Law Discussion: Dagg penalised

Fri, 01 Mar 2013 20:23
Large dagg tackled630 Large blues v crusaders Large blues v crusaders2 Large blues v crusaders3

rugby365 Law guru Paul Dobson looks at a contentious moment and decision in the Blues' 34-15 win over the Crusaders on Friday.

rugby365 Law guru Paul Dobson looks at a contentious moment and decision in the Blues's 34-15 win over the Crusaders on Friday.

Crusaders attack down the left. Tyler Bleyendaal passes to Israel Dagg, playing left wing, who has an overlap with not far to go to the Blues' goal-line.

Rene Ranger of the Blues covers and grabs Dagg. Dagg and Ranger fall down to ground. Dagg gets up and dives for the line as Ranger grabs him again. Dagg is over the line. Angus Ta'avao of the Blues and Sam Whitelock of the Crusaders join in. Then Bryn Hall and Bleydendaal of the Blues join in.

The referee refers the matter to the TMO, asking Try/no try.

The TMO examines the action and comes back to say: "The Red player [Dagg] has been tackled, brought to ground. Did not release the ball. Got to his feet before grounding the ball."

The referee says: "So a penalty against Red."

The TMO says: "That is correct."

A tackle occurs when the ball-carrier is held by one or more opponents and is brought to ground.

An opponent (Ranger) holds a ball-carrier (Dagg) and brings him to ground.

But Dagg is not lying on the ground.

(a) If the ball-carrier has one knee or both knees on the ground, that player has been ‘brought to ground’.

Dagg's right knee is on the ground. That means Dagg was brought to ground.

But when Dagg got up he was not held.

(a) When a player tackles an opponent and they both go to ground, the tackler must immediately release the tackled player.
Sanction: Penalty kick

Ranger did what the law required him to do - release Dagg. But by then the tackle had already occurred - held and brought to ground.

It was a tackle and Dagg was the tackled player.

(b) A tackled player must immediately pass the ball or release it.

Dagg did neither of those. He kept hold of the ball and stood up with it, which is not an option available to him. What Dagg did was an infringement.

The TMO thus had no need to consider the grounding as the infringement had occurred before the grounding and so the grounding was irrelevant.

Till recently the TMO was not allowed to give such advice; he would have been confined to examining the grounding. The extended use of the TMO, now in practice in Super Rugby, allows the TMO to give such advice.

Law 6 (b) A match organiser may appoint an official who uses technological devices known as the TMO who may be consulted:

If the referee is unsure when making a decision in in-goal involving:
* a try being scored
* a touch down
* the ball being made dead on or over the dead ball line or touch-in-goal line

If the referee is unsure when making a decision in in-goal with regard to the scoring of a try or a touchdown when foul play in in-goal or in the field of play may have been involved

If after a team in possession of the ball has touched the ball down in their opponents' in-goal area the referee, or assistant referees or TMO believe there may have been an infringement by that team in the field of play before the ball was touched down

The TMO's advice was correct.