comments/help please

Well Kevin, the law is very simple on this, it says:

Substitutions may only be made when the ball is dead and with the permission of the referee.

There is also a clarification in law on this subject:

Ruling 2-2007 (extract)
Date 12 March '07

1. A penalty kick is awarded to White team. Before the kick is taken, can White team make a substitution?

Ruling of the Designated Members of the Rugby Committee
A substitution can only be made when the ball is dead. A referee must not let a player rejoin the match until the ball is dead. The ball is dead when the ball is out of play. This happens when the ball has gone outside the playing area and remained there, or when the referee has blown the whistle to indicate a stoppage in play, or when a conversion kick has been taken.

In the case outlined above, the ball is dead, and therefore the answer to the question is in the affirmative.

What would The Rugby Ref do?
Well, if the attacking team want to take a quick tap penalty, then The Rugby Ref is not going to allow anything to prevent this or slow it down.  This includes the defending team throwing the ball away, the defending captain wanting to ask a question, or the defending team wanting to make a replacement or substitution.
However, if the attacking team want to make a replacement or substitution, then they are allowed to do so as the ball is dead when The Rugby Ref blows his whistle for the penalty.  If they decide to make a replacement or substitution, then the defending team would also be allowed to do so.

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