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