Hey Rugby Ref
I'm a newly qualified ref in 2019.
I am watching the SA v Argentina game on Saturday 10 Aug evening, in the first few mins an SA player jumps into contact, refere Poite awards a penalty to SA for Argentina player tackling player in the air. Why wasn't the SA player penalised for dangerous play...
Why was their no offence for jumping into contact, as this seems open to abuse to draw a penalty, if a player is about to be tackled he/she can jump or lift feet off the ground.
Interested to hear your thoughts.
Good question.The law does say that you cannot tackle a player who is off the ground.
Law 917. A player must not tackle, charge, pull, push or grasp an opponent whose feet are off the ground.However we have to consider that a player running with the ball has his feet off the ground most of the time. In addition a player should not be able to avoid a tackle by jumping at the last moment so that he cannot be tackled.
The general principle that most referees apply is that if a player as to jump to intercept a catch or a kicked ball, he should be allowed to return to the ground before being tackled. This is a simple safety issue.
There is no specific offence of jumping into a tackle (maybe there should be), but there is a catch all offence of reckless play that puts the player or other players into danger.
Law 911. Players must not do anything that is reckless or dangerous to others.If a player jumps into a tackle and leads with his boot or knee, that would be dangerous.
At the end of the day its a judgement call and sometimes referees will get it wrong.
Thanks for the question
The Rugby Ref