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,
Owain

Hi there

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

22.13 ATTACKING INFRINGEMENT WITH SCRUM SANCTION
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

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