Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Keeping the ball out of touch

During the Wales v Australia game when the Australian number 10 kicked the ball for touch a Welsh player jumped from the touchline out of play to knock the ball back in field before his feet touched the ground. Haven’t the rules changed so that as soon as the ball has crossed over the touchline the ball is deemed to be in touch and can’t be knocked back in (as opposed to previous law)
Hi David

Thanks for the question, it's a good one.  You are correct that the law changed, but the part you are thinking of is when a player catches the ball while stood on the ground, then the plane of touch is relevant as to who has taken the ball into touch.

For the incident in questions we have to look at Law 18.2.C
18.2 The ball is not in touch or touch-in-goal if :
c. A player jumps from the playing area and knocks (or catches and releases) the ball
back into the playing area, before landing in touch or touch-in-goal, regardless of
whether the ball reached the plane of touch.
So the Assistant Referee on the touchline (I think it was Nigel Owens) got it absolutely correct.

Thanks for highlighting it
The Rugby Ref