Law 9. Foul play


A player who commits foul play must either be cautioned or temporarily suspended or sent off.


1. When a player and an opponent are running for the ball, neither player may charge or push the other except shoulder-to-shoulder.

2. An offside player must not intentionally obstruct an opponent or interfere with play.

3. A player must not intentionally prevent an opponent from tackling or attempting to tackle the ball-carrier.

4. A player must not intentionally prevent an opponent from having the opportunity to play the ball, other than by competing for possession.

5. A ball-carrier must not intentionally run into an off-side team-mate to obstruct the opposition.

6. A player must not obstruct, or in any way interfere with an opponent while the ball is dead.

Sanction : Penalty

Unfair play

7. A player must not :

a. Intentionally infringe any law of the game.
Sanction: Penalty
b. Intentionally knock, place, push or throw the ball with arm or hand from the playing area.
Sanction: Penalty
c. Do anything that may lead the match officials to consider that an opponent has committed an infringement.
Sanction: Penalty
d. Waste time.
Sanction : Free kick

Repeated infringements

8. A team must not repeatedly commit the same offence.
Sanction: Penalty

9. A player must not repeatedly infringe the laws.
Sanction: Penalty

10. When different players of the same team repeatedly commit the same offence, the referee gives a general caution to the team and if they then repeat the offence, the referee temporarily suspends the guilty player(s).

Dangerous play

11. Players must not do anything that is reckless or dangerous to others.

12. A player must not physically or verbally abuse anyone. Physical abuse includes, but is not limited to, biting, punching, contact with the eye or eye area, striking with any part of the arm (including stiff-arm tackles), shoulder, head or knee(s), stamping, trampling, tripping or kicking.

13. A player must not tackle an opponent early, late or dangerously. Dangerous tackling includes, but is not limited to, tackling or attempting to tackle an opponent above the line of the shoulders even if the tackle starts below the line of the shoulders.

14. A player must not tackle an opponent who is not in possession of the ball.

15. Except in a scrum, ruck or maul, a player who is not in possession of the ball must not hold, push, charge or obstruct an opponent not in possession of the ball.

16. A player must not charge or knock down an opponent carrying the ball without attempting to grasp that player.

17. A player must not tackle, charge, pull, push or grasp an opponent whose feet are off the ground.

18. A player must not lift an opponent off the ground and drop or drive that player so that their head and/or upper body make contact with the ground.

19. Dangerous play in a scrum.

a. The front row of a scrum must not form at a distance from its opponents and rush against them.
b. A front-row player must not pull an opponent.
c. A front-row player must not intentionally lift an opponent off their feet or force the opponent upwards out of the scrum.
d. A front-row player must not intentionally collapse a scrum.

20. Dangerous play in a ruck or maul.

a. A player must not charge into a ruck or maul. Charging includes any contact made without binding onto another player in the ruck or maul.
b. A player must not make contact with an opponent above the line of the shoulders.
c. A player must not intentionally collapse a ruck or a maul.
d. A player may lever the jackler out of the contest at the ruck but must not drop their weight onto them or target the lower limbs. (Global law trial)

21. A player must not retaliate.

22. Teams must not use the ‘flying wedge’.

23. A player must not attempt to kick the ball from the hands of the ball-carrier.

24. A ball-carrier is permitted to hand off an opponent provided excessive force is not used.

Sanction: Penalty

Late charging the kicker

25. A player must not intentionally charge or obstruct an opponent who has just kicked the ball.

Sanction: Penalty. The non-offending team chooses to take the penalty either:
a. At the place of the infringement; or
b. Where the ball lands or is next played but not nearer than 15 metres from the touchline; or
c. If the ball is kicked directly into touch, on the 15-metre line in line with where the ball crossed the touchline; or
d. If the ball lands in in-goal, touch-in-goal or on or over the dead-ball line, five metres from the goal line in line with where the ball crossed the goal line and at least 15 metres from the touchline; or
e. If the ball hits a goal post or crossbar, where the ball lands.

26. In open play, any player may lift or support a team-mate. Players who do so must lower that player to the ground safely as soon as the ball is won by either team.
Sanction: Free-kick.


27. A player must not do anything that is against the spirit of good sportsmanship.

28. Players must respect the authority of the referee. They must not dispute the referee’s decisions. They must stop playing immediately when the referee blows the whistle to stop play.

sanction: Penalty

Yellow and red cards

29. When a player is being cautioned and suspended for 10 minutes, the referee will show that player a yellow card. If that player later commits another yellow-card offence, the player must be sent off.

30. When a player is being sent off, the referee will show that player a red card and the player will take no further part in the match. A player sent off may not be replaced.