The quick throw-in in law

In assessing the referee and the touch judges the assessor will note significant events. There was one when the Force played the Blues at Subiaco Oval on Friday evening.

There are two kinds of significant event – one that affects the score and one that affects the outcome of a match. Ten marks are allotted to a significant event . For a mistake that affects the score the referee or touch judge could lose five marks. For one which affects the outcome of the match he could lose ten marks.

There is no provision made for one which affects a competition.

The one in Perth affected the score but it did not affect the result of the match for the Blues were well on the way to victory but it did help the Blues to get a bonus point and so affected the competition.

It is not a unique event in its kind. But let’s look at it first.

Luke McAlister prods a kick downfield to his right towards Digby Ioane. The Force left wing fails to control the ball but knocks it backwards into his in-goal. He is not under pressure, fetches the ball, runs it out of his in-goal and kicks for touch.

Subiaco Oval is an oval. The rugby rectangle fits into the oval but leaves a fairly large area on each side . That large area has advertising hoardings and so on.

Ioane’s kick is not a great one but it goes into touch and over the advertising hoardings into the broad curve of the oval.

As the ball goes bouncing off outside the field of play, Ali Williams of the Blues approaches the ballboy who has a spare ball and the ballboy flips the spare ball to him. He then runs down towards where the touch judge is standing, flag aloft, arm pointing to the Blues whose throw-in it is going to be. Williams throw in quickly to Keven Mealamu who races down the touch-line and dives over into in-goal.

The try is awarded.

Nathan Sharpe, the Force captain, remonstrates with the referee who says to him: “The touch judge is happy that it was the correct ball. I can’t overrule if I haven’t seen it.”

Let’s look at what the law says before we rake up a dead cow.


(a) A player may take a quick throw-in without waiting for a line-out to form.

(b) For a quick throw-in, the player may be anywhere outside the field of play between the place where the ball went into touch and the player’s goal-line.

(c) A player must not take a quick throw-in after the line-out has formed. If the player does, the quick throw-in is disallowed. The same team throws in at the line-out.

(d) For a quick throw-in, the player must use the ball that went into touch. If, after it went to touch and was made dead, another ball is used, or if another person has touched the ball apart from the player throwing it in, then the quick throw-in is disallowed. The same team throws in at the line-out.

There are some other provisos which are irrelevant in this case because, while (a), (b) and (c) were all right, (d) was certainly not. It was not the same ball. That makes the ballboy’s handling irrelevant as well. It was not the same ball. A quick throw-in could not be taken.

When Williams threw in the touch judge lowered his flag and ran after Mealamu. This is significant.


(d) When to lower the flag. When the ball is thrown in, the touch judge must lower the flag, with the following exceptions:

Exception 1: When the player throwing in puts any part of either foot in the field-of-play, the touch judge keeps the flag up.
Exception 2: When the team not entitled to throw-in has done so, the touch judge keeps the flag up.
Exception 3: When, at a quick throw-in, the ball that went into touch is replaced by another ball, or after it went into or it has been touched by anyone except the player who takes the throw-in, the touch judge keeps the flag up.

Exception 1 is all right, exception 2 i

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