Wednesday, 20 November 2019

In Goal warm up equipment

At the weekend there was a point in the game at Northampton when a player had been warming up in the in goal area.
There was a tackle bag in in-goal 5 cones and over 10 strips (old ladder sprint warm up kit)  If the ball had hit any of these what would the referee have done. Does it matter whether attack or defence had left it there?
Cannot find anything in the laws that cater for this.
Also in the match from a kick off the ball went long and was going straight out. The attacker leapt and with one hand batted the ball back in play. It went forward. He had made no attempt to catch it and had very little chance of doing so. In this current climate of deliberate knock on being so harsh on poorly judged attempted interceptions. Would you (general refereeing) consider this a deliberate knock on?
Do you think this should be relaxed again to be just deliberate blocking of a pass, should this include deliberate blocking of a pass even if the ball does not go forward?
I am so glad I have found a site that might help with my knowledge of the game.
Many Thanks
Graham Sutton
Hi Graham

A couple of good questions there.

Equipment in-goal.  Really this shouldn't be allowed.  Players warming up in-goal are fine as they have to warm up somewhere and in-goal is usually the only place available at that level.  But equipment should be banned from in-goal during the game.

You are correct in the law being silent on this situation.  The closest example is Law 6.12
12. If the ball is touched by the referee or other non-player in in-goal, the referee judges
what would have happened next and awards a try or a touch down at the place where
the contact took place.
In your example the ball touches equipment not a player, so strictly by the letter of the law we would play on unless there is a danger to players from the equipment.  In that case a stoppage for any other reason would come into play, which would result in a scrum to the team going forward, which would usually be the attacking team.

Regarding your second question, it would be very harsh to giver a deliberate knock on under those circumstances.  The player is trying to keep the ball in play (positive play) and is probably unaware, once in the air, of exactly which direction he is facing.

The deliberate blocking of a pass versus a genuine attempt at an interception is very much up to the referee to decide.  There are so many variables that sometimes we just have to accept the referees decision based on his knowledge of the game and empathy with the players.  Blocking a pass without knocking it on will always be allowed, otherwise interceptions would cease to exist, in The Rugby Referees opinion. 

Having said all that guidelines are released from time to time on how referees should judge what is a deliberate knock on.  This is to try and gain consistency in refereeing.

Glad you like the site
The Rugby Ref

Monday, 18 November 2019

Player running with the ball is about to be tackled...

Is a player going forward with the ball allowed to go to the ground to avoid being tackled by an opponent?
Hi and thanks for the question.  There is no law that prevents a player from voluntarily going to ground with the ball.  However once he has done so he is out of the game and must immediately do one of three things.
Law 13
The game is played only by players who are on their feet.
1. Players, who go to ground to gather the ball or who go to ground with the ball, must immediately:
a. Get up with the ball; or
b. Play (but not kick) the ball; or
c. Release the ball.
Sanction: Penalty. 
2. Once the ball is played or released, players on the ground must immediately either move away from the ball or get up.
Sanction: Penalty.
3. A player on the ground without the ball is out of the game and must:
a. Allow opponents who are not on the ground to play or gain possession of the ball.
b. Not play the ball.
c. Not tackle or attempt to tackle an opponent.
Sanction: Penalty.

The Rugby Ref