How long to touch down...?

Accylad


Referees in England
Joined
Jun 21, 2011
Messages
179
Post Likes
33
On exchange in Lancashire on Saturday, hard uncompromising L7 game with stiff wind down the ground.

Away team FH gives mighty wallop to 22 drop out and ball sails downfield with yours truly in hot pursuit.

For some reason home FB was not furthest player back and player tracking back hesitated over the now stationary ball in the centre of his 22 for what seemed ages and then, with a look of considerable alarm (despite away team players still being some distance away), picked up the ball. After what seemed like ages, perhaps 3 or 4 secs, and after a call from his team mate, he put the ball down again.

Happily I had been reading the post on this very topic, so confidently offered the option of scrum back!:D However, I did wonder at the time how long I could reasonably give him before telling him to play on. The lad clearly had no idea what he was supposed to do ..... but this was L7!!

Assessor thought it would have been harsh to enforce a "play on" but perhaps on reflection I was too keen to show that I knew the law re scrum back:chin:
 

Taff


Referees in Wales
Joined
Aug 23, 2009
Messages
6,942
Post Likes
383
..... hesitated over the now stationary ball in the centre of his 22 .... picked up the ball. After what seemed like ages ... he put the ball down again.
Is that a trypo?
 

Jacko


Argentina Referees in Argentina
Joined
Aug 8, 2005
Messages
1,514
Post Likes
79
Current Referee grade:
National Panel
I assume a typo, but if "it seemed like ages" then I think you' be hard pressed to declare it "immediate" so 22 drop out would have been the correct call.
 

crossref


Referees in England
Joined
Sep 14, 2009
Messages
21,816
Post Likes
3,154
There was also a strong wind at my son's game yesterday - U15, and three restart kicks went in goal, with various 'learning opportuinities' for the players, coaches and refs...

There was

- ball goes in goal and a defender approaches to cries from his coach of 'touch it down touch it down'.. he picks up the ball, takes a few steps, looks up, and then the coaches cries finally penetrated and he touches it down. Too late! Not immediate enough for the scrum-back option (coach smites forehead)

- ball stops and is stationary just short of the goal line and a defender (who was waiting in goal guarding the v long kick) approachs and carefully stands with one foot behind the tryline and picks up the stationary ball and touches it down in goal. d'oh! 5m attacking scrum (coach smites sore forehead)

- ball bounces into the in-goal area and keeps moving and is shepherded by a defender who doesn't touch it. Eventually ball comes to rest, and defender stands there over the ball and looks at the ref (me this time), looking confused. I shout 'play on', and I keep on running until I am near enough to see that the ball has actually crossed the (rather faint) DBL and is dead. My shout was misguided (ref smites forehead). thank goodness he ignored it.

age group rugby is fun sometimes :)
 

Lee Lifeson-Peart


Referees in England
Joined
Mar 12, 2008
Messages
7,815
Post Likes
1,008
Current Referee grade:
Level 6
near enough to see that the ball has actually crossed the (rather faint) DBL and is dead. My shout was misguided (ref smites forehead). thank goodness he ignored it.

You couldn't see if the ball had crossed the DBL? You wouldn't catch me doing that!
 
Last edited:

Dixie


Referees in England
Joined
Oct 26, 2006
Messages
12,773
Post Likes
338
Accylad, I think you are mistaken in law. The scrum-back option is only available if he immediately grounds it; as he picked up and vaccilated for a serious amount of time, the correct decision would have been 22 DO no option.
 

SimonSmith


Referees in Australia
Staff member
Joined
Jan 27, 2004
Messages
9,397
Post Likes
1,510
AT L7? That wasn't immediate enough. As others have referenced, I'd have gone with the 22DO
 

OB..


Referees in England
Staff member
Joined
Oct 7, 2004
Messages
22,981
Post Likes
1,838
[LAWS]Law 13.15 (c) If they opt to ground the ball or make it dead, they must do so without delay. Any other action with the ball by a defending player means the player has elected to play on.[/LAWS]Picking up the ball certainly constitutes "any other action", so the player has forfeited the right to a scrum back.

The argument usually turns on a player doing nothing but watch the ball. Does that constitute acting "without delay"? I certaily remember being told that you could not take your time looking up to see what the opponents were doing before making your decision to ground the ball; you were supposed to ground it when you arrived if you wanted the scrum back. The second sentence merely clarified that eg picking the ball up before grounding it (as many players used to do) constituted delay.
 

Accylad


Referees in England
Joined
Jun 21, 2011
Messages
179
Post Likes
33
Sorry about the typo folks - as you worked out, I meant centre of in goal not his 22!

What was going through my mind was he has two choices under 13.15 - 1. ground it or make it dead or 2. play on.

IF he grounds it (within the referees view of "without delay") he could have the option of 22 or scrum back. If he does not I dont read teh law as saying he can touch down but looses an option he would have had if he had faster. So I can't see how he can have just the 22 - he MUST play on.

I accept that others may not have been as lenient as I was, but I think SimonSmith and Dixie that if you decide he has taken too long you have to yell "play on" and watch him try to get out of the mess he has put himself in!!
 

SimonSmith


Referees in Australia
Staff member
Joined
Jan 27, 2004
Messages
9,397
Post Likes
1,510
(a) If the ball is kicked into the in-goal without having touched or been touched by a player, theopposing team has three choices:
To ground the ball, or
To make it dead, or
To play on.
(b) If the opposing team grounds the ball, or if they make it dead, or if the ball becomes dead
by going into touch-in-goal or on or over the dead ball line, they have two choices:
To have a scrum formed at the centre, and they throw in the ball, or
To have the other team kick off again.
(c) If they opt to ground the ball or make it dead, they must do so without delay. Any other
action with the ball by a defending player means the player has elected to play on.

I disagree with how you interpret "play on"
The law intends that if the ball goes into in goal, you can ground it immediately, or kick it out (over the DBL or TiG) and get the choice.

If you don't act immediately, and take your time to think about the options and then ground it, you played on. The ball is dead in goal having been put there by the kicker's team, so it's a 22m.
 

Dixie


Referees in England
Joined
Oct 26, 2006
Messages
12,773
Post Likes
338
IF he grounds it (within the referees view of "without delay") he could have the option of 22 or scrum back. If he does not I dont read teh law as saying he can touch down but looses an option he would have had if he had faster. So I can't see how he can have just the 22 - he MUST play on.
But play on encompasses taking any legitimate action - including dotting it down. If he'd picked up, spotted a gap on the left touchline and charged laterally for it (i.e. remaining in in-goal) only to find it closing down, he might then head laterally for the other touchline and ultimately have no option but to ground the ball or otherwise make it dead. Are you suggesting that this is not playing on, and there is a sanction for his failure to do so?

If not, and given that the oppo put the ball into in-goal, how do you restart - and on what authority? I'd argue that the restart is a 22 DO, quoting law 22.7a
 

Accylad


Referees in England
Joined
Jun 21, 2011
Messages
179
Post Likes
33
Mmm. Not convinced.

If they opt to dot it down they must do so without delay, any other action means you are playing on. It is illogical to interpret "playing on" as meaning you can go back and take an option that is lost to you if you delay acting.

I will be interested to see how this develops!:biggrin:
 

Dixie


Referees in England
Joined
Oct 26, 2006
Messages
12,773
Post Likes
338
Mmm. Not convinced.

If they opt to dot it down they must do so without delay, any other action means you are playing on. It is illogical to interpret "playing on" as meaning you can go back and take an option that is lost to you if you delay acting.

I will be interested to see how this develops!:biggrin:
Fascinating! I note that you didn't respond to my last three sentences. I base my argument on the following provisions:

[LAWS]In-goal is part of the ground as defined in Law 1 where the ball may be grounded by players from either team.[/LAWS]

[LAWS]22.5 BALL GROUNDED BY A DEFENDING PLAYER
(a) Touch down. When defending players are first to ground the ball in their in-goal, it results in a touch down.[/LAWS]

[LAWS]22.7 RESTARTING AFTER A TOUCH DOWN
(a) When an attacking player sends or carries the ball into the opponents’ in-goal and it becomes dead there, either because a defender grounded it or because it went into touch-in-goal or on or over the dead ball line, a drop-out is awarded.
(b) If an attacking player knocks-on or throws-forward in the field of play and the ball goes into the opponents’ in-goal and it is made dead there, a scrum is awarded where the knock-on or throw forward happened.
(c) If, at a kick-off or drop-out, the ball is kicked into the opponents’ in-goal without having touched or been touched by a player and a defending player grounds it there or makes it dead without delay, the defending team have two choices:
- To have a scrum formed at the centre of the line from which the kick was taken and they throw in the ball; or
- To have the other team kick off or drop out again.[/LAWS]

You'll note that 22.7(c) merely addresses how the option arises. there are several pre-requisites as follows:

i) the ball must have gone into in-goal as a result of an opposition kick-off {restart implied also} or drop-out;
ii) no player can have touched the ball between the kick and when it went into in-goal;
iii) the defending player must act without delay.

If all those pre-requisites are met, then the option can be given. The implication is that if not, the option can't be given - in which case we are back to 22.7(a). I see no justification for saying that if the pre-requisites are not met, then law 22.5 [and by extrension 22.7(a)] is rescinded. As mentioned, if you feel it IS recinded, then what is the sanction for grounding the ball in such circumstances? And on what grounds is that sanction justified?
 

OB..


Referees in England
Staff member
Joined
Oct 7, 2004
Messages
22,981
Post Likes
1,838
Sorry about the typo folks - as you worked out, I meant centre of in goal not his 22!

What was going through my mind was he has two choices under 13.15 - 1. ground it or make it dead or 2. play on.

IF he grounds it (within the referees view of "without delay") he could have the option of 22 or scrum back. If he does not I dont read teh law as saying he can touch down but looses an option he would have had if he had faster. So I can't see how he can have just the 22 - he MUST play on.

I accept that others may not have been as lenient as I was, but I think SimonSmith and Dixie that if you decide he has taken too long you have to yell "play on" and watch him try to get out of the mess he has put himself in!!
There is no reason why he should not ground the ball after picking it up and running around with it for a while (I have seen that done to chew up time). The attacking team put the ball into in-goal, so it is then a 22 drop out. "Play on" simply means the referee does not blow his whistle at that point.
 

SimonSmith


Referees in Australia
Staff member
Joined
Jan 27, 2004
Messages
9,397
Post Likes
1,510
What Dixie said.

They have to touch down immediately in order to get the scrum back option.

He picks the ball up, or leaves it there - that's the decision to play on. It's been made either actively, or passively by not acting.

He then touches down. The ball has now been made dead and normal in-goal law applies.
 

Davet

Referee Advisor / Assessor
Joined
Jan 27, 2004
Messages
12,731
Post Likes
4
Having opted to play on, he can then decide to touch down, which would lead to a 22DO.

He loses the scrum back option, but that is all.
 

Accylad


Referees in England
Joined
Jun 21, 2011
Messages
179
Post Likes
33
What you are saying makes no sense to me folks.

So, the law says that I must ground the ball without delay to have two options. We all agree that if you don’t act without delay one of those options (a scrum back) is lost. However, an argument is being advanced that the other option remains almost indefinitely and a player can run up and down for a while deciding what to do and then take advantage of one of the two options but has lost the other.

Law 13.15 is clear and self-contained, it was presumably put in the book to deal with a specific circumstance – what should happen if a ball goes into in goal from a drop out, and it covers all eventualities. I see no need to go looking for clarification in law 22.
What is being advanced is an interpretation that the playing into in goal by the attackers (the team dropping out) should be in line with 22.7 (a) where the words “without delay” do not appear. That is why it is permissible for a player to run up and down for a while using up time as OB comments before touching down.

Law 22.7 goes on in (c) to deal with another exception to the general situation – a kick off going into in goal where, once again the words “without delay” appear. Once again I believe that this means that if you act without delay you can choose one of two options but if you do delay you must play on – and I believe that means you have to start to play the game; running or kicking out of in goal.

It would have been very straightforward to write the law in accordance with the interpretation being put on 13.15 – if you touch down without delay you can opt for the scrum back but you retain the option of kick again until the ball is touched down at any time.
 

OB..


Referees in England
Staff member
Joined
Oct 7, 2004
Messages
22,981
Post Likes
1,838
"Play on" in Law 13.15 merely means that play should continue under whatever other laws of the game are appropriate, and that Law 13.15 is no longer involved.

Your belief that "play on" means the player must attempt to run out into the field of play has no basis, and has never been the case.
 

ChrisR

Player or Coach
Joined
Jul 14, 2010
Messages
3,231
Post Likes
356
Current Referee grade:
Select Grade
The laws read "without delay", not "immediately".

A player assessing his options is acting without delay. He's thinking, not delaying.

I know this is a grey area but give the guy a few secs to see what his choices are.
 
Top