Laws of the Game
1. The Touch Lines are in Touch, the Touch in-Goal lines are Touch in-Goal, the Goal Lines are in the In-Goal area and the Dead Ball Line is beyond In-Goal.
2. Indicates a corner post (see Glossary) placed at the intersection of each goal line and touch line. A corner post is in touch in-goal. Touch Judges should at all times ensure that corner posts are correctly positioned.
3. The goal posts are considered to extend indefinitely upwards. It is recommended that the bottom two metres of each upright be padded. American Football shaped goal posts are permissible provided the relevant dimensions are observed.
4. For adult games the dimensions should be as near maximum as possible to the dimensions stipulated.
5. The broken lines in the PLAN shall consist of marks or dots on the ground not more than 2 metres apart. All transverse lines must be marked across the full width of the field.
GLOSSARY OF TERMS
Rugby League like other sports has its own "jargon" used to describe certain aspects of playing the game.
Often a number of different names are given to the same action and, of course, many terms have their origin in the rules of the game. It is hoped that through the use of a standard terminology, communication and understanding will be improved between teachers, coaches, players and officials.
Accidental Strike when a ball strikes a player who makes no attempt to play at the ball.
Acting Half Back the person behind the play the ball situation (also referred to as dummy half).
Advantage allowing the advantage means allowing play to proceed if it is to the advantage of the team which has not committed an offence or infringement.
Attacking Team is the team, which at the time has a territorial advantage. If a scrum is to be formed on the halfway line the team which last touched the ball before it went out of play is the attacking team.
Back as applied to a player means one who is not taking part in the scrum.
Ball Back means to form a scrum where the ball was kicked from after it has entered the touch on the full.
Behind when applied to a player means, unless otherwise stated, that both feet are behind the position in question. Similarly 'in front of' means nearer to one's opponent's goal line.
Behind Ball a ball which is passed behind one optional runner to another.
Blindside means the side of the scrum or of the play the ball nearer to touch.
Bomb refers to a high kick.
Breach any accidental or deliberate non-compliance with the rules.
Charging Down is blocking the path of the ball with hands, arm or body as it rises from an opponent's kick.
Chip Kick a short weighted kick usually over the top of the defensive line.
Converting a Try is the act of kicking a goal following the scoring of a try..
Corner Post is a post surmounted by a flag placed at the intersection of each touch line and goal line. The post shall be of non rigid material and shall not be less than 1.25m high. The corner posts are touch in goal.
Counter Attack Transition - the opportunity to launch an attack after a period of defending.
Dead Ball means that the ball is out of play.
Defending Team is the team opposing the attacking team.
Differential Penalty differs in one respect from a Penalty Kick in that a goal cannot be scored from it.
Double Marker the two players allowed to oppose the 'play the balls' situation.
Drag and Drop 'drag' is to run and pull a defender out of position, 'drop' is the pass made to a player running a 'hook line'.
Drift a running line 'drifting' across your opponent.
Drop Goal sometimes referred to as a Field Goal, is a goal scored by propelling the ball over the crossbar by drop kicking it.
Drop Out means a drop kick from between the posts or from the centre of the 20 metre line when bringing the ball back into play.
Dummy is the pretence of passing or otherwise releasing the ball while still retaining possession of it.
Dummy Half the person behind the play the ball situation (also referred to as acting half back).
Face Ball a ball that is passed across the front of one optional runner to another.
Field of Play is the area bounded by, but not including, the touch lines and goal lines
Forward means in a direction towards the opponents dead ball line. As applied to a player it means one who is at the time packing down in the scrum.
Forward Pass is a throw towards the opponent's dead ball line.
Foul Play refers to the various types of misconduct resulting in infringements of the Laws of the Game.
Free Kick is the kick awarded to the team, which kicks into touch from a penalty kick. The kick is taken 10 metres in from touch opposite the point of entry into touch. The ball may be kicked in any manner in any direction but a goal cannot be scored from it, nor can ground be gained by kicking into touch on the full.
Full Time means the end of the game. Also referred to as No-side.
General Play refers to all aspects of play after a match has been started or restarted by a Place Kick, Drop Out, Penalty Kick, Free Kick or Scrum.
Goal is the act of converting either a try or penalty kick.
Grounding the Ball a) Placing the ball on the ground with hand or hands, or b) Exerting downward pressure on the ball with hand or arm, the ball itself being on the ground, or c) Dropping on the ball and covering it with part of the body above the waist and below the neck, the ball itself being on the ground.
Grubber Kick a kick into the ground that rolls point over point along the floor.
Half Time means the end of the first half of the game.
Hand Over is the surrendering of the ball to the opposition after a team has been tackled the statutory number of successive times.
Heel is when a player propels the ball behind him/her with the sole or heel of his/her foot.
Hook is the act of the hooker when he strikes with a foot for the ball in the scrum.
Hook Line a running line to receive the ball inside the ball carrier that is running across the face of the defence.
In-Goal the area bounded by the goal line, touch-in-goal lines and dead ball line.
In Possession means to be holding or carrying the ball.
Inside Ball refers to a pass being turned back inside, opposite to the direction in which the ball was traveling.
Kick means imparting motion to the ball with any part of the leg (except the heel) from the knee to toe inclusive.
Kick-Off the method of starting each half of the game.
Knock On means to knock the ball towards the opponent's dead ball line with hand or arm.
Loose Arm is an offence by the hooker if they do not pack into the scrum with both arms around the neck of the prop and front row forward.
Loose Ball is when during play the ball is not held by a player and not being scrimmaged.
Mark is the point at which a penalty kicks or free kick is awarded or a scrum formed.
Mutual Infringement the reason for the stoppage in play is not the fault of either team.
Obstruction is the illegal act of impeding an opponent who does not have the ball.
Offloading passing the ball out of the tackle.
Off Side as applied to a player means that they are temporarily out of play and may be penalised if they join in the game.
On Side means that a player is not off-side.
Open Side means the side of the scrum or the play the ball further from touch.
On the Full means the ball is kicked over a given line or is caught by a player without first coming into contact with the ground or another player.
Out of Play refers to a player out of play at the restart of play.
Overload getting more players around the ball than the opposition.
Pack refers collectively to the forwards of any one team. To pack down means to form a scrum.
Pass is a throw of the ball from one player to another.
Penalise is to award a penalty kick against an offending player.
Penalty Kick is awarded upon infringement to the non offending team.
Place Kick is to kick the ball after it as been placed on the ground for that purpose.
Playing Area is the area enclosed by the fence, or other such line demarcation, which prevents encroachment of spectators.
Playing Field is the area bounded by, but not including the touchlines and dead ball lines.
Play the Ball is the act of bringing the ball into play after a tackle.
Pop Pass a short weighted pass.
Prop is the front row forward nearest to the scrum half putting the ball into the scrum.
Punt is a kick whereby the ball is dropped from the hand or hands and is kicked before it touches the ground.
Put-In also known as FEEDING THE SCRUM is the rolling of the ball into the scrum.
Ruck refers to all players involved in and around the tackle and subsequent play the ball.
Scrum - Where a team loses the advantage of the 'Loose Head' and 'Put-In' the scrum is said to be awarded against the team.
Shoulder Charge - is where a defender, without attempting to tackle, grab or hold the ball-carrier (or any opposing player) using the arms or hands, makes direct physical contact with the shoulder or the upper arm (tucked into the side). (Refer Section 15)
Static Passing passing whilst in a stationary position.
Strike as applied to the foot means to attempt to secure possession of the ball, usually by heeling it, in a scrum.
Switch changing the direction of a pass or the direction of play.
Tackle the act of bringing the ball carrier (opposing player) to ground.
Touch Down in the grounding of the ball by a defending player in the player's own in goal.
Touch-in-Goal See section 9 of the laws below.
Touching the Ball in all aspects of play 'touching the ball' refers to deliberately playing at the ball.
Try in the grounding of the ball by a attacking player in their opponents in goal area.
Twenty Metre Restart a kick taken at the centre of the 20 metre line to restart play, the ball may be kicked in any manner and in any direction.
Upright Tackle is where a player in possession is effectively tackled without being brought to the ground.
Unload the Tackle getting off an opponent after making a tackle.
Voluntary Tackle is where a player in possession voluntarily stops play when not effectively tackled.
Zero Tackle means the tackle is not counted in that set of six tackles.
1. Shape and Construction The game shall be played with an oval air-inflated ball the outer casing of which shall be of leather or other material approved by the International Board. Nothing shall be used in its construction which might prove dangerous to the players.
2. Size and Weight The dimensions of the ball shall be those approved by the International Board.
3. Ball deflated The Referee shall blow his whistle immediately he notices that the size and shape of the ball no longer comply with the Laws of the Game.
1. Colour of the Ball In senior competitions the ball shall be light in colour so that it can be more easily seen by spectators.
2. Ball bursts If the ball bursts as a player is taking a place kick at goal he should be allowed another kick. If a player grounds the ball for a try and then it is noticed that the ball has burst the try should be allowed. Otherwise, if the ball bursts, play is stopped, the ball is replaced and a scrum is formed to restart play at the point where the ball bursts. The team in possession or last in possession shall have the loose head and the put-in.
PLAYERS & EQUIPMENT
13-a-side 1. The game shall be played by two teams each consisting of not more than thirteen players on the field at any one time.
Substitutes 2. (a) Each team may nominate a maximum of four replacements before the start of the game. Their names along with those of the players must be given to the referee before the start of the game. A maximum of eight interchanges will be allowed from the 17 named players.
Substitutions shall be sanctioned by the Referee or by an official appointed to oversee the substitution process.
2. (b) Where a player is bleeding, the referee shall direct the player to leave the field for attention in which event they may be replaced. This replacement counts for the purpose of 2 (a) above.
Number and Naming of Players 3. For ease of identification, players’ clothing must bear the numbers 1 to 13 with additional numbers for the substitutes. The numbers relate to the positions of the players in their respective teams, these positions being referred to by name and number as set out hereunder.
(1) Full Back
(2) Right Wing
(3) Right Centre
(4) Left Centre
(5) Left Wing
(7) Scrum Half
(10) Front Row Forward
(11) Second Row Forward
(12) Second Row Forward
(13) Loose Forward
Players’ Equipment 4. (a) A player shall not wear anything that might prove dangerous to other players.
(b) A player’s normal gear shall consist of a numbered jersey of distinctive colour and/or pattern, a pair of shorts, socks of distinctive colour and/or pattern and studded boots or shoes.
(c) Protective clothing may be worn provided it contains nothing of a rigid or dangerous nature.
Dangerous Equipment (d) The referee shall order a player to remove any part of their equipment which might be considered dangerous and shall not allow the player to take any further part in the game until the order is obeyed. The player shall retire from the playing field to remove the offending item if the start or restart of the game would otherwise be delayed.
Similar Colours (e) The colours of the jerseys worn by competing teams shall be easily distinguishable and, if, in the opinion of the Referee similarity between the jerseys might affect the proper conduct of the game they may, at their discretion, order either team to change jerseys in accordance with the rules governing the competition in which the game is played.
Studs (f) Studs on boots or shoes shall be no less than 8mm diameter at the apex and, if made of metal, shall have rounded edges.
Substitutes 2. A player other than a player who is replacing an injured player who has left the field cannot be substituted during a play-the-ball except when play is stopped because of injury. If a substitution is effected when a kick at goal is to be taken, the substitute shall not be allowed to take the kick.
Late arrival. The laws relating to the replacement of players apply also to any player who, arriving late for the game, wishes to join in the play after the game has started.
Inspect Equipment 4. (d) Referees should inspect players’ equipment before the start of the game or delegate this duty to the Touch Judges. This does not relieve the player of the responsibility of ensuring that nothing of an offending nature is worn, e.g. rings, rigid shoulder pads, projecting eyelets or nails on football boots or dangerous studs.
Colours 4. (e) Referees should inspect the colours to be worn by the teams before the players enter the field of play so that, if a change is necessary, the start of the game is not delayed. Clubs not wearing their registered colours should be reported to the appropriate authority by the Referee unless the reason for not so doing is self-evident or known beforehand.
MODE OF PLAY
1. Object The object of the game shall be to ground the ball in the opponents’ in-goal to score tries (see Section 6) and to kick the ball over the opponents’ cross bar to score goals (see Section 6).
2. Start of Play The captains of the two teams shall toss the coin in the presence of the referee. The captain winning the toss shall decide to either kick off or choose which end his team shall defend. The losing captain shall take the other of the alternatives.
3. Mode of Play Once play has started any player who is on side or not out of play can run with the ball kick it in any direction and throw or knock it in any direction other than towards his opponents’ dead ball line (See Section 10 for Knock-on and Forward Pass).
4. Tackling A player who during play is holding the ball may be tackled by an opposing player or players in order to prevent him from running with the ball or from kicking or passing it to one of his own team. (See Section 11 for Tackle).
5. Obstruction A player who is not holding the ball shall not be tackled or obstructed. (See Misconduct).
5. Shoulder Charge If two players are running side by side near to and towards the ball it is permissible for one to charge the other with the shoulder.
Value 1. A try shall count four points.
Try and Goal A conversion goal or a penalty goal shall count two points. A drop goal during play shall count one point.
Deciding winners 2. (a) The game shall be won by the team scoring the greater number of points. If both teams score an equal number of points, or if both teams fail to score, then the game shall be drawn.
Try – How scored 3. A try is scored when:–
(a) a player first grounds the ball in his opponents’ in-goal, provided that they are not in touch or touch in-goal or on or over the dead ball line.
(b) opposing players simultaneously ground the ball in the in-goal area provided that the attacking player is not in touch or touch in-goal or on or over the dead ball line.
Sliding try (c) a tackled player’s momentum carries them into the opponents’ in-goal where they ground the ball even if the ball has first touched the ground in the field of play but provided that when the ball crosses the goal line the player is not in touch or touch in-goal or on or over the dead ball line.
Penalty try (d) the Referee may award a penalty try if, in their opinion, a try would have been scored but for the unfair play of the defending team. A penalty try is awarded between the goal posts irrespective of where the offence occurred.
Touching Referee/Others (e) an attacking player carrying the ball comes into contact with the Referee or a Touch Judge or an encroaching spectator in the opponents’ in-goal and play is thereby irregularly affected.
Position of Try 4. The Try is awarded:–
(a) where grounded if scored as in 3(a) and 3(b) above.
(b) where it first crosses the goal line if scored as in 3(c) above.
(c) between the posts if a penalty try.
(d) where contact took place if scored as in 3(e) above.
Referee – Sole judge 5. Only the Referee, or if available, the video referee, may award a try, but the Referee may take into consideration advice given by the Touch Judges before arriving at his decision. They shall signal that a try has been scored by pointing to where the try has been awarded but should only do so after looking at the two Touch Judges to ensure they are not reporting a prior incident.
Goal – 6. A goal is scored if the whole of the ball at any time how scored during its flight passes on the full over the opponents’ cross bar towards the dead ball line after being kicked by a player (and not touching or being touched in flight by any other player) in any of these circumstances:–
(a) by a place kick after a try has been scored and counts two points
(b) by a place kick or a drop kick when a penalty kick has been awarded and counts two points.
Drop Goal 7. A drop goal is scored by a drop kick during play from any position in the field of play and counts one point. A drop goal shall be awarded notwithstanding that the ball touches or has been touched in flight by an opposing player.
Where taken 8. A kick at goal after a try may be taken from any point on an imaginary line drawn parallel to the touch line in the field of play and through the point where the try was awarded. A kick at goal from a penalty kick may be taken from the mark or from any point on an imaginary line drawn from the mark towards the kicker’s own goal line and parallel to the touch line.
Players’ positions 9. When a kick at goal is being taken following a try, the opposing players shall stand outside the field of play. Players of the kicker’s team must be behind the ball. When a kick at goal is being taken from a penalty kick, the opponents shall retire to their goal line or not less than 10 metres from the mark. (See Section 13).
Not to distract kicker It is illegal to attempt to distract the attention of a player who is kicking at goal.
Goal Post(s) 10. For the purpose of judging a kick at goal, the goal posts are assumed to extend indefinitely upwards.
Judging kicks at goal 11. If a Touch Judge is of the opinion that a goal has been scored they shall raise their flag above their head. If the kick is unsuccessful they shall wave their flag in front of them and below the waist. It there is no disagreement between the Touch Judges their decision shall be accepted. In the event of disagreement, the Referee shall decide.
Picking up in in-goal 3. (a) Picking up the ball is not grounding it and a player may pick up the ball in his opponents’ in-goal in order to ground it in a more advantageous position.
Ball on goal line As the goal lines themselves are in-goal a try can be scored by an attacking player grounding the ball on the goal line, but not at the foot of the posts in the field of play.
Incorrectly grounding When an attacking player fails to ground the ball correctly, play continues unless stopped for some other reason, e.g. a knock-on or the ball goes dead.
Release after grounding A try should not be disallowed because the player who correctly grounds the ball fails to retain it.
Referee unsighted The Referee should not disallow a try because they were not in a position to see the grounding of the ball.
No try in scrum A try cannot be scored by grounding the ball when it is in the scrum.
Boring through forwards A player may pick up the ball at the base of the scrum and bore through their own forwards to ground the ball for a try.
Ball blown back 6. If, after passing completely over the cross-bar the ball is blown back, a goal is still allowed.
No goal from 7. A goal cannot be scored from a kick off, drop-out, a free kick kick off, etc. or differential penalty.
Advise where to place the ball 8. A Referee should ensure that a kick at goal is taken from the correct position by advising the kicker beforehand. If the Referee’s advice is ignored by the kicker no goal shall be allowed and the kick shall not be retaken.
Wasting time If a player wastes time when kicking at goal, the Referee may caution them or, in an extreme case, dismiss the player. They should not cancel the kick but should allow extra time to compensate for time lost.
Colleague holds ball 9. (a) When a kick at goal is being taken it is permissible for a if necessary teammate of the kicker to hold the ball in position by placing a hand on it. This may be necessary if there is a strong wind or the ground is extremely hard.
Authorised 9. (b) Kicking tees are permitted for starts of play, restarts after scoring and attempts at goal.
Accepting Touch Judge’s decision 11. If the ball passes near to one upright, the Touch Judge assigned to that upright is in the better position of the two to decide whether the ball has passed inside or outside the post and, in the event of disagreement, the Referee should be more inclined to accept this particular Touch Judge’s decision.
A Touch Judge should not necessarily remain stationary when the ball is in flight. He should move sufficiently to ensure that at all times he has a clear view of the ball.
Pretending to kick It shall be misconduct for a player to pretend to kick at goal at goal from a penalty kick and then deliberately kick it elsewhere. Such misconduct shall incur a penalty. Once having informed the Referee of their intention to kick at goal from a penalty award the kicker shall not do otherwise.
Length of game 1. The game shall normally be of eighty minutes duration.
Interval At half time there shall be an interval of five minutes but this may be extended or reduced.
Changing ends 2. A team shall defend one in-goal for the first half of the game and then change ends for the second half.
End of play 3. If time expires in either half when the ball is out of play or a player in possession has been tackled and the ball has not been played the Referee shall immediately blow his whistle to terminate play. If the ball is in play when time expires, the Referee shall terminate play when next the ball goes out of play or a player in possession is tackled but time shall be extended to allow a penalty kick or a kick at goal to be taken in which case the half is terminated when next the ball goes out of play or a tackle is effected, unless a further penalty is awarded in which case time is again extended for the kick to be taken.
Extra time 4. Extra time shall be added to each half to compensate for time wasted or lost from any cause. The Referee shall be the sole judge of extra time except where these duties have been delegated to a timekeeper.
Recommencing 5. (a) If the continuance of play endangers an injured play after injury player the referee may stop the game. If, when the game is stopped, a player is in possession of the ball the game shall be recommenced by that player playing-the-ball. Otherwise play shall be restarted with a scrum at the point where the ball was when play was stopped with the team then in possession or last in possession, having the loose head and the put-in.
(b) If a player in possession is injured in a tackle and unable to play the ball and play has been stopped, play shall be resumed by a colleague playing the ball at the point where the injured player was tackled.
(c) If a player in possession is injured in a tackle and unable to play the ball the Referee may without stopping the game, provided he is satisfied that continuance of play would not endanger the injured player, direct a colleague of the injured player to play the ball at a point five metres in-field from the point where the player was injured. In the event that a requirement to release the ball may endanger the injured player, the Referee may, at his discretion, order a scrum five metres in-field with the opponents of the team of the injured player having the loose head and the put-in.
Shortening length 1. The duration of the game may be reduced by mutual of game agreement and if permitted by the rules governing the competition in which the game is played.
Altering interval Clubs wishing to alter the length of the interval should apply to the appropriate authority who will then instruct the Referee accordingly.
In adverse weather conditions it may sometimes be advisable to reduce or dispense with the half time interval.
Using Timekeeper 3. A timekeeper may be employed to signal half time and full time, in which case the referee on receiving the timekeeper’s signal, terminates the half in the manner described above. A timekeeper may also assist the Referee in determining the end of a player’s temporary suspension.
Allow second kick If the ball is kicked into touch from a penalty the non-offending side should be allowed full advantage of the penalty award by extending time to allow play to be resumed with the free kick permitted by the Laws relating to the Penalty. (See Section 13).
Scrum If a scrum has been set and fed before time expires play shall continue until a player in possession is tackled or the ball goes out of play.
Time off for cautions Where time off applies, time should be taken off in the event of a caution being delivered to a player/players.
Signal extra time 4. If a timekeeper is employed, the referee shall signal that extra time is being allowed by raising both arms whereupon the timekeeper stops their watch and starts it again when the Referee waves one arm above their head to signal play is about to recommence.
Reduce stoppages 5. The Referee should endeavour to reduce stoppage to a minimum. Injured players should be removed from the playing field to receive attention as quickly as possible, taking into account the gravity and nature of the injury. Treatment to an injured player, by not more than one attendant, may be permitted while play proceeds if, in the opinion of the Referee, such treatment is not likely to interfere with play. The attendant shall not place anything on the ground likely to interfere with play, or carry anything of a rigid nature likely to cause injury in the event of a rapid switch in play causing an unforeseen collision.
KICK OFF & DROP OUT
Kick off 1. The kick off is a place kick from the centre of the halfway line. The team which loses the toss for choice of ends kicks off to start the first half of the game and their opponents kick off to start the second half.
When points have been scored, the team against which the points have been scored shall kick off to restart the game. The loose head and put-in goes to the kicking side when finding touch other than on the full. It should be noted that the law applies to goal line and 20 metre restarts but not optional kick restarts.
Restarting play at 20m – with an optional kick (i.e. any type of kick) 2. The game is restarted with an optional kick from the centre of the 20m line if:
(a) an attacking player last touches the ball before it goes out of play over the dead ball line or into touch in-goal except from a penalty kick (see Law 3), or from a kick off from the centre of the halfway line. (see 4(g) and 6(b) below).
(b) an attacking player infringes in the in-goal area. In the event of a deliberate breach by an attacking player a penalty kick is awarded 10 metres in the field of play in line with where the breach was committed. (See Section 13.)
(c) a defending player, in his in-goal, takes a kick in general play from an opponent on the full. The ball may be kicked in any manner and in any direction and is immediately in play. Opposing players shall retire ten metres from the 20m line and shall not advance until the ball has been kicked. Defending players shall not advance in front of the ball before it is kicked. Any deliberate offence by either team shall incur a penalty to be awarded at the centre of the 20m line.
– with drop-out 3. If the ball goes dead in the opponents’ in-goal from a after unsuccessful penalty kick (not necessarily a kick at goal) the game penalty is restarted with a drop-out by a defending player from the centre of the 20m line.
Drop-out from Goal line 4. The game is restarted with a drop-out by a defending player from the centre of his goal line if:
(a) a defending player last touches the ball before it goes over the dead ball line or into touch in-goal.
(b) a defending player accidentally infringes in the in-goal area.
(c) a defending player touches down in the in-goal area.
(d) a defending player in possession is tackled in the in-goal area.
(e) a defending player kicks the ball into touch on the full from their own in-goal.
(f) a defending player kicks or passes the ball in his own in-goal and the ball accidentally strikes an opponent and goes into touch in-goal or over the dead ball line.
(g) the ball or a defending player carrying the ball touches the referee, a touch judge or an encroaching spectator in the in-goal area and play is thereby irregularly affected.
(h) the ball goes over the dead ball line or into touch in-goal other than on the full from a kick off from the centre of the halfway line .
(i) where a kick is made dead by a defending player straddling the dead ball line or touch in goal line.
Ball caught 5. See Law 2 of this Section re ball caught on the full in-goal before being made ‘dead in-goal’.
Offences incurring penalties – kicker 6. A player who kicks off or drops-out shall be penalised if they:–
(a) advances in front of the appropriate line before kicking the ball.
(b) kicks the ball on the full over the touch line, touch in-goal, or over the dead ball line.
(c) kicks the ball so that it fails to travel at least ten metres forward in the field of play.
(d) kicks the ball other than in the prescribed manner.
– other players 7. Any other player shall be penalised if they:–
(a) willfully touches the ball from a kick off or dropout before it has travelled ten metres forward in the field of play.
(b) runs in front of one of their own team who is kicking off or dropping out.
(c) approaches nearer than ten metres to the line from which the kick is being taken when an opponent is kicking off or dropping out.
Penalties – 8. A penalty kick resulting from an offence at the kick where taken off shall be taken from the centre of the halfway line.
Any penalty kick arising from the restarting of play from the 20m line shall be taken from the centre of that line.
A penalty kick resulting from any offence at the dropout from between the posts shall be taken from the centre of the line drawn parallel to and ten metres from the goal line.
V.I.P kicks offs 2. If a person other than a player is invited to ‘kick off’, the ball after being kicked shall be brought back to the centre of the halfway line and the game shall then commence in the normal way as described above.
Intentional breach 4. (b) If a defending player in his own in-goal is penalised for in-goal an intentional breach of the law, the penalty is awarded in the field of play, 10 metres from the goal line and opposite where the breach occurred. (See Section 13, para 1).
Players not 6. (a) If a kick to start or restart play is taken quickly and the retiring 10m opposing players have not had adequate opportunity to retire ten metres, they may be penalised if they wilfully interfere with play before the ball travels ten metres forward. If such interference is accidental a scrum shall be formed but if the offending player has had adequate opportunity to retire ten metres his offence must be assumed to be deliberate.
Ball hits post (b) Hitting the post or cross bar in flight does not negate the breach
TOUCH & TOUCH INGOAL
Ball in touch (inc - Tackled player in touch on rising) 1. The ball is in touch when it or a player in contact with it touches the touch line or the ground beyond the touch line or any object on or outside the touch line except when a player, tackled in the field of play, steps into touch as they regain their feet in which case they shall play the ball in the field of play.
Jumping player knocks ball back The ball is in touch if a player jumps from touch and while off the ground touches the ball. The ball is not in touch if during flight it crosses the touch line but is knocked back by a player who is off the ground after jumping from the field of play.
Touch in-goal 2. The ball is in touch in-goal when it or a player in contact with it touches the touch in-goal line, or any object on or outside the touch in-goal line.
Points of Entry 3. When a ball has entered touch or touch in-goal, the point of entry shall be taken as the point at which the ball first crossed the touch or touch in-goal line.
Ball back 4. If the ball is kicked by or bounces off a player in a forward direction (except from in-goal – Section 8 No.4 (e) and it goes into touch on the full, a scrum is formed where contact with the ball was made except after the fifth play-the-ball (but not nearer than twenty metres to the touch line or ten (10) metres to the goal line) – (see Section 12).
Touch from 5. If the ball is kicked into touch from a penalty kick the Penalty game is restarted by a free kick ten metres in-field opposite the point of entry into touch. (see Section 13).
Scrum on ‘20’ 6. Other than as outlined in paras. 4 and 5 above, the game is restarted after the ball has gone into touch by forming a scrum twenty metres in-field opposite the point of entry into touch but not nearer than ten (10) metres to the goal line – (see Section 12).
7. In all aspects of general play, a player who does not deliberately play at the ball (eg. ricochet or rebound) will not be disadvantaged by a consequent restart of play when the ball has gone dead or into touch.
Player not “object” 1. and 2. A player is not considered to be an “object”. For example, the ball is not in touch when the player in possession, himself being in the field of play, is in contact with another player who is in touch.
Ball Dead 1. Where the ball which is stationary in the field of play or the in-goal area comes in contact with a player in touch, touch ingoal or over the dead ball line, the ball is deemed to have been made dead by that player.
Dead Ball line restarts Should a kick be made dead by a defending player straddling the dead ball line or touch in-goal line, play will restart with a goal line drop-out.
Corner post touch in-goal 2. A corner post placed at the intersection of a touch line and a goal line is in touch in-goal. It is a duty of a touch judge to replace a corner post which is displaced during the game.
3. See Section 8. No.4 (e) in respect of kicking into touch on the full from in-goal.
KNOCK ON & FORWARD PASS
Deliberate 1. A player shall be penalised if they deliberately knock on or pass forward.
Accidental 2. If, after knocking-on accidentally, the player knocking-on regains or kicks the ball before it touches the ground, a goal post, cross bar or an opponent, then play shall be allowed to proceed. Otherwise play shall stop and a scrum shall be formed except after the fifth play-the-ball.
Charge-down 3. To charge-down a kick is permissible and is not a knock-on.
Heading the ball 4. It is illegal to head the ball in a forward direction.
Direction of Pass 1. The direction of a pass is relative to the player making it and not to the actual path relative to the ground. A player running towards his opponents’ goal line may throw the ball towards a colleague who is behind him but because of the thrower’s own momentum the ball travels forward relative to the ground. This is not a forward pass as the thrower has not passed the ball forward in relation to themselves. This is particularly noticeable when a running player makes a high, lobbed pass.
Scrum for Forward Pass A forward pass in a passing movement is invariably caused by misjudgment and is rarely a deliberate offence. Play is restarted with a scrum after an accidental infringement.
Penalty for some forward passes If the Referee is of the opinion that a player in giving a forward pass must have been well aware that the catcher was in front of him then the referee is justified in ruling that the ball has been deliberately thrown forward.
Ball is blown or bounces forward If the ball is passed correctly but bounces forward or is blown forward by the wind, there is no infringement and play should continue.
Knock-on over Goal line After a player, from the field of play, knocks on into his opponent’s in-goal area and he or a colleague touches down, play is restarted with a scrum where the knock-on occurred, except after a play-the-ball subject to Section 12, Law 10.
TACKLE & PLAY THE BALL
Tackle player 1. A player in possession may be tackled by an in possession opposing player or players. It is illegal to tackle or obstruct a player who is not in possession.
When tackled: 2. A player in possession is tackled:
Grounded (a) when they are held by one or more opposing players and the ball or the hand or arm holding the ball comes into contact with the ground.
Upright (b) when the attacking player is held by one or more opposing players in such a manner that they can make no further progress and cannot part with the ball.
Succumbing (c) when, being held by an opponent, the tackled player makes it evident that they have succumbed to the tackle and wishes to be released in order to play the ball.
Hand on player (d) when they are lying on the ground and an opponent already grounded places a hand on them.
No moving of tackled player 3. Once a player in possession has been tackled it is illegal for any player to move or try to move them from the point where the tackle is effected.
Voluntary tackle 4. A player in possession shall not deliberately and unnecessarily allow themselves to be tackled by voluntarily falling to the ground when not held by an opponent. If a player drops on a loose ball they shall not remain on the ground waiting to be tackled if they have time to regain his feet and continue play.
Sliding tackle 5. If a tackled player, because of their momentum slides along the ground, the tackle is deemed to have been effected where the slide ends. (See Section 6, 3(c).)
Verbal instructions to resolve doubt 6. If any doubt arises as to a tackle, the Referee should give a verbal instruction to “play on” or shout “held” as the case may be.
Sixth tackle 7. (a) A team in possession of the ball shall be allowed five successive play-the-balls. A handover shall occur AFTER the fifth tackle in the following circumstances.
i. The team is tackled a sixth time.
ii. The team in possession commits an accidental breach for which a scrum would normally be set.
iii. A player is held up in the opponent’s in-goal.
iv. The ball is kicked into touch on the full. The handover will occur either at the point of the sixth tackle or where the scrum would normally be set - but, in the latter case, not closer than twenty metres from touch. The play-the-ball for this purpose shall not be counted for the purposes of the tackle count and shall operate as provided for in Law 10 of this Section.
Accidental breach “Zero tackle” 7. (b) Where an accidental breach occurs (knock-on, forward pass) and possession changes hands, the following tackle will be a zero tackle, notwithstanding that the team gaining possession may have gained a territorial advantage.
Losing possession – intentionally – accidentally 8. A tackled player shall not intentionally part with the ball other than by bringing it into play in the prescribed manner. If, after being tackled, he accidentally loses possession, a scrum shall be formed except after the fifth play-the-ball.
“Stealing” from tackled player 9. Once a tackle has been completed, no player shall take or attempt to take the ball from the tackled player.
10. The play-the-ball shall operate as follows.
Release tackled player immediately (a) The tackled player shall be immediately released and shall not be touched until the ball is in play.
Regain feet (b) The tackled player shall without delay regain his feet where they were tackled, lift the ball clear of the ground, face the opponent’s goal line and drop or place the ball on the ground in front of their foremost foot.
Player marking (c) One opponent may take up the position immediately opposite the tackled player.
(d) The tackled player may not play the ball before the players effecting the tackle have had time to clear the ruck.
Play with foot (e) When the ball touches the ground it must be heeled (i.e. backwards) by the tackled player. The ball must not be kicked or heeled by the player marking him. The ball is in play when it has been played backward.
Acting halfback (f) A player of each team, to be known as the acting halfback, may stand immediately and directly behind his own player taking part in the play-theball and must remain in this position, until the play-the-ball movement is complete.
Retire at play-the-ball (g) players of the side not in possession other than the player taking part in the play-the-ball and the acting half back are out of play if they fail to retire ten (10) metres from the point at which the ball is played or to their own goal lines. Players of the side in possession other than the player taking part in the play-the-ball and the acting halfback must retire behind their players involved in the play-the-ball or to their own goal line.
(h) having retired the distance prescribed in the preceding paragraph no player of the team not in possession may advance until the ball has cleared the ruck. A player who is out of play may again take part in the game when the advantage gained by not retiring has been lost.
Speed essential 11. The play-the-ball must be performed as quickly as possible. Any player who intentionally delays the bringing of the ball into play shall be penalised.
Tackling on or near the goal line 12. If part of the tackled player is on or over the goal line but the ball is in the field of play the tackled player shall play the ball where the ball lies. If a player is tackled in an upright position bestriding the goal line they are deemed to be tackled in the in-goal area.
Foul “throws” 1. (a) A tackler must not make use of any special “holds” or “throws” which are likely to cause injury or use his knees in the tackle. It is permissible for a tackler to bring a player in possession of the ball to the ground by pulling them over the outstretched leg provided they are holding the player with both arms before there is any contact with the leg.
Mid-air tackle 1. (b) It is illegal to tackle an opposing player attempting to field a kick whilst the player is in mid-air. The catcher must have returned to the ground before being tackled. (See Section 15.).
Moving tackled player 2. (a) Where opponents do not make a tackle effective in the quickest possible manner but attempt to push, pull or carry the player in possession, it is permissible for colleagues of the tackled player to lend their weight in order to avoid losing ground. Immediately this happens the referee should call “Held”.
2. (b) Where the tackled player is held in an upright position, the ball shall not be played before the referee indicates that the tackle has been effected.
Broken tackle Where the player in possession is brought to the ground, a tackle is not effective if the hold on the player in possession is broken before he is grounded. Before allowing play to proceed, referees should be sure in their own minds that the tackle was indeed broken otherwise the tackler who, playing in the true spirit of the game, releases the tackled player immediately as they are brought to the ground, may be unfairly penalised.
Succumbing to tackle 2 (c) A player who is held and wishes to play the ball can make it evident that he has succumbed to the tackle by grounding the ball. It is to his advantage to do this to avoid the possibility of another opponent attempting to complete the tackle.
Second movement after tackle When an attacking player is tackled within easy reach of the goal line they should be penalised if they make a second movement to place the ball over the line for a try.
If an attacking player in possession is brought down near the goal line and the ball is not grounded it is permissible to place the ball over the line for a try. In this case the tackle has not been completed.
Player marking dives on the ball 4. If the player marking the tackled player at the play-the-ball dives behind the tackled player in order to drop on the ball as it is heeled, they are guilty of a voluntary tackle and should be penalised. If there is no acting half back it is permissible for a player to dive behind the tackled player and drop on the ball after it has been heeled provided that, unless tackled, they immediately regain his feet.
Point of infringement 7. For the purpose of this Law the point of infringement in the case of a kick into touch on the full shall be the point from which the ball was kicked.
Indicating last tackle The referee shall indicate the fifth tackle by raising one arm vertically with fingers and thumb out-stretched and the sixth tackle by blowing their whistle, not to stop the game, but as a signal to the players that the ball has to be released for the opponents to play the ball.
Opponent “touches” ball By ‘touching’ the ball is meant intentionally playing it with any part of the person when it is not held by an opposing player. A ricochet or rebound does not count as a ‘touch’.
Charging down Cancels count Charging down a kick counts as a ‘touch’. ‘Touching’ the ball cancels the count of play-the-balls and the next tackle counts as the first of six.
Losing possession 8. If a tackled player loses possession of the ball at the moment of impact with an opponent or with the ground, play shall proceed unless stopped for some other reason, e.g. the ball has been knocked forward. A player in possession brought to his knees or brought to the ground on his back may still pass the ball – provided they were not made it evident that they had succumb to the tackle. They should not be wrongly penalised otherwise all players will become reluctant to pass the ball as the tackle nears completion in case they too are penalised. The continuity of play would consequently be adversely and unnecessarily affected.
Stealing ball 9. Where a player steals the ball from a player on whom they are effecting a tackle, play will be allowed to continue. Where two or more players are effecting the same tackle - irrespective of whether all but one “drops off” the tackle, and the ball is subsequently taken from the tackled player, a penalty will be awarded against the player or players effecting the tackle.
Disputed possession 10. (a) If any doubt arises as to which player should play-the-ball (ie possession is disputed) the referee should call “…’s ball” naming the team in possession. In the case of a player lying on the ground and not holding the ball with both hands or arms, circumstances may arise where there is some doubt as to whether they are “in possession”. If with hand or arm they are fairly clasping the ball to some other part of his person then they are “in possession”.
Interfering with heel The tackler who is on the opponent’s side of the player should remove themself as quickly as possible so as not to interfere with the heel. If they do interfere he should be penalised.
Regain feet 10. (b) No part of the tackled player’s person other than their feet should be in contact with the ground when they release the ball.
Not lifting the ball clear A tackled player, failing to lift the ball clear of the ground when regaining their feet, is to be penalised.
Accidental deflection 10. (e) When a tackled player attempts to play the ball backwards but accidentally deflects the ball forward, a scrum ensues with the non-offending team having the loose head and put-in.
Acting halfback 10.(f) Two players take part in the play-the-ball. All other players except the ‘acting halfbacks’ are onside if they retire the prescribed distance. The acting halfbacks must take up a position immediately and directly behind the player playing the ball.
No marker 10.(f) If no marker takes up a position opposite the tackled player and no acting halfback is present the ball is deemed to be “clear” immediately it is heeled by the tackled player, who may immediately regain possession and play on.
Penalise intentional interference 10.(g) If the ball is played quickly, all players will not necessarily have time to retire the prescribed distance. They should be penalised only if they intentionally interfere with play – either actively or passively.
Accidental interference If the interference with play is accidental, a scrum should be formed. Interference should not be considered accidental when the player concerned has had opportunity to remove themselves from the area in which play is taking place.
Off side player raising hands A player who realises they are out of play and is near play should raise their hands above their head. Taking this action does not, however, exonerate them from penalty if they interfere with play and the referee feels that they could have avoided such interference.
Indicating ten metres The Referee should usually position themselves ten metres behind and to one side of the point at which the ball is played as a guide to the team not in possession. If tackling is excessively keen or play is unnecessarily rough, the referee may forsake the ten metres position in order to be nearer the players involved in the tackle.
Out of play: 10. (h) Any player who is in front of the kicker in play-the-ball general play is not permitted to advance beyond the point of the play-the-ball until the ball has gone past the off side player.
When awarded 1. (a) A penalty kick shall be awarded against any player who is guilty of misconduct (Section 15) provided that this is not to the disadvantage of the non-offending team. Unless otherwise stated, the mark is where the offence occurs. If misconduct occurs in touch the mark shall be ten metres from the touch line in the field of play and opposite where the offence occurred or, in the case of obstruction, where the ball next bounces or is caught, in the field of play, or ten metres opposite the point of entry if the ball enters touch on the full, or ten (10) metres from the goal line if the ball crosses the goal line on the full, whichever is to the greater advantage of the non-offending team. If the offence is committed by a defender in his own in-goal or an attacker in his opponents’ in-goal, the mark is taken ten metres into the field of play opposite where the offence occurred. In the event of further misconduct by the offending team, the referee shall advance the mark once only ten metres towards the offending team’s goal line.
(b) In the event of a breach by the kicker’s team a scrum shall be formed at the point where the penalty kick was awarded. In the event of a breach by the opposing team a further penalty kick shall be awarded at a point opposite where the breach occurred on a line parallel to the goal line ten metres from where the penalty kick was awarded.
How Taken 2. A player may take a penalty kick by punting, drop kicking, or place kicking the ball from any point on or behind the mark and equidistant from the touch line.
Other than when kicking for goal (see note to No. 10, Section 6) the ball may be kicked in any direction, after which it is in play.
Position of Players 3. Players of the kicker’s team must be behind the ball when it is kicked.
Players of the team opposing the kicker shall retire to their own goal line or ten metres or more from the mark towards their own goal line and shall not make any attempt to interfere with or distract the attention of the kicker.
They may advance after the ball has been kicked.
Find Touch from Penalty Kick 4. (a) If the ball is kicked into touch without touching any other player the kicking team shall restart play with a free kick. Opposing players shall retire ten metres from the point of entry into touch or to their own goal line.
In the event of a breach by the kicker’s team, a scrum shall be formed twenty metres in-field from touch in line with where the free kick was awarded but no closer than ten metres from the goal line. In the event of a breach by the opposing team a penalty kick shall be awarded at a point opposite where the breach occurred on a line parallel to the goal line ten metres from where the free kick was awarded.
4. (b) If the ball touches an opponent in flight and then enters touch, a scrum shall be formed twenty metres in field from where the ball crossed the touch line with the kicker’s team having the loose head and the put-in.
No delay 5. No player shall deliberately take any action which is likely to delay the taking of a penalty kick.
Kicker’s side infringes 6. If the kick is not taken as stated or if a player of the kicker’s team infringes, a scrum shall be formed at the mark, provided it is no closer than twenty metres to the touch line.
Explain why Penalised 7. When the Referee penalises a player he should explain the nature of the offence.
Penalty for in-goal offence 8. If a penalty is awarded for an offence by the attacking team in the opponent’s in-goal area the mark shall be ten metres in the field of play opposite where the offence occurred. For an offence in-goal by the defending team which incurs a penalty the mark is in the field of play ten metres from the goal line and opposite where the offence occurred except for foul play against a try scorer (see Law 9).
Offence against Try scorer 9. If a player fouls an opponent who is touching down for a try, a penalty kick at goal shall be taken from in front of the goal posts after the attempt to convert the try. After his kick has been taken the ball shall be deemed dead and play shall be restarted from the halfway line. This law applies to the period during which the ball is touched down for a try and not to any subsequent period.
Drop Goal Foul Play on Kicker 10. (a) If a player fouls an opponent who is attempting a drop goal, a penalty kick shall be awarded in front of the goal posts.
(b) If the attempt at drop goal is successful, a kick at goal must be taken from the penalty kick and play restarted from the centre of the halfway line irrespective of the outcome of that kick.
(c) If the attempt at drop goal is unsuccessful, the penalty kick can be taken in any manner provided for in the Laws and play re-started according to the outcome of that kick.
Advantages 1. The advantages to the non-offending team must be readily obvious if the Referee is to allow play to proceed. Allowing play to proceed does not mean that the offending player cannot subsequently be disciplined. A penalty kick for a scrum offence is, except in very exceptional circumstances, of greater advantage to the non-offending team than allowing play to proceed.
Differential Penalty 1. In respect of misconduct at the scrum other than foul play, the use of offensive or obscene language or players breaking from the scrum before the ball has emerged correctly, a Referee shall award a differential penalty which differs only from a penalty kick in that a goal cannot be scored from it. The differential penalty applies to all players, even those outside the scrum, who should be penalised where they offend. A full penalty is awarded for an offence which occurs before the scrum is properly formed. Where a full penalty is awarded for a team breaking early from the scrum, the team winning the penalty can opt to reset the scrum if they so wish.
The Mark 2. As the mark cannot be conveniently marked on the ground a player who punts or drop kicks may deviate slightly from it. This is permissible provided no unfair advantage is gained. The kicker himself may regather the ball after it has been kicked.
If a player takes the ball back from the mark for a kick at goal the original mark is cancelled and the new mark is where the ball is to be kicked, and opponents may advance to within 10 metres of the new mark.
Retiring ten metres 3 and 4. If the kicker takes a penalty kick or the subsequent free kick quickly, the opposing players may not have all retired ten metres in which case they should be penalised only if they interfere with play. These players may join in the play when any advantage which they may have gained through not retiring has been lost.
The Touch Judge shall act as a guide to the team opposing the kicker by taking up a position ten metres beyond the mark (Section 16, law 17).
Free Kick (Second Kick) 4. The ball may be kicked in any direction in any manner when bringing it into play after entering touch and the kicker himself may pick up the ball after he has kicked it.
Dead Ball from Penalty Kick 4. Play is restarted with a 20m drop-out if the ball is kicked dead in the opponents’ in-goal from a penalty kick (Section 8, Law 3).
Refusing to surrender ball 5. When a penalty has been awarded, the Referee must ensure that an opposing player does not hold on the the ball or deliberately kick or throw it further from the mark.
Penalty in-goal 9. For an offence in-goal by the defending team, a penalty try may be awarded depending on the gravity of the offence. (See Section 6 Law 3 (d)).
When off side 1. A player is off side except when they are in their own in-goal if the ball touches, is touched, held or kicked, by one of their own team behind him.
Out of Play 2. An off side player shall not take any part in the game or attempt in any way to influence the course of the game. They shall not encroach within ten metres of an opponent who is waiting for the ball and shall immediately retire ten metres from any opponent who first secures possession of the ball.
Placed onside 3. An off side player is placed onside if:
(a) an opponent moves ten metres or more with the ball.
(b) an opponent touches the ball without retaining it.
(c) one of their own team in possession of the ball runs in front of them.
(d) one of their own team kicks or knocks the ball forward and takes up a position in front of them in the field of play.
(e) they retire behind the point where the ball was last touched by one of their own team.
Catcher claiming off side 1. A player who catches the ball near an off side opponent must not go out of their way to make interference in play by the offside player unavoidable. They should proceed with normal play and rely on the Referee to penalise the off side player if the latter interferes with play. If the catcher deliberately and unnecessarily runs into the off side player then play should proceed.
Accidental off side Where the Referee is satisfied that interference with play by an off side player is accidental they should order a scrum.
Interfering with Catcher 2. Any off side player who remains within ten metres of an opponent who is set to catch a kick up field by an opposing player shall be deemed to be interfering with or attempting to interfere with the catcher and shall be penalised unless the non-offending team gains an immediate advantage.
“Out of Play” as opposed to “off side” 3. Players who are out of play at a play-the-ball (Section 11), a scrum (Section 12), a kick off or drop-out (Section 8) a penalty kick (Section 13) or a free kick (Section 13) are not put “on side” in the manner described in para 3 above. (See appropriate Sections).
“Down town” Any player who is in front of the kicker in general play is not permitted to advance beyond the point of the previous play the-ball until the ball has gone past the off side players. This rule delays the movement of the off side players downfield in an attempt to encircle the ball receiver as they collect the ball.
Example of offside player retrieving ball 3. (e)
Player A kicks the ball and opponent B attempts to catch it. They drop the ball which rolls behind him. Their colleague C who was originally in front of them drops back to retrieve the ball. When they get to it they are behind the point at which it was played by B, indicated by the line XY, and is not off side.
Player A kicks the ball and opponent B fails to catch it, the ball bouncing forward off their hands. Player C is off side if they play the ball unless B advances in front of the ball before C reaches it, in which case a scrum would be ordered for a knock-on.
Definition of misconduct 1. A player is guilty of misconduct if they:
(a) trips, kicks or strikes another player.
(b) when effecting or attempting to effect a tackle makes contact with the head or neck of an opponent intentionally, recklessly or carelessly.
(c) drops knees first on to an opponent who is on the ground
(d) uses any dangerous throw when effecting a tackle.
(e) deliberately and continuously breaks the Laws of the Game.
(f) uses offensive or obscene language.
(g) disputes a decision of the Referee or Touch Judge.
(h) re-enters the field of play without the permission of the Referee or a Touch Judge having previously temporarily retired from the game.
(i) behaves in any way contrary to the true spirit of the game.
(j) deliberately obstructs an opponent who is not in possession.
(k) Uses a shoulder charge on an opponent.
Law breakers 1. (e) When a player repeatedly breaks the Laws in a ‘specialist’ position, e.g. hooker or scrum half, the Referee should, when administering the final caution, inform the player’s captain. The latter may, at his discretion, move the offending player to another position. The Referee cannot order a player to change his position.
Dangerous throw (d) If, in any tackle of, or contact with, an opponent that player is so lifted that they are placed in a position where it is likely that the first part of his body to make contact with the ground will be their head or neck (“the dangerous position”), then that tackle or contact will be deemed to be a dangerous throw unless, with the exercise of reasonable care, the dangerous position could not have been avoided.
Explain reason for penalty (g) A player may ask the Referee the reason why a penalty kick has been given provided he does so respectfully.
Delay restart of play (i) To deliberately delay the restart of play from the goal line, 20 metre line or halfway line constitutes misconduct for the purposes of this rule.
Obstruction after kick (j) A common form of obstruction occurs when a player, after kicking the ball forward, is tackled or impeded by an opponent. However, a tackler cannot be expected to delay making a tackle because the player in possession might decide to kick the ball. The onus is on the kicker to get his kick in before his opponent commits themselves to the tackle.
The player in possession has delayed kicking the ball until the tackler has commenced to dive. The tackler should not be penalised.
The ball has been kicked before the opponent commits himself to the tackle. He should be penalised if he obstructs the kicker.
Obstructing passing movement Obstruction sometimes occurs in a passing movement as follows:–
It is permissible for player 4, after passing the ball, to slow down in order to position themselves for a return pass from player 5. They must give ‘right of way’ to opponents who are running across in front of him to tackle player 5 but is not guilty of obstructing opponents who are coming from behind him.
Player 4 passes to player 5 but continues to run in front of them in order to obstruct opponents who are running across to tackle. Player 4 should be penalised.
Accidental obstruction Obstruction can be either active, passive or accidental. Passive obstruction is where a player impedes an opponent by deliberately remaining in their path although he has had the opportunity to remove themself. If a player is in position which is likely to cause obstruction and they feel that any movement by them may aggravate the situation they should raise their hands above their head and thus indicate to the Referee that he is taking no part in the play.
Examples of accidental obstruction in tactical moves are shown on the next page. Where accidental obstruction irregularly affects the play, the game should be stopped and restarted with a scrum. If play is not affected then the game should not be stopped.
‘Scissors’ move Player 3 is in possession and veers towards the wing bringing his opposite number, player 4, across with them, and opponent 5 in towards them.
Player 2 runs across and when just behind them receives a back pass. After giving the pass, player 3’s momentum carries them in the direction in which they were running. It is quite easy to see that they may collide with opponent 5. It would not be fair to penalise them for deliberate obstruction and a scrum should be formed for accidental obstruction only if player 5 is actually prevented from tackling player 2.
‘Dummy’ Player 3 is in possession and veers towards the wing. This time they dummy to pass to colleague 2 but sidesteps to the left and runs in-field. Player 2, expecting the pass, has their eye on the ball and their momentum carries them forward. They can easily collide with player 5 without being guilty of obstruction, and once again the Referee will allow play to proceed unless player 5 was actually prevented from making the tackle, in which case a scrum will ordered.
Obstructing – off side player – after knock-on It is illegal to obstruct any opponent not in possession, even one who is off side or one who is endeavouring to get to the ball after it has been knocked on or thrown forward.
Player in possession The player who is in possession of the ball cannot be guilty of obstruction. They can make use of the goal posts to avoid a tackle, or dodge behind a ruck of their own players or bore a way through their own pack.
One Referee, Two Touch Judges 1. In all matches a Referee and two Touch Judges shall be appointed or mutually agreed upon by the contesting teams.
Enforce Laws 2. The Referees shall enforce the Laws of the Game and may impose penalties for any deliberate breach of the Laws. They shall be the sole judge on matters of fact except those relating to touch and touch in-goal (see para. 11 below).
Timekeeper 3. They shall be the sole timekeeper except where this duty has been delegated to another person. (See Section 7).
Power to stop 4. They may, at their discretion, temporarily suspend or game prematurely terminate a match because of adverse weather, undue interference by spectators, misbehaviour by players, or any other cause which, in their opinion, interferes with their control of the game.
Permission to enter playing area 5. They shall not allow anyone apart from the players onto the playing area without permission.
Power to dismiss 6. In the event of misconduct by a player, the Referee shall, at their discretion, caution, temporarily suspend for ten minutes, or dismiss the offender.
Control of players 7. The players are under the control of the Referee from the time they enter the playing area until they leave it.
When to blow whistle 8.1 The Referee must carry a whistle which they shall blow to commence and terminate each half of the game.
Except for these occasions the blowing of the whistle shall temporarily stop the play. The Referee shall blow the whistle:
(a) when a try or a goal has been scored
(b) when the ball has gone out of play
(c) when restarting play, other than at a scrum
(d) when they detect a breach of the Laws of the Game, except when to stop the play would be to the disadvantage of the non-offending team
(e) when play is irregularly affected by the ball or the player carrying the ball coming into contact with the Referee, a Touch Judge, or with any person not taking part in the match or with any object which should not normally be on the playing field
(f) when any irregularity, not provided for in these Laws, occurs and one team unjustifiably gains an advantage
(g) when a stoppage is necessary in order to enforce the Laws or for any other reason.
8.2 Where a referee has stopped play to administer a caution to a player or players they shall indicate extra time until they blow their whistle to restart play.
Changing decision 9. The Referee judges on matters of fact and shall not subsequently alter those judgments. They may cancel any decision made if prior foul play of which they had no knowledge is reported to them by a Touch Judge.
Accept Touch Judge decision 10. The Referee shall accept the decision of an official Touch Judge relating to touch and touch in-goal play and to kicks at goal.
Touch Judge 11. Each Touch Judge shall remain in touch, one on each side of, and near to, the playing field except:–
(a) when judging kicks at goal (see Section 6) and
(b) when reporting a player’s misconduct which has escaped the notice of the Referee.
Flag 12. Each Touch Judge must carry an approved flag.
Indicating Touch 13. A Touch Judge shall indicate when and where the ball goes into touch by raising his flag and standing opposite the point of entry into touch except in the case of ‘ball back’ (see Section 9 para. 4) when the Touch Judge must indicate that no ground has been gained by waving their flag above their head accentuating the movement in the direction of the kicker’s goal-line.
Indicating Touch in-Goal 14. If the ball enters touch in-goal the Touch Judge shall wave the flag across the body and below the waist. With the other hand they point to either the goal line or twenty metre line depending on where play should be restarted. Do not point to the player who made the ball dead.
Judge kicks at goal 15. Touch Judges shall assist the Referee in judging kicks at goal. (See Section 6 para.10).
Indicating 10 metres 16. When a free kick is being taken, both Touch Judges shall take up a position near the touch line ten metres beyond the mark to act as markers for the team which is required to retire.
Official Inquiry 17. In cases where circumstances in connection with the match are likely to be made the subject of official investigation, the Referee and Touch Judges shall report to the investigating authority only and shall refrain from expressing criticism or comment through other channels.
Referee injured 1. When a Referee is unable to continue they should appoint a substitute, preferably a neutral Touch Judge. If the Referee is not able to appoint a substitute, the respective captains should mutually agree, failing which the Touch Judge with the greater experience should take control.
If the injury sustained by a Referee renders them incapable of blowing their whistle to stop the game, the latter shall be deemed to have stopped at the time the injury was sustained.
Consult Touch Judge 2. Before giving a decision, it is permissible for the Referee to consult either or both Touch Judges.
Player returns to playing field 5. A player who has temporarily retired from the game shall inform the nearer Touch Judge before re-entering the playing field.
Caution 6. A caution may be administered to a team as a whole in which case each player is considered to have received an individual caution. When a final caution is given, the nature of the offence and the time must be recorded by the Referee and must be quoted if the player is subsequently dismissed.
Temporary Suspension 6. The power to temporarily suspend a player is not an encouragement to Referees to deal leniently in the event of misconduct which merits dismissal.
End of Temporary Suspension 6. A temporarily suspended player shall re-enter the playing field when permitted to do so by the Referee. The Referee shall be guided by the timekeeper if one is employed otherwise they themselves will determine the end of the suspension.
Dismissed player 6. A dismissed player can take no further part in the match, nor shall he be permitted to take up a position near the playing area where his presence is likely to provoke further incident.
Changing player’s position 6. When administering a final caution to a player who has persistently committed breaches of the laws, the Referee shall advise the player’s Captain so that the latter may, if he so wishes, change the player’s position in the team.
Playing area 7. Where there is no actual enclosure, the area of control is that within the natural boundaries of the field in which the playing area is located.
Harassing Referee 7. If a Referee or Touch Judge is assaulted or unduly harassed by any person arising out of his control of a match, they should submit a report to the appropriate League even though such incident occurs after the match is ended.
Whistle blown 8. Play must stop even if the whistle is blown accidentally in which case play is restarted with a scrum where the ball was last touched by a player in the field of play before the whistle is blown, and their team shall be given the loose head and put-in.
Apply advantage 8. The advantage law applies to all phases of play, but where a team infringes in a strong tactical position the advantage should be allowed only if the ball goes immediately into the possession of the non-offending team.
The Referee is the sole judge of what constitutes an advantage be it tactical or territorial. An infringement is not ‘negated’ simply because the ball touches or is touched by an opponent. The opponent must have adequate opportunity to take advantage and endeavour to do so before play is allowed to proceed.
Application of the advantage laws does not deprive the Referee of subsequently dealing with an offending player.
Infringement by attacking team If a team infringes when in a strong attacking position territorial or tactical, the Referee should stop play promptly, unless the ball is immediately possessed by the defending team because a loose ball cannot be considered to be of advantage to a team in a weak, defensive position. Applying the advantage law does not deprive the Referee of his power to deal subsequently with any offending player.
Awarding a Try 9. The circumstances referred to in this Law will not arise when a try is scored as the Referee shall look at both Touch Judges before awarding a try.
Touch Judge under control of Referee 10. A Touch Judge is at all times under the control of the Referee and may be dismissed and replaced if, in the opinion of the Referee, they can no longer be considered to be neutral. In this case, any decision made by a Touch Judge leading to his dismissal may be disregarded. Any misconduct by a Touch Judge should be reported by the Referee to the appropriate authority.
Report misconduct quickly 11. (b) If a Touch Judge wishes to report a player’s misconduct they should attract the Referee’s attention as quickly as possible in order to avoid an unnecessary continuation of play. Any subsequent penalty is awarded where the offence occurred and not where play is subsequently stopped.
No undue interference A Touch Judge must not unduly interfere with the Referee’s control of the game by reporting incidents which have obviously been seen by the Referee.
Ball swerving back into Playing Field 13. A Touch Judge should not raise his flag immediately the ball in flight crosses the touch line if there is a possibility of it swerving or being blown back into the playing field because play is not stopped if the ball does drop back into the playing field.
Controversial decisions 15. If any decision by a Referee is likely to be controversial, the Referee may explain his reasons for making the decisions if by so doing unnecessary misunderstanding or controversy can be avoided.
Signal nature of offence 1. When the Referee is required to give a decision they shall whenever possible indicate the nature of his decision by making the appropriate signal.
Indicate how play restarts 2. When they wish to stop the game temporarily, they shall, after blowing his whistle, indicate the nature of the decision, point to the offending player and then signal as to how the game is to be restarted.
Example For example if the scrum half puts the ball into his own side of the scrum the referee:
(1) blows their whistle and indicates the scrum half has put the ball in wrongly.
(2) points to the offending scrum half and then
(3) signals that a penalty has been given.
The Referee can, with advantage, repeat the signal indicating the nature of the offence in order to reduce the need for verbal explanations to the players. This applies particularly to scrum offences where some of the forwards may miss the first signal if they still have their heads down in the scrum.
SIGNALS FOR RESTARTING PLAY
The signals to be given by a Referee are set out below.
Scrum. With bent arms, palms of hands facing each other at shoulder level, fingers together and slightly bent, bring the tops of the fingers together with a slight downward movement and then point to the team awarded the loose head and put-in.
Penalty Kick. Face the non-offending team and extend an arm forward with the hand slightly higher than the shoulder level and the palm of the hand at right angles to the ground.
Differential Penalty. Extend the arm as for an ordinary penalty then move the arm to the upright position. Perform this action twice with the whole movement being continuous and decisive.
Drop-out. Point to the place from which the drop kick is to be taken.
SIGNALS RELATING TO SCORING
Try. Point to where try is awarded. Instruct the Touch Judge to stand on this point temporarily as a guide to the player who is to take the goal kick.
Penalty Try. Point to midway between the posts and take up position temporarily on this point as a guide to the kicker.
Eight Point Try. This term is used to indicate that a penalty kick has been awarded for foul play against a try scorer. Instruct a Touch Judge to take up position in front of the posts ten metres from the goal line before retiring behind the goal posts to judge on the conversion attempt.
Goal. Raise hand above head.
SIGNALS MADE WHEN PLAY IS NOT NECESSARILY STOPPED
Try disallowed. Wave hands, palms facing downwards across and in front of the body below the waist.
Play on. Wave the hands chest high palms facing away from the chest across and in front of the body.
Ball touched in flight. Raise one hand above the head and tap the tips of the fingers with the fingers of the other hand.
Count of Tackles is cancelled. Raise clenched fist above head and wave from side to side.
Player “held” and to play the ball. Indicate that players not concerned with the play-the-ball must retire by making a signal chest-high, similar to the breast stroke in swimming.
SIGNALS INDICTING INFRINGEMENTS
1. Knock-on. With hands in front of the body, below the waist, slightly apart, palms facing forward and fingers pointing towards the ground, make two or three forward movements of the hands.
2. Forward Pass. Make a forward movement with the straight arm indicating the line of flight of the ball.
Scrum 3. Scrum half feeds “own feet”. With hands and arms mime the action of the scrum half putting the ball into the scrum, but exaggerate the angle at which it was thrown.
4. Scrum half “dummies”. Mime the action of the scrum half but emphasise the backward motion of the hands.
5. Scrum half fails to retire. Make a movement with the hand indicating the direction the scrum half should have taken.
6. Scrum half throws the ball upwards into the scrum. Mime the action of the scrum half exaggerating the upward movement of the hands.
7. Hooker strikes prematurely. Raise a foot from the ground in front of the body with the leg straight.
8. Hooker packs with a Loose Arm. Raise one arm sideways with elbow bent so that the hand hangs downwards.
9. Prop strikes for the ball. Raise a foot from the ground by extending the leg sideways from the body.
10. Handling in the scrum. Make a backward scooping action with the hand.
11. Collapsing the scrum. Make a lifting motion with the hand.
12. More than seven backs. Point to one of the players who is detached from the scrum and who normally is in the pack and then hold up seven fingers.
13. More than six players pushing in the scrum. Point to the player who is pushing and who is not normally in the scrum and then hold up six fingers.
Play-the-ball 14. Tackled player delays regaining his feet. Flick the hand in an upward direction.
15. Tackled player ‘dummies’ when dropping the ball. Mime the action of the offending player exaggerating the upward direction.
16. Tackled player fails to drop the ball correctly. If the ball has been dropped between the legs indicate the path of the ball. If the ball has been dropped to the side, point with one hand to the side.
17. Tackled player does not lift the ball clear of ground. Make a lifting movement with the hand.
18. Tackled player does not face opponents’ in-goal. Stand at the angle offending player adopted and then turn to face the opponents’ in-goal.
19. Tackled player fails to play the ball backwards or passes when he should have played the ball. Mime the gesture of playing the ball.
20. Tackled player obstructs or butts with the head after playing the ball. Mime his action.
21. Voluntary tackle. Make a lifting movement with hand.
22. The player marking the tackled player kicks or heels the ball. Make a kicking movement with the foot.
23. Player marking retains their hold on player playing the ball. Make a decisive backward movement with one hand. This signal applies to any interference by the player marking when the ball is actually being played other than kicking prematurely or dangerously (paragraph 22 above).
24. Tackler delays releasing tackled player. Make a downward movement with the hands in front of the body below the waist.
25. Off side at play-the-ball. With a backward movement of the hand indicate that the player should be further back.
26. Stealing of the ball from the tackled player. Mime the action of snatching the ball from the opponent.
27. Dragging tackled player after tackle is effective. Mime the action of dragging.
28. Team is tackled five successive times. Raise arm vertically above head with fingers and thumb outstretched.
29. Team is tackled six successive times. Blow the whistle, raise the arm vertically above the head, then point to the side which is to gain possession and mime the gesture of playing the ball. The surrendering of the ball is referred to as the ‘handover’.
30. Count of tackle is cancelled and starts again. Wave clenched fist from side to side above head.
Drop-out or Penalty 31. Kicker fails to bring foot into contact with the ball. Tap the foot with one hand.
Other Infringements 32. Off side. Indicate player should have been further back. (See No. 25).
33. Player in possession touches official. Point to the player in possession and tap the chest with one hand.
34. Obstruction. Mime the offending player’s action.
35. Tripping. Extend one foot forward as if to trip.
36. Stiff arm tackle. Raise an arm in front of the body with fist clenched and as the arm is moved forward tap the forearm with the other hand.
37. Disputing decisions. Place one hand on the mouth.
38. Ball in Touch. Point to appropriate Touch Judge.
39. Extra time. Raise both arms vertically above head.
40. Ending Extra Time for Stoppage. Wave one arm over head.
41. Temporary Suspension of a Player. Raise both arms with fingers outstretched for ten minutes suspension.
42. Player directed to leave the field to receive attention for bleeding. Draw the hand across the chest from side to side.
Touch Judge signals 43. The Touch Judge cannot stop the play for any infringement but they may signal the nature of an infringement if the Referee is unsighted and seeks his guidance.
OTHER TOUCH JUDGE SIGNALS
Signals which may be used by a Touch Judge and which are not included in Para. 3 above are:–
Touch. Flag is raised about the head at the point of entry into touch..
Ball Back. Flag waved above head accentuating backward movement.
Touch in-Goal. Flag waved across the body, below the waist, and, with the other hand, point to either the goal line or 20 metre line depending on where play should be restarted. Do not point to the player who made the ball dead.
Successful Kick at Goal. Raise flag above head.
Unsuccessful Kick at Goal. Wave flag across and in front of the body below the waist. If the ball goes over the dead ball line, tap the ground with the end of the flag stick.
Dead Ball Line. Wave flag up and down between shoulder and knee and then point to appropriate restart position.
When formed 1. A scrum is formed to restart play whenever play is not being restarted with a kick off, a drop-out (Section 8), a penalty kick (Section 13) or a play-the-ball (Section 11).
Formation of Scrum 2. To form a scrum not more than three forwards of either team shall interlock arms and heads and create a clear tunnel at right angles to the touch line.
The forward in the centre of a front row (i.e. the hooker) shall bind with their arms over the shoulders of the two supporting forwards. Not more than two second row forwards on each team shall pack behind their respective front rows by interlocking arms and placing their heads in the two spaces between the hooker and his front row forwards. The loose forward of each team shall pack behind his second row forwards by placing their head in the space between them. All forwards must pack with their bodies and legs at right angles to the tunnel and the upper parts of their bodies horizontal. Once the ball has been put in the scrum no other player can lend his weight to it.
Scrums Both prop forwards on the side where the ball is put into the scrum, MUST have their outside feet forward and the halfback must feed the ball into the scrum using the space between their feet. All players must remain in the scrum until the ball is out of the scrum.
Number of backs and players in scrum 3. No more than six players on each team shall assist in the formation of a scrum and when the ball is in the scrum no more than seven players of each team shall act as backs.
Pushing 4. It is permissible for forwards to push once the scrum has been correctly formed but if it moves an appreciable distance to the disadvantage of any one team before the ball is put in then the Referee shall order the scrum to reform in its original position.
Loose Head and Put-in 5. (a) At the scrum, the non-offending team shall have the loose head and put-in.
(b) In the case of a mutual infringement, the attacking team shall have the loose head and the put-in.
(c) Where the ball is kicked from the start or a restart of play and finds touch other than on the full after travelling the prescribed distance the kicking team shall be deemed to be the non-offending team.
(d) Where a player kicks the ball in general play from any point in the area bounded by their own dead ball line, 40 metre line and the touch lines and the ball finds touch, otherwise than on the full, at a point on the touchline between the opponents’ 20 metre line and goal line the kicker’s team shall be deemed to be the non-offending team.
(e) Where a player kicks or passes the ball in general play and the ball enters touch after accidentally striking an opponent the team of the player who passed or kicked the ball shall be deemed to be the offending team.
Put-in or Feeding the Scrum 6. (a) The ball shall be put into the scrum from the Referee’s side by holding it in a horizontal position with a point in each hand and rolling it along the ground into the tunnel formed by the opposing front row forwards.
(b) The ball shall not be put in before the scrum has been correctly formed.
(c) There shall be no undue delay in putting the ball into the scrum.
(d) The player putting the ball in shall not hesitate or dummy and after putting it in they shall immediately retire behind their own pack of forwards.
Other players 7. The scrum half of the team not having the put-in shall retire immediately behind his last row of forwards. All other players outside the scrum, other than the scrum half putting the ball in, shall retire five metres or more behind the last row of forwards of their respective teams in the scrum and shall remain so until the ball has emerged correctly from the scrum.
Forwards in 8. When the ball is in the scrum it can only be played Scrum with the foot. The front row forwards shall not advance their feet into the tunnel or have one foot raised before the ball is put in or strike for the ball before the hookers.
A hooker may strike for the ball with either foot once it has contacted the ground in the tunnel.
After the hookers have struck for the ball the other forwards in the scrum may kick or heel the ball.
No player shall wilfully collapse a scrum or wilfully have any part of him other than his feet in contact with the ground.
A player shall not wilfully delay the correct formation of a scrum.
Ball in Play 9. To be in play, the ball must emerge from the scrum after first emerging from between and behind the inner feet of the second row forwards.
If the ball does not emerge correctly and the fault cannot be attributed to any one team then it should be put into the scrum once again.
Where formed 10. If a scrum is ordered it shall normally be formed where the breach of Laws occurs. If such breach is within twenty metres of a touch line or ten metres of a goal line the scrum shall be brought in twenty metres from the touch line and ten metres from the goal line.
Scrum wanders 11. If a penalty kick is awarded relating to a scrum offence and the scrum has wandered from its original position, the mark is where the scrum was first formed.
Scrum wheels 12. If the ball emerges correctly from the scrum it is in play even though the scrum has wheeled. Any forward can detach himself from the scrum to gather or kick the ball. Any back can similarly play it provided he remained behind the scrum until the ball emerged.
Attacking player 1. When an attacking player, in possession of the ball, is unable to ground the ball in the opponent’s in-goal, play is restarted with a play-the-ball ten metres from the goal line opposite where the player was held. The attacking player held up will play the ball and the tackle count will continue except after the fifth play the ball when play will restart with a handover (Section 11, Law 7).
Loose Arm 2. Referees must ensure that a hooker does not pack with a loose arm.
Depleted pack 3. The 3-2-1 formation is compulsory if six forwards pack down. If injuries deplete the team, the back three forwards may be withdrawn to give 3-2-0, 3-1-0 or 3-0-0 formations (subject to there being no more than seven backs – see para 3 above). There should always be at least three forwards packing down.
Forward withdrawing 3. A forward may detach himself from the scrum at any time provided there are not already seven players acting as backs on his team. If the ball emerges from the scrum between the legs of the second row forwards, the loose forward may detach himself from the scrum and pick up the ball.
Pushing 4. To avoid unnecessary reforming of scrums, the Referee should restrain the opposing packs from joining together until the ball is available and can be put into the scrum without delay.
Offending Team 5. The ‘offending’ team is the team which stops the play by a forward pass, knock-on, kick to touch, etc.
If, following a mutual infringement, a scrum is formed exactly on the halfway line the team last in possession of the ball in play is deemed to be the ‘non-offending’ team.
Referee’s side 6. (a) The Referee may stand on either side of the scrum at his discretion. It is advisable to favour the blind side.
Retiring Scrum half (d) Assuming the ball has been correctly scrummaged it is permissible for the scrum half to pick up the ball in the act of retiring providing he commenced to retire immediately after putting the ball in. As the scrum half who puts the ball in must retire behind his own forwards it should, in the event of the opposing team winning possession, normally give them very little chance of tackling the opposing scrum half. If the latter is tackled in possession the Referee should ensure that the scrum half who puts the ball in is indeed retiring behind his forwards.
Hookers 8. Hookers striking prematurely is one of the more common scrum offences. If one hooker strikes prematurely and escapes penalty the other hooker will be tempted to commit the same offence. Referees should endeavour to detect and punish the initial offender.
Handling in scrum 9. The players’ feet are continually moving in a scrum and it is not easy to define accurately the exact moment when the ball can be considered to be truly “out” of the scrum.
Offending Pack take up correct position 10. It is the responsibility of the pack of the offending team to take up the correct position for a scrum. The opposing pack of forwards will then move up to form the scrum.
In the case of a scrum following a mutual infringement it is the responsibility of the defending pack to take up the correct position for the scrum.
Butting Front Row Forwards who butt violently in the course of forming a scrum should be penalised.
40/20 rule When a kick in general play and from inside a team’s 40 metre zone, finds touch (other than on the full) in the opposition’s 20 metre zone, the resulting scrum will be fed by the kicking team which will also have the loose head.