Law discussion – incidents, S14, Wk13

It’s hard to believe that the Super 14 has already reached Week 13. It has flown by but not so quickly that we do not have points of law to discuss to keep our knowledge sharp. Imagine how tedious it must be to have a game whose laws/rules are simple!

We have already given some match statistics, mostly about getting possession.

We shall add to our stats on the scrum laws tomorrow.

Our first incident is a classic example. It comes up in law exams over and over. suddenly here it is as clear as can be.

1. Evans cuddles the padding

Nick Evans of the Highlanders darts at the line. Piri Weepu of the Hurricanes tackles him. With the ball in his grasp Evans snuggles up to the padding on the goal post. The ball is on the ground and against the padding.

The referee awards the try.


Yes. It was a perfect example of its class.


(b) Grounded against a goal post. The goal posts and padding surrounding it are part of the goal-line, which is part of in-goal. If an attacking player is first to ground the ball against a goal post or padding, a try is scored.

To be grounded the ball must be in contact with the ground.


There are two ways a player can ground the ball:

(a) Player touches the ground with the ball. A player grounds the ball by holding the ball and touching the ground with it, in in-goal. ‘Holding’ means holding in the hand or hands, or in the arm or arms. No downward pressure is required.

(b) Player presses down on the ball. A player grounds the ball when it is on the ground in the in-goal and the player presses down on it with a hand or hands, arm or arms, or the front of the player’s body from waist to neck inclusive.

In this case the ball is in contact with the ground and the post.

2. Out of the tunnel

Near touch on his left, Moa Taniela of the Blues, on while Steven Devine was off bleeding, feeds the ball into a Blues scrum and suddenly Fourie du Preez of the Bulls is racing away with the ball. As two Blues come to tackle him, he pops the ball inside to Pedrie Wannenburg who scores a try.

How did Du Preez get it?

Taniela put the ball in. It could not be considered straight, but that is not the purpose of our discussion on a weekend when no scrumhalf, apparently, put the ball in skew. The ball struck a member of the Blues front row and came straight out of the tunnel of the scrum where Du Preez picked it up.

Can advantage apply in such circumstances?

Law 8.3 (b) Ball out of tunnel. Advantage must not be applied when the ball comes out of either end of the tunnel at a scrum without having been played.

The ball was played before it came out, which means that advantage could apply.

3. Whose ball, Mr Ref?

George Pisi of the Blues kicks ahead and chases. Fourie du Preez of the Bulls catches the ball. Pisi immediately tackles Du Preez and they go to ground. Troy Flavell falls on them and the referee immediately blows the whistle making a catching movement with his arms and giving the ball to the Bulls.


Not really.

That business of the of the swamped catcher who gets the ball applies only to the maul – not to the ruck or the tackle. What we had here is a tackle. The award of the scrum then has nothing to do with catching the ball.

(h) Scrum after a maul when catcher is held. If a player catches the ball direct from an opponent’s kick, except from a kick-off or a drop-out, and the player is immediately held by an opponent, a maul may form. Then if the maul remains stationary, stops moving forward for longer than 5 seconds, or if the ball becomes unplayable, and a scrum is ordered, the team of the ball catcher throws in the ball.

‘Direct from

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