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2018 laws are in production

The laws of rugby have been simplified and retructured for the 2018 law book. World Rugby is working to roll out this new content across our various languages. Your chosen language is not yet available. In the meantime you can browse the 2017 laws site.

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Definitions
0-9
22: The area between the goal line and the 22-metre line, and between the touchlines. It includes the 22-metre line but not the goal line or the touchlines.
A
Actual time: Continuous elapsed time (see playing time).
Advantage: A clear and real tactical or territorial benefit arising after an infringement by the opposition.
Attacking team: The opposition to the team in whose half play is taking place.
B
Ball-carrier: A player who is in possession of the ball.
Beyond or behind or in front of a position: Means with both feet, except where the context makes that inappropriate.
Binding: Grasping another player’s body firmly between the shoulders and the hips with the whole arm in contact from hand to shoulder.
Blood injury: Uncontrolled active bleeding.
C
Captain: The player nominated by a team to lead that team, consult the referee and select options relating to referee decisions.
Cavalry charge: An illegal type of attack, which usually happens near the goal line, when the attacking team is awarded a penalty or free-kick. At a signal from the kicker, a line of attacking players charge forward from a distance. When they get near, the kicker taps the ball and passes to a player.
D
Dead: The ball is dead when the referee blows the whistle to stop play or following an unsuccessful conversion.
Dead-ball line: The line at either end (and not part) of the playing area.
Defending team: The team in whose half play is taking place.
Directly caught: A ball caught without first touching anyone else or the ground.
Drop-kick: After being intentionally dropped to the ground from the hand or hands, the ball is kicked as it rises from its first bounce.
F
Field of play: The area between the goal lines and the touch lines. Those lines are not part of the field of play.
Flying wedge: An illegal type of attack, which usually happens near the goal line, when the attacking team is awarded a penalty or free-kick. The kicker taps the ball and starts the attack, either by driving towards the goal line or by passing to a team-mate who drives forward. Immediately, team-mates bind on each side of the ball-carrier in a wedge formation before engaging the opposition. Often one or more of these team-mates is in front of the ball-carrier.
Forward: Towards the opposition’s dead-ball line.
Foul play: Anything a player does within the playing enclosure that is contrary to Law 9 governing obstruction, unfair play, repeated infringements, dangerous play and misconduct.
Free-kick: Awarded against a team for an infringement or to a team for a mark.
G
Goal: The ball is place-kicked or drop-kicked over the opponents’ cross-bar from the field of play.
Goal line: The line at either end (and not part) of the field of play.
The ground: The total area shown in the ground diagram in Law 1.
H
Half-time: The interval between the two halves of the game.
Hand-off: A permitted action, taken by a ball-carrier to fend off an opponent, using the palm of the hand.
Hindmost foot: The foot nearest a team’s own goal line in a scrum, ruck or maul.
Holding the ball: Being in possession of the ball in the hand or hands or in the arm or arms.
I
In-goal: The area between the goal line and dead-ball line, and between the touch-in-goal lines. It includes the goal line but not the dead-ball line or the touch-in-goal lines. The goal posts and their surrounding padding are located in in-goal.
Infield: Within the playing area, away from the touchlines.
J
Jersey: A shirt worn on the upper half of the body and which is not attached to shorts or underwear.
K
Kick: An act made by intentionally hitting the ball with any part of the leg or foot, except the heel, from the toe to the knee but not including the knee. A kick must move the ball a visible distance out of the hand, or along the ground.
Kick-off: The method of starting each half of a match and at the beginning of each period of extra-time with a drop-kick.
Kicked directly into touch: The ball is kicked into touch without first landing on the playing area or touching a player or the referee.
Kicking tee: Any device approved by the match organiser to support the ball when taking a place-kick.
Knock-on: When a player loses possession of the ball and it goes forward, or when a player hits the ball forward with the hand or arm, or when the ball hits the hand or arm and goes forward, and the ball touches the ground or another player before the original player can catch it.
L
Line of touch: See mark of touch.
Line through the mark or place: Unless stated otherwise, a line parallel to the touchline.
Lineout: A lineout is a set piece consisting of a line of at least two players from each team waiting to receive a throw from touch.
Lineout players: The players in either line of a lineout.
M
Mark: A method of suspending play and winning a free-kick by directly catching an opponent’s kick in the catcher’s own 22 or in in-goal and shouting “mark”.
Mark of touch: An imaginary line in the field of play at right angles to the touchline through the place where the ball is thrown in. The mark of touch cannot be within five metres of a goal line.
Match officials: Those who control the game, usually consisting of a referee and two assistant referees or touch judges but may also include a television match official and, in sevens, two in-goal judges.
Match organiser: Administrative body responsible for the match which may be World Rugby, a union, a group of unions or any organisation approved by a union or World Rugby.
Maul: A phase of play consisting of a ball-carrier and at least one player from each team, bound together and on their feet.
N
Near: Within one metre.
O
Obstruction: When a player attempting to play is illegally impeded and prevented from doing so.
Off feet: Players are off their feet when any other part of the body is supported by the ground or players on the ground.
Offside: A positional offence meaning a player can take no part in the game without being liable to sanction.
On feet: Players are on their feet if no other part of their body is supported by the ground or players on the ground.
Open play: The period after a kick-off, restart kick, free-kick, penalty or set piece and before the next phase, or the period between phases of play, excluding when the ball is dead.
P
Participating players at a lineout: These consist of lineout players, one receiver from each team (if present), the player who throws in and an immediate opponent.
Pass: A player throws or hands the ball to another player.
Penalty: Awarded against a team for a serious infringement.
Penalty try: Awarded when, in the opinion of the referee, a try probably would have been scored (or scored in a more advantageous position) if not for an act of foul play by an opponent.
Phase of play: Scrum, lineout, ruck or maul.
Place-kick: The ball is kicked after it has been placed on the ground (or on an approved kicking tee) for that purpose.
Placer: A player holding the ball for a team-mate to place kick.
Plane of touch: The vertical space rising immediately above the touch line or touch-in-goal line.
Played: The ball is played when it is intentionally touched by a player.
Player grounded: See “off feet”.
Players’ clothing: Anything players wear which, to be legal, must conform to World Rugby Regulation 12.
Playing area: The field of play plus the in-goal areas. The touch lines, touch-in-goal lines and dead-ball lines are not part of the playing area.
Playing enclosure: The playing area plus a space around it, which is known as the perimeter area.
Playing time: Actual time, excluding time lost for stoppages (see actual time).
Possession: An individual or team in control of the ball or who are attempting to bring it under control.
Punt: A player intentionally drops the ball and kicks it before it touches the ground.
Q
Quick-throw: A throw from touch taken before the lineout is formed. The ball is thrown in by the team that would have thrown the ball into the lineout.
R
Receiver: The player in a position to receive the ball if it is knocked or passed back from a lineout.
Red card: The card shown by the referee to a player to indicate that the player has been permanently excluded from the match.
Replacement: A player who replaces a team-mate because of injury or for tactical reasons.
Restart kick: The method of restarting play with a drop-kick after a score or a touch-down.
Ruck: A phase of play where one or more players from each team, who are on their feet and in physical contact, close around the ball, which is on the ground.
Rucking: Legally using one’s feet to try to win or keep possession of the ball in a ruck.
S
Sanction: The method by which the game is restarted following an infringement or stoppage.
Scrum: A set piece, normally consisting of eight players from each team bound together in formation.
Scrum zone: The area in the field of play where a scrum may take place.
Sent off: A player is shown a red card and is permanently excluded from the match.
Shorts: Trousers that start at the waist and end above the knees, have an elasticated waist band and/or draw string, and are not attached to the jersey or underwear.
Sin-bin: The designated place outside the playing area within which a temporarily suspended player must remain.
Stiff-arm tackle: An illegal tackle whereby a player uses a stiff arm to strike the ball-carrier.
T
Tackle: The method of holding a ball-carrier and bringing that player to ground.
Tackled player: A ball-carrier who is held and taken to ground by a tackler or tacklers.
Tackler: An opposition player who holds the tackled player and goes to ground.
Team: A group of players, usually 15, who start the match plus any authorised replacements.
Team-mate: Another player of the same team.
Temporarily suspended: Excluded from the game for a specified period of playing time, usually 10 minutes.
Throw forward: When a player throws or passes the ball forward i.e. if the arms of the player passing the ball move forward.
Touch: The area alongside the field of play that includes the touchlines and beyond.
Touch-in-goal: The area alongside the in-goal area that includes the touch-in-goal lines and beyond.
U
Uncontested scrum: A scrum in which the team throwing-in gains possession without contest, with neither team being allowed to push from the mark.
Underwear: An undergarment, that covers the body from the waist, having short or no legs, ending above the knees, and is worn next to the skin or under clothing, and is not attached to the jersey or shorts.
Union: A body, approved by World Rugby, responsible for the organising and playing of games within a specific geographical area.
Y
Yellow card: The card shown by the referee to a player to indicate that the player has been cautioned and temporarily suspended.