Thursday 10 December 2015

Another in-goal question....

I was reffing a game recently. The attacking side kicked the ball into the dead ball area and the defender deliberately knocked it over the dead ball line. What should I have given?
Hi Peter

The important thing to remember when the ball goes dead in-goal is not who made it dead, but who put the ball into in-goal.

  • If the attackers put the ball into in-goal and it is made dead, the result is a 22 drop out.
  • If the defenders put the ball into in-goal and it is made dead, the result is a 5m attacking scrum.

However you say in your question that "the defender deliberately knocked it over the dead ball line".

What we need to know is 'how' he knocked it over?  If he kicked the ball over the dead ball line, then it has been made dead legally and since the attackers put the ball into in-goal, the result is a 22 drop out.

But, if the defender threw or knocked the ball with his hand or arm, then we are looking at foul play and the sanction is a penalty kick.  What's more, if knocking the ball dead illegally prevented an attacker from grounding the ball, then we are looking at a penalty try and a yellow card.

10.2 UNFAIR PLAY(c) Throwing into touch. A player must not intentionally knock, place, push or throw the ball with his arm or hand into touch, touch-in-goal, or over the dead ball line.
Sanction: Penalty kick on the 15-metre line if the offence is between the 15-metre line and the touchline, or, at the place of infringement if the offence occured elsewhere in the field of play, or, 5 metres from the goal line and at least 15 metres from the touchline if the infringement occured in in-goal.
A penalty try must be awarded if the offence prevents a try that would probably otherwise have been scored.

Don't forget, if you have a question on the Laws or Rugby Union you can email for an answer.

The Rugby Ref

Monday 7 December 2015

In-Goal Area

I was refereeing a game on Sunday.
An attacking player made a break and ran to the in goal area pursued by a defender. The attacking player has a habit of running around and facing the pitch before he places the ball for a try. In this instance he lost control of the ball as he went to place it down and the ball went backwards.
The defender flicked out a boot and kicked the ball into a teammate running back. The ball cannoned back across the goal line and the another player from the attacking side dived on the ball.
I awarded a try to the second attacking player.
Needless to say I got accused of many things …being blind was probably the most polite….as the majority of people felt that I had not seen the first player not ground the ball properly.
I was comfortable I had made the right decision until a colleague of mine (a very knowledgeable rugby man) questioned my decision saying that he had lost control of the ball in grounding the ball.
Did I make the right call or if not what should I have done
Many thanks

Hi David

Let's break this down in stages to make sure The Rugby Ref has read it correctly.

Attacker runs into in-goal, so the attackers have "taken it in"*.
From your description the attacker drops the ball backwards, so 'not' a knock-on.

Thought - At this point the ball is still live, play on.

A defender kicks the ball back into the field of play (so in the direction his team are playing).
The ball hits one of his own team.  Since this player is in front of the last player from his team to play the ball, he is in an offside position and has interfered with play.

Thought - Penalty advantage to the attackers.

The ball now goes from this offside player back into in-goal, so the defenders have now "taken it in"*.
Another attacking player dives on the ball.

Thought - Try scored.
* NB: It's important to know who took the ball into in-goal in the event that the ball had gone dead.
  • Attackers take it in, made dead, equals a 22 drop out.
  • Defenders take it in, made dead, equals a 5m attacking scrum.
The doubts seem to be around whether losing control of the ball (backwards) in in-goal should have stopped play?
It shouldn't.
All infringements in the in-goal are treated as if they had taken place in the field of play.

Yes the attacker lost control of the ball, but it didn't go forward from his hands, so it isn't a knock on.
Had this happened in the middle of the field you would have played on.  In-goal in this instance is no different.

There was a lot going on there David in a short space of time, difficult for any referee to think through clearly.  But assuming The Rugby Ref has interpreted your description correctly, then you were correct.  Try given.

Well done.
The Rugby Ref

Advantage....who decides?

Discovered your blog through Rugbyrefs and am impressed with your answers and explanations.
Question - Under law 8.5(a) where a team infringes for a 2nd time and advantage cannot be played or does not accrue , the ref applies the sanction most advantageous to the non-offending team - does he have to/may he/should he give the non-offending captain an option as to what is 'most advantageous' or does he have to decide that himself without consulting the captain, like he does when 'playing advantage' ?
Law 8.1(a) gives the ref a wide discretion as to whether advantage occurred and makes him the sole judge thereof - does this mean (pertaining to the question) that the ref may do as he wishes or does it mean that he cannot 'delegate' his duty ito law 8.5(a) ? 
Thank you for your insightful views.

Hi Johan

Thank you for the compliments.

To answer the first part of the question we turn to Law 8.1 (a)
(a) The referee is sole judge of whether or not a team has gained an advantage. The referee has wide discretion when making decisions.
The referee would only offer an option where the law stipulates one for the offence.  However if the referee calls advantage some teams may shout "we'll take the penalty please Sir".  Most referee's see nothing wrong with this.  In your scenario the referee will decide, usually based on which offence is the more serious.

To answer the second part, the referee is sole judge, but must make his decisions within the framework of the law.

Many consider the law on advantage to be the most important one in the book, as it allows the referee to keep the game flowing, without disadvantaging a team that has been offended against.

Whether to offer an advantage, and which offence is most advantageous if there is more than one, is based upon the referee's experience, as well as guidelines on what types of advantage there are (tactical or territorial) and the criteria for deciding it is over.

The referee must be happy that the advantage is clear and real. A mere opportunity to gain advantage is not enough.

Thanks for the question.
The Rugby Ref

Tuesday 1 December 2015

Ball going into touch, blown back.

The ball was in play the winger kicked the ball for the side line, the ball went outside of the line in the air, the wind blew it back into the playing field, the other teams winger caught it but the ref over ruled the linesman and gave a line out.  The ball never touched the ground outside the line.

Hi Gordon

If the situation is exactly as you describe, then it would appear that the referee may have made a mistake.

This is covered in Law 19 definitions, where it lists when a ball is, or isn't in touch.  As you can see below, if the ball crosses the plane of touch but doesn't touch anyone or anything, then it's not in touch.  If the ball then comes back into the field of play (blown by the wind, but still in the air)....we play on.

Law 19 Touch and Lineout
The ball is in touch when it is not being carried by a player and it touches the touchline or anything or anyone on or beyond the touchline.

Your example did not fulfil the above description, so it is not in touch.

Thanks for the question
The Rugby Ref

Touching the ball down in-goal

Good afternoon,
The ball has been kicked by the attacking team and rolls to a stop in goal. The defender stands next to  the ball and just puts his hands on top of the ball thinking he has touched it down in goal. An attacking then dives on the ball thinking he has scored. His argument is that the defending player had not picked up and placed the ball down, as the ball was static. The question is does the defending player need to pick the ball up and dot it down as the ball was static instead of just putting downward pressure on say a moving ball.
Hi Mike

The simple answer is, No.  He does not need to pick up the ball, just press down on it.

You seem to mixing up a couple of laws here.

First off, just picking a ball up is not touching it down.  To touch down the ball you need to press down on it, or pick it up and then touch the ground with the ball.

Law 22 tells us this.

22.1 Grounding the Ball
There are two ways a player can ground the ball:
(a) Player touches the ground with the ball. A player grounds the ball by holding the ball and touching the ground with it, in in-goal. ‘Holding’ means holding in the hand or hands, or in the arm or arms. No downward pressure is required.
(b) Player presses down on the ball. A player grounds the ball when it is on the ground in the in-goal and the player presses down on it with a hand or hands, arm or arms, or the front of the player’s body from waist to neck inclusive.
You are then mixing that up with a couple of laws that relate to picking up a moving or static ball. These laws indicate whether a ball has been taken over a line by the kicker or the picker up.  This principle can apply (for instance) to a touchline, the 22, the goal line, or the dead ball line.  Here is an example.

22.9 Defending Player In In-Goal
(a) A defending player who has part of one foot in in-goal is considered to have both feet in in-goal.
(b) If a player with one or both feet on or behind the goal line, picks up the ball, which was stationary within the field of play, that player has picked up the ball in the field of play and thereby that player has taken the ball into in-goal.
(c) If a player with one or both feet on or behind the goal line picks up the ball, which was in motion within the field of play, that player has picked up the ball within in-goal.
Note that both of the above just indicate the ball has been picked up, not grounded.

The Rugby Ref hopes he has cleared that up for you Mike.
The Rugby Ref

Thursday 19 November 2015

Further to Jim's Question about the lineout

Hi Ref,
Thanks for your has been a great assistance to my growing understanding of this fantastic game.
Further to Jim's recently posted question about the lineout......I have noticed that at the lineout, the referee seems to maintain an outstretched arm for a period of time longer than when the ball has left the lineout.  For a while I always thought that there had been an infringement....but play always continued and then the arm was dropped.  Please could you tell me what the significance of this signal is?
Thanks again Ref,Martin
Hi Martin

This is a referee convention rather than a law signal.  The back line at a lineout (known as non-participating players) have to stay back 10m from the lineout, until the lineout is over. Sometimes it is impossible for them to see when the ball has left the lineout, especially if it leaves on the other side of the lineout from where they are standing.  So the referee will raise his arm as a signal for them to stay back onside.  This is known as preventative refereeing, and stops teams breaking the law, therefore allowing the game to continue.

The referee will keep his arm raised until the lineout is over, when he drops his arm the players know they can now come forward.  If the ball is fed off the top of the lineout by the jumper, or the ball is thrown beyond the 15m line, then the lineout is over straight away and there is generally no need for the referee to raise his arm in the first place.

If however the ball is caught and held, and then brought back to earth the referee will raise his arm as a signal that the lineout is not yet over and the backs should stay onside.  If a maul forms the lineout will not be over until the hindmost foot, of the hindmost player has crossed the line of touch, or the ball enters the 5m channel.

You say you have seen the referee keep his arm out after the ball has left the lineout, but this may just be a matter of timing.

Thanks for the question and the compliment.
The Rugby Ref

Wednesday 18 November 2015

Why does the guy who instigated the confrontation always get away scott free?

Hello Sir,
My query relates more to profesional rugby rather than grass roots rugby. I was hoping that you'd share your opinion on retalitation.
For example, I thoroughly enjoyed watching Northampton Vs Scarlets on the TV over the weekend and Saints scored a peach of a try that was disallowed because George North stamped on the scarlets player who refursed to let go of his leg. Now I don't have a problem with foul play being penalisied, but it only deals with half of the problem. Why does the guy who instigated the confrontation always get away scott free? At professional level it positively encourages players to go out and niggle the opposition. surely the Cheat ought to be punished too?
My own experience is that at grass roots level all 30 players are mostly out for a fun match and its almost niggle free. Obviously there is alot more riding on a European Cup match and players think that "winding up the hot head" will give them an edge... I don't think its fair that they get away with it though.
best wishes,
Hi Nathan

If a player retaliates, then the penalty will almost always be reversed. While the first act of foul play is wrong players must learn to leave it to the referee, and not take the law into their own hands.  If the retaliation were to be ignored, then players would always be looking to get a cheap shot in and the penalty as well

If it is just penalty kicks we are talking about, then the penalty will be reversed and you are right in essence, that the instigator will get away with it.  However be assured that he will be on the referees radar for the rest of the game and will be watched closely.

If the first act is deserving of a card, then reversing the penalty will not change that.  It is possible for the first act to be given a penalty kick and a card, then for the penalty to be reversed, but the card still stands.  In addition the retaliating player may also get a card.

On rare occasions where the retaliation does not fall under the foul play law, then it is possible for the penalty to 'not' be reversed, as the first act was more serious.  In this case the retaliation may be admonished only.

The Rugby Ref

Monday 16 November 2015

Putting the ball into the scrum.

Dear ref,
Having played all my rugby career as a hooker it infuriates me when I watch a game, and I've just seen it in every game from the world cup which was on TV, why do referees allow the scrum half to put the ball into the scrum crooked when the law says explicitly that it must be put in straight. Are referees interpreting the word straight as straight into his own second row or even to his number 8?
If this is allowed to happen and we see it all the time, then what's the point of a scrum at all? Does a present day hooker even know how to hook the ball, because he certainly doesn't have to when the ball's going in behind him? Wouldn't a "play the ball" as in rugby league be more effective? !t certainly couldn't be classed as dangerous like a scrum where they push is!

What we see on TV is not representative of rugby as a whole.  At grassroots level, where the vast majority of rugby is played, the put-in is penalised for being crooked.

The Rugby Ref doesn't appear on TV and is as exasperated as you are over the crooked feeds that were allowed during the Rugby World Cup.

Let's not change the game because of a minority.

The Rugby Ref

Friday 13 November 2015

Could I just ask you two questions; 
1. Leaving the line-out; 
When is the line-out over?
If the ball is thrown in, the jumper palms it to the scrum half who is slow to release it to no.10, can the opposition run through the line and intercept the ball as it is played between 9 and 10? 
2. When is a 'tackle' made; 
The attacking player and ball carrier has his shirt 'scragged' by the tackler and goes to ground does he have to release the ball?
The 'tackler' does not have hold of the player just his shirt. 
I ref a lot of Junior games, these scenarios both occurred at U16 level and I favoured the attacking team in both cases which led to two tries. 
All the best, keep up the good work,

Hi Jim

Q1. The lineout is over when the ball or a player carrying it leaves the lineout.  In your scenario once the ball is passed off the top by the jumper it has left the lineout.  The opposition can't run through the line until that point. So in answer to question 1, yes they can.

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, knocked or kicked out of the lineout, the lineout ends.
• When the ball or a player carrying the ball moves into the area between the 5-metre line and the touchline, the lineout ends.
• When a lineout player hands the ball to a player who is peeling off, the lineout ends.
• When the ball is thrown beyond the 15-metre line, or when a player takes or puts it beyond that line, the lineout ends.
• When a ruck or maul develops in a lineout, and all the feet of all the players in the ruck or maul move beyond the line of touch, the lineout ends.
• When the ball becomes unplayable in a lineout, the lineout ends. Play restarts with ascrum.

Q2.  A tackle is made when the ball carrier is  held by one or more opponents and brought to ground.
Holding the shirt is enough for the player to be held.
One knee or more on the ground constitutes brought to ground.

So yes, the ball carrier is tackled and must release, pass or place the ball.  Is the player holding his shirt a tackler though?  In order to be called a tackler and have tacklers rights, he must also go to ground (one knee on the floor).  If he doesn't go to ground he is not a tackler, he is commonly called a tackle assist.

Why is this important?
Both of them must release the ball carrier, but a tackler can then play the ball from any direction (after getting to his feet).  The tackle assist must come "through the gate" by entering the tackle area from his own side of the tackle (nearest his own goal line) before playing the ball.

So to answer question 2, yes he does.

Law 15
A tackle occurs when the ball carrier is held by one or more opponents and isbrought to ground.A ball carrier who is not held is not a tackled player and a tackle has not takenplace.Opposition players who hold the ball carrier and bring that player to ground, andwho also go to ground, are known as tacklers.Opposition players who hold the ball carrier and do not go to ground are nottacklers.

The Rugby Ref

Wednesday 11 November 2015

A question on rucking......

 I have a question on rucking.
A Player is tackled, both sides come in and make contact, the ruck is formed – I understand this part. 
The ball stays with the original ball carrier and is placed to where the half back can play the ball (but it hasn’t been played yet). 
Why do some referees stop the “ruck contest” at this point.I have played where a referee allows the ruck contest to continue but I have also played games where the ball is ready for the half back to play it and the referee is telling the opposition to stay? 
Theresa Bailey

Hi Theresa

It sounds like a couple of things could be going on here.  Basically the referee is trying to keep the game flowing and using preventative refereeing to stop players from infringing.

A referee will usually tell players to "Stay" if they are creeping offside past the back foot, creeping up the side of the ruck, or otherwise trying to get into an illegal position.

A referee will also sometimes tell players to stay back if the rucking contest has been won by one side or the other and the ball has been lost.  The referee may have decided that any further contest for the ball is futile, for instance if all the players are off their feet, and therefore out of the game.

The other thing that sometimes happens is if a player gets his hands on the ball before the ruck forms (so he is allowed to continue to play the ball) but then loses contact with the ball, the referee will shout to "leave it, it's lost" by which he means the player has been beaten by the ruck and should no longer try to play the ball with his hands.

Of course if the players still want to contest for the ball they can still do so, but they need to make sure they are doing so legally.

It's a judgement call from the referee to keep the game flowing without denying a contest for the ball.

The Rugby Ref

Monday 26 October 2015

Are these studs legal?

Would it be possible to tell me if these studs are legal to play rugby in?
Many thanks in advance
Joe Davey

Hi Joe

The Rugby Ref gets asked this question a lot.  The legality of studs is covered in World Rugby Regulation 12 which can be found here: Regulation 12

The front four studs on these boots DO NOT look legal, as the regulation says the tip of the stud must be a minimum of 10mm across, these look narrower than that, but you would have to measure them to be sure.  They look like football studs, but there is no reason you couldn't remove them and replace them with rugby studs, which are fatter.  The two fixed plastic studs behind the metal ones look ok, but again you would have to measure them to be sure.

The Rugby Ref

Monday 12 October 2015

Penalty Try question

If I award a penalty try must I always 'sin bin' the offender?

Jim Hawkins

Hi Jim

Good question.  The Law states that...
A penalty try must be awarded if the offence prevents a try that would probably otherwisehave been scored. A player who prevents a try being scored through foul play must either becautioned and temporarily suspended or sent off.
This would suggest that a Penalty Try must also be accompanied by a Yellow or Red card.  However the IRFU asked for a ruling on this very question back in 2004.  The response from World Rugby is still active.

Ruling in Law by the Designated Members of the Rugby Committee
Law 10.2(a) is Unfair Play relating to Intentional Offending. 
The two paragraphs in Law 10.2(a) must be read in conjunction, having due regard to the heading 'Intentionally Offending'. 
Therefore, if a penalty try is awarded as the result of a player intentionally offending, then the player must be either be cautioned and temporarily suspended or sent off. 
Examples of this would be after penalty tries resulting from: 
  • a collapsed scrum 
  • a collapsed maul 
  • a defending player intentionally offside 
  • a defending player intentionally knocking down the ball. 
If a penalty try is awarded as the result of a player unintentionally offending, the player, as well as being liable to cautioning and temporary suspension or send off, can be admonished by the referee. 
Examples of this may be after penalty tries resulting from: 
  • mistimed tackle (early or late, but not dangerous) 
  • unintentional reactionary high tackle, but not dangerous.

So the answer to your question is 'No' you don't always have to card the player.
Thanks for the question.
The Rugby Ref

Wednesday 7 October 2015

Is a tackle in the air always a yellow card?

I have had a debate with a guy at my local club about a tackled player in the air. If it is clear one player has tackled a ball carrier in the air but it is not dangerous but poor timing is it just a penalty kick or a yellow card, my view is a PK?
Thanks for the help?

Hi Allister

The sanction for "Tackling the jumper in the air" is prescribed under Law 10, Foul Play.
10.5 SANCTIONS(a) Any player who infringes any part of the Foul Play Law must be admonished, or cautioned and temporarily suspended for a period of ten minutes’ playing time, or sent-off.
So if the referee decides foul play has been committed it could be just a telling off with a Penalty Kick, a Yellow card, or even a Red card.  World Rugby do however issue guidance to referees from time to time on various areas of the law, and this is one area that was covered recently.
At a meeting in April 2015, the Laws Representation Group (LRG) considered the areas of the Game where, it had been agreed that Law amendments were not required but that current Law was to be enforced by match officials including:
Challenging players in the air - Law 10.4(i)
The options given were: 
  • Play on – Fair challenge with both players in a realistic position to catch the ball. Even if the player(s) land(s) dangerously, play on
  • Penalty only – Fair challenge with wrong timing - No pulling down
  • Yellow card – Not a fair challenge, there is no contest and the player is pulled down landing on his back or side
  • Red card – Not a fair challenge, there is no contest and the player lands on his head, neck or shoulder
There are videos to illustrate the above available here:  World Rugby Enforcement of Current Law

So using the guidance, your example of "one player has tackled a ball carrier in the air but it is not dangerous just poor timing" depends on whether the player was making a fair challenge for the ball?  If he was it's a penalty only.  If he wasn't going for the ball and just tackled the other player in the air, then it's a minimum of a penalty with a yellow card.

Hope that answers your debate Allister.
The Rugby Ref

Wednesday 30 September 2015

When is a tackler not a tackler?

At 72:45 did George North not contravene law 15.6(c) and thus a penalty should have been given against Wales before Mike Brown was pinged for holding on? North was clearly part of the tackle but did not go to ground himself and so should have had to re-enter through the tackle gate to attempt to play the ball. Instead, he stops Brown from being able to place the ball while also blocking the England players from clearing out.
"Players in opposition to the ball carrier who remain on their feet who bring the ball carrier to ground so that the player is tackled must release the ball and the ball carrier. Those players may then play the ball providing they are on their feet and do so from behind the ball and from directly behind the tackled player or a tackler closest to those players’ goal line."
Hi Grant

I haven't been able to find the incident you are referring to, so I am going on your description only, with the caveat that the referee at the time may have seen it differently.

If a player is holding a ball carrier who is then tackled (held and brought to ground), but that player does not go to ground himself (a quick knee to the floor is enough to have him deemed as gone to ground), then that player is not a tackler under law.  So we could conceivably have a tackle without a tackler.  This person is normally known as a tackle assist.

Whereas a tackler can release, get to his feet, and then play the ball from any direction; you are correct that a tackle assist cannot play the ball from any direction.  The tackle assist must play the ball from his own side (see below).

This is however a very dynamic area of the game, that changes and evolves very quickly.  How you saw it and how the referee saw it may not be the same.  But as you describe it, you are correct in your thinking.
Law 15.6 (c)
Players in opposition to the ball carrier who remain on their feet who bring the ball carrier to ground so that the player is tackled must release the ball and the ball carrier. Those players may then play the ball providing they are on their feet and do so from behind the ball and from directly behind the tackled player or a tackler closest to those players’ goal line.
The Rugby Ref

Friday 25 September 2015

John Lacey (Japan v Scotland)

I confess to not being totally au fait with all the laws of rugby union. I was however totally perplexed by a decision Mr. Lacey made near the end of the Japan match. A Scotland back attempted to kick clear from the in goal area, but the ball rebounded from a Japanese player and went dead.The decision was a scrum 5 with put in going to Japan!?
Was this correct?
Hi Roy

Yes this was correct.  When the ball goes dead in in-goal, the main thing is not who made it dead, but who put or made the ball to go into in-goal.

If the attacking team causes the ball to go into in-goal and the ball is then made dead, it's normally a 22 drop out.
If the defending team causes the ball to go into in-goal and the ball then goes dead, it's an attacking scrum 5.

In the scenario you mention Scotland took the ball back into their own in-goal from a ruck I believe. The charge down happened in-goal and the ball went dead, so as Scotland took the ball into in-goal a scrum 5 to Japan was the correct decision.

Had the kick left in-goal and then been charged down by Japan, the charge down would have sent the ball back into in-goal, so then we would be looking at a 22 drop out if the ball went dead.

So to summarise, it's who puts the ball into in-goal that counts.  Not who makes it dead.

Thanks for the question, its a popular misconception.
The Rugby Ref

Wednesday 23 September 2015

The Role of the Assistant Referee (AR) and the Television Match Official (TMO)

I hope a simple question, if either the assistant referee or the TMO suspected that England ‘sheared off’ in the maul and that Peyper should not have awarded the (penalty) try because of this, are they entitled under the TMO protocol in the world cup to request a review.  It was within two phases of the try being scored. 
Many thanks

Hi Andy

Let's look at the relevant Laws.  The pertinent bits are at 6.A.7 (b) (iv) and (c)
The referee may alter a decision when a touch judge has raised the flag to signal touch.The referee may alter a decision when an assistant referee has raised the flag to signal touch or an act of foul play.
(a) The referee may consult with assistant referees about matters relating to their duties, the Law relating to foul play or timekeeping and may request assistance related to otheraspects of the referee’s duties including the adjudication of offside.
(b) A match organiser may appoint an official known as a Television Match Official (TMO) who uses technological devices to clarify situations relating to;
(i) When there is doubt as to whether a ball has been grounded in in-goal for a score or a touchdown.
(ii) Where there is doubt as to whether a kick at goal has been successful.
(iii) Where there is doubt as to whether players were in touch or touch in goal beforegrounding the ball in in-goal or the ball has been made dead.
(iv) Where match officials believe an offence or infringement may have occurred in the field of play leading to a try or preventing a try.
(v) Reviewing situations where match officials believe foul play may have occurred.
(vi) Clarifying sanctions required for acts of foul play.
(c) Any of the match officials including the TMO may recommend a review by the TMO. The reviews will take place in accordance with the TMO protocol in place at the time which will be available at
So the simple answer is 'yes' they are entitled.

You may also like to look at the TMO protocol in place for the World Cup 2015 which is available from this article:

The Rugby Ref

Tuesday 22 September 2015

Ball travelling 10m at the kick-off.

Law 13.5 states ‘If the ball reaches the opponents’ 10 metre line or reaches the 10 metre line and is blown back, play continues’ 
Can you clarify for me if the ball has to reach the 10 metre line (at least) on the full or can it bounce short and still reach the 10 metre line for play to continue. 
This query came up at a game I was watching at the weekend with different interpretations of the law from ostensibly experienced past players. 
Cheers Steve

Hi Steve

This is a common question.  The ball just has to reach the 10m line (touch it or cross it). It makes no difference how it got there.  Indeed it is possible for a kick off to be a drop-kick grubber-kick and just bobble along the ground to the 10m line.  Or as you say it can bounce once, or go over on the full.

Thanks for the question
The Rugby Ref

Sunday 20 September 2015

A couple of interesting questions on kicks at goal.

Q1..We often see long range penalty kicks, just clear or bounce off the bar. Are a defending team allowed to use their “line out skills” to lift a player in the same way they do when receiving kick offs, to possibly catch the ball which would otherwise have passed over the bar and accrue 3 points. Because these kicks are from distance they could stand legally with their hands by their sides until the kicker has struck the ball, but would then have adequate time to form up to lift and achieve adequate height to prevent a score. If there is no law one could almost imagine scrum halves being launched like circus acrobats to “save” goals 15ft from the ground.
Q2..Also once a kicker has nominated to “go for goal” from a penalty, who judges whether he makes a genuine attempt at goal. For example penalty given centre of pitch 30 metres out, defending side form up narrowly beneath posts expecting the kick to be converted or ball to go dead. Kicker completely hooks the ball out towards the wing which is picked up by an attacking player wide on the wing coming from an onside position to pick up the ball and score a try wide out. He may have made a genuine attempt at goal, he may be a very astute player who recognized the opposition had “gone to sleep” and “faked” the shot at goal. Is the try awarded and if not what law applies to negate it.

I look forward to your reply.
Thanks and best regards

Hi Patrick, really interesting questions.

Q1.  The answer to this question is in the law book, but not in the most obvious place.

Law 9.  Method of scoring
9.A.2 Kick at goal - special circumstances
(d) Any player who touches the ball in an attempt to prevent a penalty goal being scored is illegally touching the ball.Sanction: Penalty kick

Q2. Another interesting question. To answer the first part "who judges whether he makes a genuine attempt at goal?" Well the answer to that is simple, The Referee is the sole judge.

Law 6.A.4 The duties of the referee in the playing enclosure(a) The referee is the sole judge of fact and of Law during a match. The referee must apply fairly all the Laws of the Game in every match.

To answer the second part, "is the try awarded" we go back to law 9, Method of Scoring.

9.A.2 Kick at goal - special circumstances
(a) If after the ball is kicked, it touches the ground or any team-mate of the kicker, a goal cannot be scored.
So no.  The try isn't awarded.

Thanks for some great questions Patrick.
The Rugby Ref

Thursday 17 September 2015

Rugby World Cup Law Questions

Are you watching the Rugby World Cup?
Do you have a question about the laws of rugby?

Email The Rugby Ref and he will answer them for you.

CLICK HERE to "ask the ref" 

Tuesday 8 September 2015

More stud questions........

Hi, I was wondering if any stud formations are allowed or if they are specific as I am size 17 and it is near impossible to find rugby boots in my size. American football boots with the single front toe stud are available in my size but I have heard on many sites that they are illegal! Also some normal football boots are occasionally available but only with blades and as I am a second row they would not be as easy to get a grip in scrums. However at this stage with my old pair wearing away I would take anything I can get! Thanks Oliver
Hi Oliver

There used to be a law (4.4(i)), up until 2014, that banned a single toe stud on boots.  Following a trial with one specific design of boot that boots that contained an offset single toe stud, the law on single toe studs was completely removed, and is no longer listed in the law book under "banned items of clothing".

All forms of blades are legal providing they are not sharp or abrasive.

The Rugby Ref

Monday 7 September 2015

Missing Studs

Hi please could you advise what is the correct thing to do if you check the players studs and some are missing.
Many thanks Neil

Hi Neil

If a player is missing one stud, advise them to replace it before the game starts.  However The Rugby Ref wouldn't stop a player from taking part if they were missing one stud.  Do check though that the hole for the stud hasn't become burred and sharp.

If a player is missing lots of studs that would be totally different, especially if they are a forward, because that inhibits their ability to keep their footing in the scrums.  It has now become a safety issue.

The Rugby Ref always takes the studs off his old boots and keep them in his kit bag.  He hands them out to players if needed.

The Rugby Ref

Wednesday 13 May 2015

Number 8 obstructing the opposing scrumhalf

Hi Ref
In a U19 match on the weekend I observed the number 8 unbinding with a single arm from the scrum once the ball was at his feet so as to obstruct the opposing scrumhalf and shield his own scrumhalf from being tackled. 
Law 20.3.g - indicates that if a flanker widens their stance to obstruct an opposing scrumhalf the appropriate sanction is a penalty kick.
Does this also apply to the number 8?
Thanks Ref,

Hi Drew

No, there is no such law to prevent the No 8 shielding the ball in this way.  He has to keep a full bind, but one arm is sufficient.  The bind must be continuous from armpit to wrist around the body of one of the 2nd row.

Remember also that the offside line for the defending scrum half is the ball and both feet must be behind it at all times

Thanks Drew
The Rugby Ref

Tuesday 28 April 2015

Poor form?

Hi there, Just wondered if this is considered poor form from both Cheika and Peyper or if it’s a more normal occurrence than we realise at that level? Article here.
Hi Sean This is definitely not a normal occurrence and is against all the protocols. Coaches and team officials should not enter the referees room at half time, or for a 30 minutes "cooling down period" after the game. I am amazed this wasn't dealt with more robustly.

Kind Regards
The Rugby Ref

Question from Allan Hibbens

I notice recently that certain ball carriers go into contact/ The tackle shoulder first or forearm up and leading. Im not sure on the law on this one please advise.
Hi Allan If the ball carriers arm is across his body and he uses his forearm to push away the tackler as the tackle is made, then that is acceptable. If however he leads with the forearm, or swings it into the would be tackler, that is dangerous play and should be penalised. It's really one of those things where you have to see each instance and judge them individually.

The Rugby Ref

Wednesday 18 March 2015

22 Restart or Scrum?

A question to "Ask The Ref"

 Team with the ball are 5m from their own try line. They pass the ball back into their own 'in goal' area, attempted kick is charged down by opposition and ball goes dead. 
What is the correct decision? 
Regards,  Damo
 Hi Damo

Assuming the kick didn't leave in-goal, the defending team took the ball into in-goal, and then the ball was made dead, so it is an attacking 5m scrum.

Unless, the kick left in-goal and the charge down was in the field of play and deflected the ball back into in-goal, in which case the charge downer is the one who took the ball into in-goal. That would be a 22 restart as the attacker put the ball into in-goal.

The key here is "who put the ball into in-goal" and not "who made it dead".

The Rugby Ref