This situation occurs when the ball is available on the ground and a player goes to ground to gather the ball, except immediately after a scrum or a ruck.
It also occurs when a player is on the ground in possession of the ball and has not been tackled.
The Game is to be played by players who are on their feet. A player must not make the ball unplayable by falling down. Unplayable means that the ball is not immediately available to either team so that play may continue.
A player who makes the ball unplayable, or who obstructs the opposing team by falling down, is negating the purpose and Spirit of the Game and must be penalised.
A player who is not tackled, but who goes to ground while holding the ball, or a player who goes to ground and gathers the ball, must act immediately.
A player with the ball must immediately do one of three things:
- Get up with the ball
- Pass the ball
- Release the ball.
A player who passes or releases the ball must also get up or move away from it at once.
Sanction: Penalty kick
A player without the ball must not lie on, over, or near the ball to prevent opponents getting possession of it.
A player on the ground must not tackle or attempt to tackle an opponent.