Having just refereed an Under 15 game today, with the new lineout regulations for U15s, there are a few questions left!
If the lineout is not straight, do normal rules apply, and non-throwing team have choice of lineout or scrum?
At what point does the lineout become 'contested' again?
If a team opts not to lift, presumably the lineout still has to be uncontested?
If the jumper is missed, is the lineout still uncontested? So, with an overthrow to a jumper at 2, can team not throwing in then play the ball?
Should the referee give a signal/call when the lineout is now contested? Presumably that is different to the line out being over (so catcher catches the ball, but is in the air, he is then lowered to the ground - the lineout is not over, but the opposition can now contest the ball - but this needs calling, I presume)
Many thanks for any help!
The Rugby Ref has checked with a couple of Community Rugby foundations on this question. The consensus was that the uncontested part of the lineout refers to the ball in the air. So the ball has to be thrown straight, the lifters and jumpers can practise lifting along with catching the ball uncontested. Once the ball has left the lineout or the jumper has returned to ground with the ball, we are back to normal play.
So to answer your questions:
Not straight, as per normal laws.
Contested once the ball leaves or the jumper returns to the ground.
No lift is still uncontested.
If the jumper is missed, the throwing in side must still gain first possession of the ball, so no.
Whether the referee calls this is up to him, I would suggest not.
The Rugby Ref