In the Laws app, the video clip that WR rugby has provided with 10.8 seems to be materially the same as the situation in the OP.
8. A player offside under Law 10.4c cannot be put onside by any action of an opponent, apart from a charge down.
- Japan kicks and a French player plays the ball during an attempted chargedown in that it makes very obvious contact with the French player’s hands immediately after the kick but the ball continues in the direction it was traveling, toward Japan’s DBL.
- there are quite a few Japanese players in front of the kicker, perhaps the entire team.
- one of the Japanese players who is clearly in front of the kicker, advancing after realizing the ball has been touched in flight by France, is very clearly within 10 meters of the ball when it lands (probably closer to 5 meters).
He doesn’t catch it and it doesn’t lead to a score so it’s not as offensive to the eyes, but, for me the very obvious interpretation of the video being applied to law 10.8 is that WR does
consider this a chargedown and 10.4 is satisfied, thus the player is free to advance and do anything, including catch the ball and score a try.
I would to go so far as to say it resolves this conclusively, as far as WR’s interpretation is concerned. There is still the remaining question of what does it mean in 10.4 when the ball “touches or is played by an opponent but not when it is charged down” but I think we can easily envision some scenarios this could cover, such as:
- an already referenced scenario where an opponent of the kicker turns away from the kick and the ball ricochets off of him
- a more horizontal kick (such as described by number11) where, a bit further down the field, not “immediately” after the kick (11.5.a), an opponent of the kicker intentionally touches or otherwise plays the ball, with or without successfully catching it.
Again, I feel the video associated with 10.8 in the laws app resolves this conclusively. Am I missing anything?