Law Discussions

Law Discussion: Ralepelle's try

Mon, 25 Feb 2013 07:56
Chilliboy-ralepelle-bulls-h Jaco-peyper-whistle Chiliboy-ralepelle-bulls-63 Jaco-peyper-_-jean-de-villi Chiliboy-ralepelle-bulls-ba
The correct decision would have been a penalty to the Stormers
Quote-end

There were several decisions this last weekend which are worth debating.

One of them was the try scored by Chiliboy Ralepelle of the Bulls, a try which took the home team to 25-10 lead with 13 minutes to play.

The Bulls were attacking when Francois Hougaard grubbered the ball towards the Stormers' line as Siya Kolisi on one side and Frans Malherbe on the other side tried to stop him. The ball went between the two defenders. Ralepelle raced onto the ball, grabbed it and dived over.

The referee referred the decision to the TMO. It was clear that Ralepelle had been in front of Hougaard when Hougaard kicked the ball. The referee wanted to know if he had kicked the ball into a defender.

The TMO examined the situation. The ball had not touched Kolisi but he believed that the ball had touched a sliver of the toe of Malherbe's boot.

On the strength of this the referee awarded the try.

Right?

Hougaard's grubber was a kick.

Law DEFINITION
Kick: a kick is made by hitting the ball with any part of the leg or foot, except the heel, and from knee to toe, but not including the knee. A kick must move a visible distance out of the hand.

Law 11 DEFINITIONS
In general play a player is offside if the player is in front of a team-mate who is carrying the ball, or in front of a team-mate who last played the ball. Offside means that a player is temporarily out of the game. Such players are liable to be penalised if they take part in the game.

Ralepelle was in front of Hougaard when Hougaard kicked the ball. Ralepelle was in an offside position. He took part in the game all right. So he was liable to be penalised unless he had been put onside.

There are three ways that an offside player can be put onside by an opponent. The third one is relevant.

Law 11.3 BEING PUT ONSIDE BY OPPONENTS
In general play, there are three ways by which an offside player can be put onside by an action of the opposing team. These three ways do not apply to a player who is offside under the 10-Metre Law.
(a) Runs 5 metres with ball. When an opponent carrying the ball runs 5 metres, the offside player is put onside.
(b) Kicks or passes. When an opponent kicks or passes the ball, the offside player is put onside.
(c) Intentionally touches ball. When an opponent intentionally touches the ball but does not catch it, the offside player is put onside.

It is debatable whether Malherbe intentionally touched the ball. He was trying to tackle Hougaard. But leave that aside.

When Hougaard kicked the ball Ralepelle was to his left about a metre in front of Hougaard. Let's look at offside under the 10-metre law.

Law 11.4 OFFSIDE UNDER THE 10-METRE LAW
(a) When a team-mate of an offside player has kicked ahead, the offside player is considered to be taking part in the game if the player is in front of an imaginary line across the field which is 10 metres from the opponent waiting to play the ball, or from where the ball lands or may land. The offside player must immediately move behind the imaginary 10-metre line or the kicker if this is closer than 10 metres. While moving away, the player must not obstruct an opponent.
Sanction: Penalty kick

Hougaard kicked the ball.
Ralepelle was in front of Hougaard when Hougaard kicked the ball.
The ball landed almost immediately - just beyond Kolisi.
Ralepelle was in front of the line 10 metres from where the ball landed.

Does Malherbe's toe put Ralepelle onside.

Law 11.5 BEING PUT ONSIDE UNDER THE 10-METRE LAW
(a) The offside player must retire behind the imaginary 10-metre line across the field, otherwise the player is liable to be penalised.
(b) While retiring, the player can be put onside before moving behind the imaginary 10-metre line by any of the three actions of the player’s team listed above in 11.2. However, the player cannot be put onside by any action of the opposing team.

The player cannot be put onside by any action of the opposing team.

Malherbe's toe could not have put Ralepelle onside.

It would seem that the referee should not have asked the TMO the question he asked him and the TMO should not have given the advice that he gave him: that the ball had been touched by 17 Blue [Malherbe] and that Ralepelle had thus been put on side and the try should have been awarded.

It would seem that the correct decision would have been a penalty to the Stormers.

But, in case there is doubt, the law is even more explicit.

Law 11.4 (f) The 10-metre Law does not apply when a player kicks the ball, and an opponent charges down the kick, and a team-mate of the kicker who was in front of the imaginary 10-metre line across the field then plays the ball. The opponent was not ‘waiting to play the ball’ and the team-mate is onside. The 10-metre Law applies if the ball touches or is played by an opponent but is not charged down.

Malherbe's toe could not have put Ralepelle onside. It certainly was not charging the kick down!

It would seem that the referee should not have asked the TMO the question he asked him and the TMO should not have given the advice that he gave him: that the ball had been touched by 176 Blue [Malherbe] and that Ralepelle had thus been put on side and the try should have been awarded.

It would seem that the correct decision would have been a penalty to the Stormers.

NB The try that Willem Alberts scored against England was not similar. In that incident an Englishman kicked the ball. The ball struck JP Pietersen above the knee and it flew forward. But that means that Pietersen did not kick the ball. If he did not kick the ball there was no 10-metre restriction. The ball was then intentionally played by an Englishman, which pout Alberts onside.

In this case there was a kick and so the 10-metre restriction.

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