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Clarification 1 2016

Ruling in Law by the Designated Members of the Rugby Committee
Ruling
1-2016
Union / HP Ref Manager
Paddy O'Brien
Law Reference
19
Date
16 May 2016
Request
Following controversy after the Wales v England match at the Paris Sevens Paddy O’Brien has requested clarification from the designated members on the incident set out below and viewable here which occurred on the weekend of May 14.

With England leading 17 to 12, they had the throw-in to a lineout during which time the hooter went, signaling that time was up. The ball was thrown in, not straight, and the referee called not straight, but as time was up he did not give Wales the scrum and blew for full time. Below is a Law Clarification made by the Designated Members in 2009 which shows the referee to be correct.

Law Clarification 9: 2009
Situation 1
Despite the Referee being able to delegate responsibility for time keeping the referee is still the sole judge of fact and Law and the game ends with the referee’s whistle.

The scrum has been set in playing time and collapses. The referee is obliged to blow the whistle in accordance with Law 6.A.8 (g). The original scrum has not been completed and has had to be reformed in accordance with Law 20.4 (g) and therefore the match would continue and end at the next stoppage of play in accordance with Law 5.7(e).

Situation 2
The referee ends the match as there has been an offence that ensures that the ball is dead after the lineout has been completed and therefore the match ends in accordance with Law 5.7 (e).


I would like to ask the current Designated Members to review this law ruling based on the following principles:

The Law book is specific that there are six ways a lineout can end (Law 19.9 (b)), and the ball not being thrown straight is not one of them. It is the coaches’ view, and my view, that the lineout is therefore incomplete so the match cannot end until the scrum has been awarded, or the non-offending team chooses another lineout with their throw.

If the referee deemed the ball had been deliberately thrown not straight, it is a penalty kick, but on this occasion there was insufficient reason to think that.

In the interest of the game I would suggest that Law 19.10 be added to read

Law 19.10
Unsuccessful end to a lineout.


A lineout cannot be ended on a crooked throw-in. The non-offending team has an option of another lineout with their team to throw in or a scrum 15 meters in through the line of touch.
Clarification in Law by the Designated Members of the Rugby Committee
The Designated Members have reviewed this request for clarification and the interpretation above is correct.