Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Advantage query

Hello the Rugby Ref!
I had two queries about advantage I wondered if you could help with.
1) Law 8.3e states the following:
After the ball has been made dead. Advantage cannot be played after the ball has been made dead.
So does this mean advantage finishes if the team appears to deliberately put the ball into touch (e.g. kick up field)? And what if they did it accidentally (e.g. fling a long pass to the winger but it goes out instead)? Even if you're playing penalty advantage for an infringement, it becomes a lineout for the opposite team?
2) Law 8.5b states that:
If advantage is being played following an infringement by one team and then the other team commit an infringement, the referee blows the whistle and applies the sanctions associated with the first infringement. If either infringement is for foul play, the referee applies the appropriate sanction for that offence. The referee may also temporarily suspend, or order off, the offending player.
I wondered what you do if both infringements are of equal weight, e.g both penalty offences (such as offside) or both foul play offences (e.g. dangerous tackle)? Who gets the penalty?
Thank you very much
Melissa Wright

Hi Melissa

Good questions.

Question 1. Advantage cannot be played after the ball goes dead. So let's suppose the blue team is playing with penalty advantage and kick the ball ahead.  It hits a red player and goes into touch. The blue team cannot take a quick throw in and continue to play with the penalty advantage.

The ball was made dead from going into touch, so you cannot continue with the advantage, it must be either advantage over, or go back for the penalty.  For that you have to think "what would the team reasonably have expected to get from the original offence".

In your scenarios, if they accidentally threw the ball into touch from a wild pass from a penalty advantage I would probably come back for the original offence.
If they kicked the ball ahead (out of free choice, not under pressure) from a scrum advantage I would call advantage over while the ball was in the air because they had the freedom to play the ball as they chose.  The result of the kick is almost immaterial, the advantage doesn't allow them to get a second kick if the first one is bad because the most they would have got from a scrum advantage is clean ball from the scrum and a kick ahead.
A kick ahead from a penalty advantage is a different thing because what they would have expected to get from the penalty is a kick to touch with their throw in.  If they don't get something similar then we would come back for the penalty.

Question 2. Foul play trumps a technical offence such as a knock on; it is more serious.  For two technical offences, such as two knock on's, you come back for the first one.  If the second offence is foul play then you go with that.  If both offences are for foul play you must judge which is the more serious.Think of it this way, having advantage does not give the other team free rein to punch someone without sanction. If they did that they would pay the consequences for their actions.

Hope that all makes sense.
The Rugby Ref

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