Monday, 3 October 2011

The Long Throw In.

Saw this in the Canada - NZ game and there was no call.

The line-out had formed and Canada had the throw-in. The thrower made a long throw almost to the centre of the pitch and a back ran forward and caught it and proceeded up the field. Nothing wrong with that I believe.

But the throw was clearly not straight as the back caught it at least a couple of meters behind the line of touch. Was this just a missed call, or does the fact that the throw in went beyond the 15 m line allow this? I've reviewed Law 19, but could not note an exception.

The NZ commentators we get for the WC coverage were not amused!


Steve, thanks again for another great question. 

What we need to know is, was the throw straight to start with, as it passed along the line of touch, between the two sets of players?  The Rugby Ref is going to assume it was, since the referee didn't call it not straight?

As you correctly believe, the throw may go beyond the 15m line, but can it be called "not straight" at that point?  Lets look at the relevant law:

law 19.9(b)
Lineout ends. The lineout ends when the ball or a player carrying it leaves the lineout.

This includes the following:
When the ball is thrown beyond the 15-metre line, or when a player takes or puts it beyond that line, the lineout ends.

So once the ball has travelled past the 15m line, the lineout is over.  As long as it was more or less straight up to that point, we are fine.  So in the scenario you witnessed, the referee was correct to let it go.

Steve, don't pay too much attention to the commentators.  They are not hired for their law knowledge, although it wouldn't do them any harm to complete a referee's course would it!

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