Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Grounding with delay!

Hi Ref,

In 13.9 of the law book before 2018, 



(b) If the opposing team grounds the ball, or if they make it dead, or if the ball becomes dead by going into touch-in-goal, or on or over the dead ball line, they have two choices:

• To have a scrum formed at the centre, and they throw in the ball, or

• To have the other team kick off again.

(c) If they opt to ground the ball or make it dead, they must do so without delay. Any other action with the ball by a defending player means the player has elected to play on.

We found in law book after 2018,

it became 12.9 as below description

If the ball is kicked into the opponents’ in-goal without touching any player and an opponent grounds the ball without delay or it goes dead through in-goal, the non-kicking team has the option of having the kick retaken or a scrum.

In the past we awarded 22 drop out instead of center scrum or retaken when the defense player delayed grounding the ball.

According to the wording of new law book, shall we do the same decision as before since they deleted the 13.9(c).



Hi Bly

Good questions.  If the defender does not ground the ball without delay then the have elected to play on, and we are effectively in open play, so do whatever you would do if the team hadn't just kicked off.

In practise this means they can run it out of in-goal, or ground it.  If they ground it (having delayed) we look at who took the ball into in-goal (the attackers) and thus award a 22 drop out.  They have effectively waived their right to any other options.

You should also note that they need to press down on the ball to ground it.  Merely picking up the ball is not grounding it.

Thanks for the questions, sometimes simplifying the Law book doesn't always make it clearer.

The Rugby Ref

Monday, 16 November 2020

Law 21.17 Doubt about grounding

 Hi Ref,

About law 21.17, here we have a scenario:

In open play and the time is up. What about the situation when neither the ref and AR don’t know if the ball is grounded or not. (No TMO in that pitch)

Should we blow the whistle to finish the game or make the last scrum call, attacking team throw in?



Hi there

Law 21.17 says "If there is any doubt about which team first grounded the ball in in-goal, play is restarts with a five metre scrum.."

In your example we don't know if the ball as grounded or not, assuming the ball was taken into in-goal by the attacking team, and we can't see it grounded, then the call would be held up, which would also result in a five metre scrum.

So now we have to look at the law on time. 

Law 5.7

A half ends when the ball becomes dead after time has expired unless:

A scrum, lineout or restart kick following a try or touchdown, awarded before time expired, has not been completed and the ball has not returned to open play. This includes when the scrum, lineout or restart kick is taken incorrectly.

The key phrase in this law is "awarded before time expires". Since time had already expired in your example, the scrum was awarded after time had expired, so the game ends. 

Hope that answers your question.

The Rugby Ref

Thursday, 29 October 2020

Take any action to make the opponents believe that the ruck has ended, when it has not.

Hi Ref,

One situation I faced in today’s game.

Ruck formed and the ball was possessed by team A. A’ no.9 was behind the ruck and put his hand on the ball (not picked up yet, that we know the ruck was not end.).

One of A’s forward asked the no.9 to leave because they changed their strategy to move forward by some big men. The no.9 left but no players of B were misled to move cross the offside line. Should I let the ball play on or?

What if team B’s player were misled to be offside? Manage them to be back on line or FK to team B



Hi Bly

So let's look at the facts. The ball hasn't been lifted and the ruck hasn't ended.  No player has made any move to dummy the ball or fake the ball being out.

The law states that "Players must not take any action to make opponents believe that the ruck has ended when it has not".

From your description Team A did nothing to make the opposition think the ruck was over, they just repositioned their players.

So to answer your questions:

Should I play on?  Yes definitely, we are looking for reasons not to blow the whistle and allow play to continue wherever possible.  No laws have been broken, so play on.

If team B came offside should I manage them back or Free Kick them?  Same answer, manage them back onside and allow play to continue.  Don't blow the whistle unless they have a material effect.

Thanks for the scenario.

The Rugby Ref

Wednesday, 4 March 2020

Taking a penalty kick incorrectly

Has the law on how to take a penalty kick been changed?
2017 Law 21.4 "Sanction: Unless otherwise stated in Law any infringement by the kicker's team results in a scrum at the mark.  The opposing team throw in the ball."
The current Law book uses the same criteria but gives no specific Sanction.
We were told there were no changes in the "simplified" rewrite, so is this an error or a change?  Should we apply 9.7 (a) " A player must not intentionally infringe any law of the game" and award a Free Kick?
Locally referees often merely require a correct retake for the first offence.
 Hi Peter

Been a while since you submitted this question, but The Rugby Ref has only recently been able to get a definitive answer.

You are correct in saying that match officials were told there were no changes in law when the law book was "rewritten" for clarity.  However we have to be pragmatic, that information is now three years old and we have to work with what we have, which is the current 2020 law book.

The Rugby Ref has now sought advice from three or four Premiership Referees, who all came to the same conclusion.  If a kick is taken incorrectly (from the wrong spot, wrong type of kick etc) then the kick has in fact not legally taken place, and the game has not restarted.  So we bring them back to take it again correctly.

However if this is done repeatedly then the referee may consider "repeat offending" or "intentionally infringing", but good game management should prevent things getting that far.

The Rugby Ref

Thursday, 2 January 2020

Lazy runners & deliberate actions

Dear Ref,
I am familiar with the rules\laws for lazy  runners, but I want to question the actions of the attacking team if the scrum half deliberately passes a ball into a retreating lazy runner who has his hands up signalling that he knows he is offside.
I am not saying that he was making a pass and the ball hit a lazy runner; what I’m saying is that he picked up the wall and post it directly into the lazy river and there was no one in line of the boss so he deliberately, almost cynically, threw the ball at a player and then shouted “lazy runner”
Hi Simon

Technically the lazy runner is offside and interfering with play and this will result in a penalty.  The fact that the lazy runner puts his hands in the air just highlights the fact that he is offside.

The simple answer is that if the lazy runner is not in the vicinity of the scrum half this can't happen, so don't put yourself in a position where the opposition can take advantage of you being offside.

However The Rugby Ref would be talking to the scrum half about appealing and not trying to "buy a penalty".

The Rugby Ref