Law discussion: The dummy jump

Tue, 20 Sep 2016 14:05
Large eben etzebeth v all blacks 800

EXCLUSIVE: For the second time in two Rugby Championship matches the Springboks were confused by a refereeing decision at the line-out.

On each occasion Eben Etzebeth was the particularly confused player.

In Brisbane it was for a "long-arm transfer", when the referee applied an instruction from World Rugby in January this year. This time it was not an instruction but a law which was correctly applied but usually "more honour'd in the breach than the observance", as Hamlet said it, though he was not talking about rugby refereeing.

The Springboks are to throw into a line-out. Etzebeth is at number two in the line-out and jumps up, and so does Brodie Retallick of the All Blacks in competing for a ball that was not thrown in at all. Etzebeth lands and then Adriaan Strauss throws the ball in to Pieter-Steph du Toit who is behind Etzebeth.

The referee awards a free kick to the All Blacks.

Law 19.10 (f) Jumping, supporting or lifting before the ball is thrown. A player must not jump or be lifted or supported before the ball has left the hands of the player throwing in.
Sanction: Free Kick on the 15-metre line

The referee applied that law and did so correctly. Etzebeth, playing his 50th Test apart from many other top matches in his career, is bemused, possibly because he had been doing it in many, many matches with impunity.

The referee described it as a dummy jump where the word dummy is used to describe what is not the real thing, as in tailor's dummy. Sometimes it is used to deceive as in baby's dummy and in rugby in a dummy pass or dummy kick - and, here, in a dummy jump.

What is meant by 'technical infringement' that the commentator talks about is uncertain.

The referee in this match had an admirable balance between neatness/accuracy and letting the players play.

By Paul Dobson