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Clarification 2014 - 9

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Ruling 9-2014
Union / HP Ref Manager FPR
Law Reference 13,21
Date 26 November 2014
Request
The Federação Portuguesa de Rugby seeks clarification on the following situation.

Law 13.10 Drop-out Definitions:

"A drop-out is used to restart play after an attacking player has put or taken the ball into the in-goal, without infringement, and a defending player has made the ball dead there or it has gone into touch-in­ goal or on or over the dead ball line."

21.4 Penalty and free kick options and requirements:

"c) No delay. If a kicker indicates to the referee the intention to kick a penalty kick at goal, the kick must be taken within one minute from the time the player indicates the intention to kick at goal. The intention to kick is signaled by the arrival of the kicking tee or sand, or when the player makes a mark on the ground. The player must complete the kick within one minute even if the ball rolls over and has to be placed again. If the one minute is exceeded, the kick is disallowed, a scrum is ordered at the place of the mark and the opponents throw in the ball. For any other type of kick, the kick must be taken without undue delay."

21.6 Scoring from a free kick:

"a) A goal cannot be scored from a free kick.
b) The team awarded a free kick cannot score a dropped goal until after the ball next becomes dead, or until an opponent has played or touched it, or has tackled the ball carrier. This restriction applies also to a scrum or lineout taken instead of a free kick."

22.7 Restarting after a touch down:

"a) When an attacking player sends or carries the ball into the opponent's in-goal and it becomes dead there, either because a defender grounded it or because it went into touch-in-goal or on or over the dead ball line, a drop-out is awarded."

22.8 Ball kicked dead through in-goal:

"If a team kicks the ball through their opponents' in-goal into touch-in-goal or on or over the dead ball line, except by an unsuccessful kick at goal or attempted dropped goal, the defending team has two choices:

  • To have a drop-out, or
  • To have a scrum at the place where the ball was kicked and they throw in."

Scenario

Team A is awarded a free kick. They opt for a scrum and win the ball. The ball is quickly passed to their fly half who drop kicks it through the posts and above the cross bar and the ball then becomes dead.

As we can see, Law 21.6 determines that the attempted drop goal is not valid, however no mention is made to how play should restart.

Should the referee restart play by:

a) awarding only a scrum at the place of the attempted drop goal? This decision appears to be valid according to Law 21.4 (c).

b) awarding only a 22 drop-out? This decision appears to be valid according to Law 13.10 Definitions, paragraph two and Law 22.7(a).

Law 22.8 appears to deny giving an option to the opposing team in either a scrum at the place of the attempted dropped goal or a 22 drop-out.

Due to the above-mentioned doubts within the Laws of the Game, we seek clarity on whether the attempted dropped goal following a free kick is considered to be:

i) an unsuccessful kick at goal/ unsuccessful dropped goal, in which case Laws 13.10 and 22.7(a) should apply?

or

ii) a free kick incorrectly executed, in which case Law 21.4 should be applied?

Further to this:

iii) In the case the ball does not become dead after the attempted dropped goal, should advantage be applied?

Could you please clarify as the Laws of the Game do not clearly state how to restart play after the attempted dropped goal has been taken?

 
 
Clarification in Law by the Designated Members of the Rugby Committee
The illegal drop kick as described should be treated similar to a punt in general play, i.e. play continues. If the ball becomes dead from the kick then Law 22.8 should apply.

Law 22.8: Ball kicked dead through in-goal

If a team kicks the ball through their opponents’ in-goal into touch-in-goal or on or over the dead ball line, except by an unsuccessful kick at goal or attempted dropped goal, the defending team has two choices:

  • To have a drop-out, or
  • To have a scrum at the place where the ball was kicked and they throw in.