20 Penalty and free-kick
- The mark for a penalty or free-kick must be in the field of play and be no closer than five metres from the goal line, as per the following table:
- A penalty or free-kick is taken from where it is awarded or anywhere behind it on a line through the mark and parallel to the touchlines. When a penalty or free-kick is taken at the wrong place, it must be re-taken.
- A team awarded a penalty or free-kick may instead choose a scrum.
- A team awarded a penalty or free-kick at a lineout may instead choose a lineout or a scrum at the same mark.
- A penalty or free-kick must be taken without delay.
- Any player from the non-offending team may take it, other than for a free-kick awarded for a mark.
- The kicker must use the ball that was in play unless the referee decides it is defective.
- The kicker may punt, drop-kick or place-kick (other than for touch) the ball.
- The kicker may kick the ball in any direction.
- Other than the placer at a place-kick, the kicker’s team must remain behind the ball until it has been kicked.
- The ball must be kicked a visible distance. If the kicker is holding it, it must clearly leave the hands. If it is on the ground, it must clearly leave the mark. Once the kick has been successfully taken the kicker may play the ball again.
- When a penalty or free-kick is awarded, the opposing team must immediately retreat 10 metres towards their own goal line or until they have reached their goal line if that is closer.
- Even if the penalty or free-kick is taken quickly and the kicker’s team is playing the ball, opposing players must keep retreating the necessary distance. They may not take part in the game until they have done so.
- If it is taken so quickly that opponents have no opportunity to retreat, they will not be sanctioned for this. However, they may not take part in the game until they have retreated 10 metres from the mark or until a team-mate who was 10 metres from the mark has moved in front of them.
- The opposing team may not do anything to delay the kick or obstruct the kicker, including intentionally taking, throwing or kicking the ball out of reach of the team awarded the penalty. Sanction: Second penalty or free-kick, 10 metres in front of the original mark. The second penalty or free-kick must not be taken before the referee has made the mark.
- As soon as the kicker initiates movement to kick, the opposing team may charge and try to prevent the free-kick being taken by tackling the kicker or to block the kick.
- If the opposing team charge fairly and prevent the free-kick being taken, the kick is disallowed. Play restarts with a scrum at the mark with the opposing team throwing in.
Penalties and free-kicks are awarded to restart play after infringements.
Location of a penalty or free-kick
|Infringement||Location of penalty or free-kick|
|While the ball is in play excluding a late charge after a kick.||At the place of infringement.|
|While the ball is dead.||At the point where play would have restarted or, if that place is on the touchline or within 15 metres of it, the mark is on the 15-metre line, in line with that place.|
|If play would have restarted with a 22 drop-out, the mark is anywhere on the 22-metre line (non-offending team decides).|
|Any infringement that takes place outside the playing area while the ball is in play.||On the 15-metre line, in line with where the offence occurred or if the offence occurred in touch-in-goal or beyond the dead-ball line, on the five-metre line, in line with the place of the infringement, but no less than 15 metres from the touchline.|
|Any infringement in a lineout.||15 metres from the touchline on the mark of touch.|
|Offside at a phase of play.||At the offending team’s offside line.|
|Any subsequent infringement by the original offending team after the first penalty or free-kick is awarded but before it is taken.||Advanced 10 metres from the original mark.|
|Late charging the kicker.||The opposition chooses either at the place of the infringement, where the ball landed or where the ball was next played.|
|If the infringement takes place in the kicker’s in-goal, the penalty is taken five metres from the goal line in line with the place of infringement but at least 15 metres from the touchline.|
|The non-offending team may also choose to take the penalty where the ball lands or where it is next played before landing, at least 15 metres from the touchline.|
|If the ball lands in touch, the optional penalty is on the 15-metre line, in line with where it went into touch.|
|If the ball lands, or is next played before landing, within 15 metres of the touchline, the mark is on the 15-metre line opposite where the ball landed or was played.|
|If the ball lands in in-goal, in touch-in-goal, or on or over the dead-ball line, the optional penalty is five metres from the goal line, in line with the place where the ball crossed the goal line and at least 15 metres from the touchline.|
|If the ball hits a goal post or crossbar, the optional penalty kick is awarded where the ball lands.|
|Intentionally throwing or knocking the ball into touch.||If the ball is thrown or knocked:|
|Into touch or touch-in-goal or over the dead-ball line from the playing area, the mark is where the infringement occurred but no closer than 15 metres from the touchline and five metres from the goal line.|
|Into touch or touch-in-goal from in in-goal, the mark is on the five-metre line at least 15 metres from the touchline.|
|Over the dead-ball line from in-goal, the mark is on the five-metre line in a line with where the infringement occurred.|
|Any infringement in in-goal or within five metres of a goal line.||In the field of play, five metres from the goal line, in line with the place of infringement.|
Options at a penalty or free-kick
Taking a penalty or free-kick
Opposing team at a penalty or free-kick
Opposing team at a free-kick