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Clarification 2014 - 4

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Ruling 4-2014
Union / HP Ref Manager RFU
Law Reference 15,16
Date 8 October 2014

Law 15.5 and Law 16.3

The RFU requested clarification on two items of Law in the context of both the Sevens and Fifteens game:

  1. Tackled player shifting body position before release
  2. Ruck clear outs using “head rolls” or “body rolls”
Clarification in Law by the Designated Members of the Rugby Committee
For the avoidance of doubt there is only one set of Laws. The interpretations set out below stand for both the Sevens and Fifteens game:

In terms of the tackled player shifting body position before release, Law 15.5 (a) and 15.5 (e) should be considered:

(a) A tackled player must not lie on, over, or near the ball to prevent opponents from gaining possession of it, and must try to make the ball available immediately so that play can continue.

(e) If opposition players who are on their feet attempt to play the ball, the tackled player must release the ball.

In terms of ruck clearouts using “head rolls” and “body rolls”, this is not specifically referenced in Law. However, Law 10.4 (e) regarding dangerous play and misconduct should be applied to both the tackle and clear out:

“Dangerous tackling. A player must not tackle an opponent early, late or dangerously. A player must not tackle an opponent above the line of the shoulders even if the tackle starts below the line of the shoulders. A tackle around the neck or head is dangerous play. Sanction: Penalty kick”

Therefore body rolls are permissible but head rolls should be penalised.