Thursday, 28 January 2016

Hi Ref
My wife bought these boots for our 11 year old son.  They look more like football boots to me.  Would they be allowed in rugby?  All the advice I've Googled has been contradictory.  The IRB guidance I found simply said that they mustn't be more than 21mm long.  Hope you can help.  The studs are plastic by the way.

Hi Dave

You are correct in that the IRB regulations on studs don't exactly cover these, but moulded studs can come in strange shapes and they are allowed.

The key thing is...are they dangerous?  If you run your hand over them are they sharp or abrasive?  If not you should be ok to wear them.

However, don't be surprised if the odd referee won't allow them.  It is up to each individual referee to decide if they think non-standard studs are dangerous or not.  As you say, they do look like football boots rather than rugby boots...but This Rugby Ref would allow them.

The Rugby Ref
I’m a coach at an American high school. I think if I could coach a 2 man lineout (one lifter, one jumper), it would be an unstoppable lineout, as I don’t think anyone else would be able to safely do that lift. I’m thinking about having a prop lift a scrum half using this method I have seen in cheerleading.
Is that a legal lift?
Many thanks,Joe
Hi Joe

Sorry, no, that is not a legal lift. The player is initially thrown into the air, not lifted or supported. They are then supported below the thighs in front.

19.10 OPTIONS AVAILABLE IN A LINEOUT(d) Lifting and supporting. Players may assist a team-mate in jumping for the ball by lifting and supporting that player providing that the lifting and/or supporting players do not support the jumping team-mate below the shorts from behind or below the thighs from the front.Sanction: Free Kick on the 15-metre line
The Rugby Ref

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Attacking knock on in in goal

Dear The Rugby Ref,
I have a question regarding an attacking player knocking on while in goal - apologies if it has been asked before.
In the following situation, what do you believe the outcome should be?
Red are attacking and kick the ball into the opposition in goal.A red player (who is onside) knocks on when attempting to ground the ball.A blue defender then makes the ball dead.
My feeling is this should be a drop out rather than a defending scrum since red put the ball over the goal line, advantage was played and the ball was made dead.
There is no exemption in law to playing advantage in this case (8.3(f) only applying after the ball has been made dead), a drop out would be a clear advantage (assume blue have a weak scrum for clarity) and law 12.1(c) does not apply since the knock on occurred in in goal. Furthermore, if red had knocked the ball backwards in in goal, a drop out would be the only option (so red not knocking on might be a better result for blue, which seems wrong) and if 8.3(f) did apply, it would obviate the need for 12.1(c).
It seems simple to me, but opinions seem to be divided and I can find no IRB clarification.
Many thanks,

Hi there

The result of a knock-on in in-goal is always a scrum.  This is covered in the following specific laws:

If an attacking player commits an infringement in in-goal, for which the sanction is a scrum, for example, a knock-on, play is restarted with a 5-metre scrum. The scrum is formed in line with the place of the infringement and the defending team throws in the ball.
I understand where you are coming from regarding advantage, but we wouldn't play advantage in this situation.

If you think about it, the best the defending team could hope to get is clean ball from the back of the scrum and a clearance kick.  Does this equate to a 22 drop out?  No it doesn't, a 22 drop out would give the defenders too much advantage (specifically 22m worth of  extra advantage).

In addition if advantage was being played and the ball was made dead, then advantage wasn't called over, and you can't carry on advantage after the ball is dead; so we go back for the original offence and the scrum.

Good question.
The Rugby Ref

Monday, 4 January 2016

Rugby Substitutes

Hello Ask the ref, 
I am taking up rugby for the first time and have never played before. What is substitution in rugby and is it a bad position to play for a player as they most likely won't be playing the match would they? I don't want to end up in the substitution position and if I do will I be ended up here forever or will I earn a position in the game? Because when I get good enough at rugby I would love to play.

Hi Eddy

This would be more a question for a coach than a referee?

Generally speaking a substitute will come onto the pitch to replace a player who has been replaced tactically (for someone with other skills or fresher legs), or to replace a player who has been injured.

Depending on the level of the game there could be anywhere from 0 to 8 substitutes.  In some lower level games there are what we call rolling substitutions, which means players can be replaced more than once.  In mid level games there can be a maximum number of changes, but players can still be replaced more than once.

These local regulations are all designed to make sure everyone gets a game of rugby and are specifically designed to take away the need for a substitute to "warm the bench" all game long.  If a player is made to sit out the whole game over and again, he may leave and not come back, so a prudent coach will give all his players time in the game, to make it enjoyable for all.

If you are new to the game I would expect you to start off as a substitute, but if you do well in training you should quickly get some game time.  The better you do, the more game time you will get, but I would hope that you get to play whatever your skill levels as rugby is a game for all shapes and sizes; and all skills.

Enjoy your rugby Eddy and good luck.

The Rugby Ref

Penalty in-goal & 5 meters from try line

For a penalty awarded to attacking team  in opponents  half ,5 meter line from try line  ,,attacking team are given mark at 5 meter line .This is fully understood & agree with
2 questions , if I mayThe reverse of penalty awarded  ( defending team awarded penalty ) .in same area ,,between 5 meter line & try line,The mark if a scrum was to be chosen is still  on 5 meter line.However if the penalty was given 3 meters from 5 meter line to try line..Are opponents to be 10 meters back from same spot ,,or are they to be 10 meters back from 5 meter line ,,even if kicker does not take kick from 5 meter line
The same scenario  ,,this time defending team awarded penalty in goal ,,Are the attacking team to be 10 meters back from 5 meter line ( effectively they are penalised back 15 meters )
Am I correct with above view
LastlyMark made in goal ,Can this kick be brought back into field of play ,,or does it have to be taken in goal ,,& if so ,,as the kickers terms are that of a free kick ,,does this also mean opponents  have to be back 10 meters ,,if so ,,where is mark that they go back 10 meters from ,,Or is it also as my understanding  of above ,,with relation to penalty kicks in goal
Hope above makes sense
Regards Chris 
Hi Chris

If I understand your questions correctly then these should be the answers?

If an attacking team gets a penalty between the 5m line and the goal line, the place of the penalty is on the 5m line, in line with the penalty.  The defenders' offside line is the goal line.

If a defending team get a penalty between the 5m line and the goal line, the place of the penalty is the place of the infringement.  The attackers would need to be 10m back from the mark, not from the 5m line.  If the defenders choose a scrum alternative, then it must be on the 5m line, in line with the place of the infringement.

If a penalty is awarded in in-goal, then the place for the mark is on the 5m line.  If it is a defending penalty, then the attackers need to be 10m back from the mark, so 10m back from the 5m line.

The above is all covered by the following law:

Unless a Law states otherwise, the mark for a penalty or free kick is at the place ofinfringement.
(a) The kicker must take the penalty or free kick at the mark or anywhere behind it on a line through the mark. If the place for a penalty or free kick is within 5 metres of the opponents’ goal line, the mark for the kick is 5 metres from the goal line, opposite the place of infringement.
(b) When a penalty or free kick is awarded in in-goal, the mark for the kick is in the field of play, 5 metres from the goal line, in line with the place of infringement.

Finally for a Mark made in in-goal, the place of the kick is on the 5m line and the opposition have to be 10m back from that point.

The kick is awarded at the place of the mark. If the mark is made in the in-goal, the kick is awarded 5 metres from the goal line in line with where the mark was made.
I hope that has answered all your questions?
The Rugby Ref

Drop Goal When Time Expired

I found your impressive website and thought I would ask a question I have been thinking on for a while: 
Should the game be restarted when a drop-goal is kicked after time has expired? No seems to be the answer in practice but reading law 5.7 I don't think that is an obvious interpretation. 5.7(e) says that 
"If time expires and the ball is not dead, or an awarded scrum or lineout has not been completed, the referee allows play to continue until the next time that the ball becomes dead. The ball becomes dead when the referee would have awarded a scrum, lineout, an option to the non-infringing team, drop out or after a conversion or successful penalty kick at goal. If a scrum has to be reset, the scrum has not been completed. If time expires and a mark, free kick or penalty kick is then awarded, the referee allows play to continue."
My problem is that a drop goal is not a conversion or a penalty kick and the referee would not award a scrum, lineout, option or drop-out. And the specific mention of one type of goal but not drop-goals suggests that drop goals were specifically excluded. 
Is there something in the laws that I am missing? 
Best regards

Hi Johan

If the ball becomes dead that is the end of the game, otherwise play on.  So in your scenario if the drop goal is short and lands in the field of play, then we just play on.  If the drop goal goes long, or is touched down in the in-goal area, then we finish the game because you quoted the law yourself:
 The ball becomes dead when the referee would have awarded a...drop out...
If the drop goal goes long or is touched down we would restart with a drop-out, so the ball has become dead at that point; game over.

The Rugby Ref

Two Tacklers?

If a player is tackled to the ground by 2 opponents do both tacklers have the ‘privilege’ of there not being an offside line? Can both players get to their feet, show they are clear of the player and then jackle from the opponents side? Or must one return to his own side and come through the gate? 
Many thanks in anticipation, Gary

Hi Gary

Anyone who is classed as a tackler can get to their feet and compete for the ball from any direction.
So yes, both tacklers (provided they are clearly defined as tacklers) can play for the ball from any direction as you suggest.

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