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18 Touch, quick throw and lineout

    Principle

    The field of play has side boundaries known as touchlines. When play reaches a touchline, the ball is in touch and becomes dead.

    Quick-throws and lineouts are methods of restarting the game with a throw after the ball or ball-carrier has gone into touch.

    Touch or touch-in-goal

  1. The ball is in touch or touch-in-goal when:
    1. The ball or ball-carrier touches the touchline, touch-in-goal line or anything beyond.
    2. A player, who is already touching the touchline, touch-in-goal line or anything beyond, catches or holds the ball.
  2. The ball is not in touch or touch-in-goal if:
    1. The ball reaches the plane of touch but is caught, knocked or kicked by a player who is in the playing area.
    2. A player jumps, from within or outside the playing area, and catches the ball, and then lands in the playing area, regardless of whether the ball reached the plane of touch.
    3. A player, who is in touch, kicks or knocks the ball, but does not hold it, provided it has not reached the plane of touch.

    Quick throw

  3. A player who carries the ball into touch must release the ball immediately so that a quick throw may be taken. Sanction: Penalty.
  4. At a quick throw, the ball is thrown in:
    1. Between the mark of touch and the thrower’s own goal line; and
    2. Parallel to or towards the thrower’s own goal line; and
    3. So that it reaches the five-metre line before it touches the ground or hits a player; and
    4. By a player whose feet are both outside the field of play.
    5. Sanction: Option of lineout or scrum.
  5. A quick throw is disallowed and a lineout is awarded to the same team if:
    1. A lineout had already been formed; or
    2. The ball had been touched after it went into touch by anyone other than the player throwing in or the player who carried the ball into touch; or
    3. A different ball is used from the one that originally went into touch.
  6. The ball must reach the five-metre line before it is played and a player must not prevent the ball from travelling five metres. Sanction: Free-kick.
  7. If the mark of touch is outside the 22, the defending team may take the quick throw inside the 22 but is deemed to have taken the ball into the 22.
  8. Quick throw-in

    Lineout

  9. Where the game is restarted with a lineout and which team throws in is determined as follows:
    1. General
    2. EventLocation of the mark of touchWho throws in
      The ball-carrier goes into touch.Where the player touches the touchline or the ground beyond it.The opposition.
      A player unintentionally knocks, passes or throws the ball into touch.Where the ball reaches the touchline.The opposition.
      The ball hits a player and goes directly into touch.Where the ball reaches the touchline or at the point on the touchline closest to where the ball hit the player, whichever is nearer to that player’s goal line.The opposition.
      The ball hits a player and it bounces into touch.Where the ball reaches the touchline.The opposition.
      A player, who is in touch, picks up a moving ball.Where that player is standing.Whoever would have thrown in if the ball had continued to the touch line.
      A player who is in touch picks up a stationary ball.Where that player is standing.The opposition.
    3. Ball is kicked directly into touch from a kick-off or restart kick
    4. EventLocation of the mark of touchWho throws in
      The ball goes directly into touch from a kick-off or restart kick following a score.If the touch option is taken, the throw is where the ball reaches the touchline or on the half-way line, whichever is nearer to the kicker’s goal line.The non-kicking team.
      The ball goes directly into touch from a 22 drop-out.If the touch option is taken, then the throw is where the ball reaches the touchline or on the 22-metre line, whichever is nearer to the kicker’s goal line.The non-kicking team.
    5. Ball is kicked from a penalty
    6. EventLocation of the mark of touchWho throws in
      A player kicks the ball into touch (either directly or first bouncing in the field of play or hitting a player or the referee).Where the ball reaches the touchline.The kicking team.
      A player, who is in touch, catches the ball irrespective of whether the ball has reached the touchline.Where the ball reaches the touchline or, if the ball hasn’t reached the touchline, where the player catching the ball is standing.The kicking team.
      A player, who is in touch, picks up a moving ball that has not reached the touchline.Where that player is standing.The kicking team.
    7. Ball is kicked directly into touch from within own 22 or in-goal
    8. EventLocation of the mark of touchWho throws in
      No gain in ground
      The defending team took the ball into their 22, no tackle, ruck or maul took place and no opponent touched the ball within the 22.
      A player kicks the ball directly into touch.Where the ball reaches the touchline or on the touchline in line with where the ball was kicked, whichever is nearer to the kicker’s goal line.The non-kicking team.
      An opposition player, who is in touch, catches the ball.Where the ball reaches the touchline or on the touchline in line with where the ball was kicked, whichever is nearer to the kicker’s goal line.The non-kicking team.
      Gain in ground
      Either the defending team did not take the ball into their 22 or a tackle, ruck or maul took place within the 22 or an opponent touched the ball within the 22.
      A player kicks the ball directly into touch.Where the ball reaches the touchline.The non-kicking team.
      An opposition player, who is in touch, catches the ball.Where the ball reaches the touchline.The non-kicking team.
      A player kicks the ball from a free-kick awarded within the 22.Where the ball reaches the touchline.The non-kicking team.
    9. Ball is kicked directly into touch from outside the 22
    10. EventLocation of the mark of touchWho throws in
      A player kicks the ball directly into touch from open play or from a free-kick.Where the ball reaches the touchline or on the touchline in line with where the ball was kicked, whichever is nearer to that player’s goal line. No gain in ground.The non-kicking team.
    11. Lineout options
    12. EventLocation of the mark of touchWho throws in
      Following an incorrect throw.Where the original lineout took place.The opposition.
      Following a disallowed quick throw.Where the formed lineout would have taken place if the quick throw had not been taken.The same team.
      Following an incorrect quick throw.Where the incorrect throw was taken.The opposition.
      Following the ball going into touch from a knock-on or throw forward.Where the ball reached the touchline.The opposition.
      From a penalty or free-kick awarded for a lineout infringement.Where the original lineout took place.The opposition.
    No gain in ground
    Gain in ground

    Forming a lineout

  10. A lineout is formed on the mark of touch.
  11. Each team forms a single line parallel to and half a metre from the mark of touch on their side of the lineout between the five-metre and 15-metre lines. The gap between the lines must be maintained until the ball is thrown in. Sanction: Free-kick.
  12. A minimum of two players from each team are required to form a lineout.
  13. The lineout
  14. Teams form the lineout without delay. Sanction: Free-kick.
  15. The team throwing in determines the maximum number of players that each team may have in the lineout.
  16. Unless the throw is taken as soon as the lineout is formed, the non-throwing team may not have more players (but may have fewer players) in the lineout than the throwing team. Sanction: Free-kick.
  17. The non-throwing team must have a player between the touchline and the five-metre line. The player stands two metres from the mark of touch on their team’s side of the lineout and two metres from the five-metre line. Sanction: Free-kick.
  18. If a team elects to have a receiver, the receiver stands between the five-metre and the 15-metre lines, two metres away from their team-mates in the lineout. Each team may have only one receiver. Sanction: Free-kick.
  19. Once the lineout is formed, players:
    1. From the team throwing in may not leave the lineout other than to change positions with other participating players.
    2. From the non-throwing team may leave the lineout only to ensure that they do not have more players than the opposition.
    3. Sanction: Free-kick.
  20. Participating players may change places in the lineout before the ball is thrown.
  21. Players in the lineout who are going to lift or support a team-mate jumping for the ball may pre-grip that team-mate providing they do not grip below the shorts from behind or below the thighs from the front. Sanction: Free-kick.
  22. Players must not jump or be lifted or supported before the ball has left the hands of the player throwing in. Sanction: Free-kick.
  23. Players must not make any contact with an opponent before the ball is thrown in. Sanction: Penalty.
  24. Throwing into a lineout

  25. The player throwing in the ball stands on the mark of touch with both feet outside the field of play. The thrower must not step into the field of play until the ball has been thrown. Sanction: Option of lineout or scrum.
  26. The ball must:
    1. Be thrown in straight along the mark of touch; and
    2. Reach the five-metre line before it hits the ground or is played.
    3. Sanction: Option of lineout or scrum. If the lineout is chosen and the ball is again not thrown straight, a scrum is awarded to the team that originally threw in the ball.
    4. Be thrown in without delay once the lineout is formed. Sanction: Free-kick.
  27. The thrower must not pretend to throw the ball. Sanction: Free-kick.
  28. During a lineout

  29. The lineout commences once the ball leaves the hands of the thrower.
  30. Once the lineout has commenced, the thrower and the thrower’s immediate opponent may:
    1. Join the lineout.
    2. Retire to the offside line of the non-participating players of his own team.
    3. Stay within five metres of the touchline.
    4. Move to the receiver position if that position is empty.
  31. If those players move anywhere else, they are offside. Sanction: Penalty.
  32. Once the lineout has commenced, any player in the lineout may:
    1. Compete for possession of the ball.
    2. Catch or deflect the ball. A jumper may catch or deflect the ball with the outside arm only if they have both hands above their head. Sanction: Free-kick.
    3. Lift or support a player from the same team. Players who support or lift a team-mate must lower the player to the ground safely as soon as the ball is won by a player of either team. Sanction: Free-kick.
    4. Leave the lineout so as to be in a position to receive the ball, provided they remain within 10 metres of the mark of touch and they keep moving until the lineout is over. Sanction: Free-kick.
    5. Grasp and bring an opponent in possession of the ball to ground, provided that the player is not in the air. Sanction: Penalty.

    Offside at a lineout

  33. All lineout players are onside if they remain on their side of the mark of touch until the ball has been thrown in and touched a player or the ground.
  34. Players jumping for the ball who cross the mark of touch and do not catch the ball must immediately return to their own side.
  35. Until the ball is thrown in, and has touched the player or the ground, the offside line for lineout players is the mark of touch. After that, their offside line is a line through the ball.
  36. When a ruck or maul forms at the mark of touch, a participating player may either:
    1. Join the ruck or maul; or
    2. Retire to the offside line, which is the hindmost foot of that player’s team in the ruck or maul.
  37. Once the ball has been thrown, a lineout player may move beyond the 15-metre line. If the ball does not go beyond the 15-metre line, the player must immediately return to the lineout.
  38. Players not participating in the lineout must remain at least 10 metres from the mark of touch on their own team’s side or behind the goal line if this is nearer. If the ball is thrown in before a player is onside, the player will not be liable to sanction if the player immediately retires to the onside position. The player cannot be put onside by the action of any other player.
  39. Once the ball has been thrown in by a team-mate, players who are not participating in the lineout may move forward. If that occurs, then their opponents may also move forward. If the ball does not go beyond the 15-metre line, the players will not be liable to sanction if they immediately retire to their respective offside lines.
  40. Sanction: Penalty.

    Ending a lineout

  41. The lineout ends when:
    1. The ball or a player in possession of the ball:
      1. leaves the lineout; or
      2. enters the area between the touchline and the five-metre line; or
      3. goes beyond the 15-metre line.
    2. A ruck or maul forms and all of the feet of all of the players in the ruck or maul move beyond the mark of touch.
    3. The ball becomes unplayable.
  42. Other than by moving to the receiver position if that position is empty, no lineout player may leave the lineout until it has ended. Sanction: Penalty.