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Clarification 2015 - 4

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Ruling 4-2015
Union / HP Ref Manager UAR
Law Reference 6
15 April 2015


The UAR seeks clarification on Law 6 – Match Officials.

Following the controversy after a match in the Argentine National Clubs Championships 1st Division on the 21st March 2015 regarding the decision by the referee to blow the whistle for the end of the match and then deciding to continue it, we would like a clarification in Law.

There is a ruck and the referee blows the whistle because the ball becomes unplayable and then blows again to indicate clearly the end of the match with the score 18-19. The assistant referee immediately calls the referee and tells him that a player from the winning team was clearly offside in the ruck and kicked the ball. The referee requests a review by the TMO that confirms the action. Then the referee shows a yellow card to the infringing player. After that, the referee decides the restart of the match with a penalty kick that is converted to goal and the referee blows the end of the match with the score 21-19.

The Law says:
6.A.4(b) The referee keeps the time.

6.A.8(a) The referee must carry a whistle and blow the whistle to indicate the beginning and end of each half of the match.

6.A.6 The referee may alter a decision when an assistant referee has raised the flag to signal touch or an act of foul play.

If the referee blows for the end of the match, is there any reason for which he can restart the match?

Clarification in Law by the Designated Members of the Rugby Committee
If the assistant referee has flagged for foul play/deliberate infringement and it takes place before the end of the match, then the referee may restart the match with a penalty kick, free kick or mark, etc. If the flag was raised after the final whistle or for non-foul play/deliberate infringement, then the game is over.

Law 5.7(e) reinforces this:
If time expires and the ball is not dead, or an awarded scrum or lineout has not been completed, the referee allows play to continue until the next time that the ball becomes dead. The ball becomes dead when the referee would have awarded a scrum, lineout, an option to the non-infringing team, drop out or after a conversion or successful penalty kick at goal. If a scrum has to be reset, the scrum has not been completed. If time expires and a mark, free kick or penalty kick is then awarded, the referee allows play to continue.