Law Discussion: a quick throw-in
Thu, 22 Aug 2013 21:59
Speed of happening and processing what has happened at speed is not easy
This is an incident taken from the Championship match between Australia and New Zealand last Saturday in Sydney. It is worth talking about for itself and for at least two other reasons.
From a tackle/ruck the Australians go left. The ball gets to Michael Hooper who is tackled into touch by Aaron Cruden of New Zealand with a bit of help from Ben Smith of New Zealand. As he is going into touch Hooper plays the ball infield where it strikes the shins of Rob Simmons of Australia and goes into touch. Ben Smith picks up the ball and from behind the line of his 22 throws it quickly to Israel Dagg of New Zealand who kicks it into touch on the full, roughly on the Australian 10-metre line. The line-out occurs where Dagg's kick went into touch, that is roughly on the Australian 10-metre line.
Look where the ball went into touch. It went into touch four or five metres outside the New Zealand 22. There Ma'a Nonu of New Zealand footed the ball further into touch. Then Ben Smith picked up the ball, moved to his left and threw the ball in quickly. When he threw it in he was behind the line of his 22. When he picked it up he was outside the line of his 22.
As Ben Smith threw in the referee called: "Play on."
The referee's call was right as Ben Smith was nearer to his goal-line from the place where the line-out would have been. There was nothing wrong with playing on what about Dagg's kick, the way the playing on happened.?
Law 19.1 THROW-IN
NO GAIN IN GROUND
(b) When a team causes the ball to be put into their own 22. When a defending player plays the ball from outside the 22 and it goes into that player’s 22 or in-goal area without touching an opposition player and then that player or another player from that team kicks the ball directly into touch before it touches an opposition player, or a tackle takes place or a ruck or maul is formed, there is no gain in ground. This applies when a defending player moves back behind the 22 metre line to take a quick throw-in and then the ball is kicked directly into touch.
Look at the last sentence: This applies when a defending player moves back behind the 22 metre line to take a quick throw-in and then the ball is kicked directly into touch.
What applies? That there will be no gain of ground.
Law 19.1 THROW-IN
NO GAIN IN GROUND
(a) Outside a team’s 22, a team member kicks directly into touch. Except for a penalty kick, when a player anywhere in the field of play who is outside the 22 kicks directly into touch, there is no gain in ground. The throw-in is taken either at the place opposite where the player kicked the ball, or at the place where it went into touch, whichever is nearer that player’s goal line.
Ben Smith's throw-in was correct. There was nothing wrong with Dagg's kick except that it went out on the full after a team-mate had taken the ball into the 22.
That means that the line-out should have been opposite the place where Dagg kicked the ball, which was some 30 metres nearer the New Zealand line.
The referee and his assistant are two of the very best referees in the world. Speed of happening and processing what has happened at speed is not easy even for them.
By Paul Dobson
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