How long to touch down...?

Dixie


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There's no difference between 13.15 and 22.7 - both say exactly the same thing, in a slightly different way.
 

OB..


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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.
Before 1992 it became the practice to kick-off into in-goal or over the dead ball line so as to force the opponents to give you the ball back via a 22 drop out. To stop this negative play, the law was changed to give the defending team the right to make the ball dead and have a scrum back at the centre.

There was no "without delay" requirement, so it was normal for a defender to pick the ball up, assess his options, and then decide. In 2000 the laws were re-written and in came the requirement to act "without delay". Players had to unlearn the habit of picking the ball up first, and there were questions about delay.

Specifying "any other action with the ball" was taken by many to mean you could stand over the ball as long as you liked, but had to be clear if you were grounding it or picking it up as soon as you touched it. Others felt standing over the ball was delaying. I'm not sure this was ever properly resolved, since players try to avoid the situation and it does not occur very often. Indeed the commonest reaction is to ground the ball straightaway and get the scrum.

In 2002 the same conditions were attached to a drop out – with the same problems, though it is even clearer that playing on is only sensible if time has essentially expired and you desperately need a score.
 

Accylad


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I think we may be "arguing" over two different drop outs.

My view is that you can't loose the scrum back option but take the drop out again option ie by the same team that kicked it into in goal and that is the drop out I was banging on about being illogical to allow. I suspect that everyone but me is talking about letting the team to whom the long drop out is kicked, touch down and then drop out from their own 22. If I am right, I assume that all would agree that by dithering you loose BOTH scrum back and take drop out again option.

Taking "play on" to mean the team can run around with the ball for a while and then dot down and then take a drop out themselves seems a little odd but I can accept that as reasonable if not crystal clear from the Law book as "play on" is not defined.

Thanks for the clarification.
 

OB..


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I think we may be "arguing" over two different drop outs.

My view is that you can't loose the scrum back option but take the drop out again option ie by the same team that kicked it into in goal and that is the drop out I was banging on about being illogical to allow. I suspect that everyone but me is talking about letting the team to whom the long drop out is kicked, touch down and then drop out from their own 22. If I am right, I assume that all would agree that by dithering you loose BOTH scrum back and take drop out again option.
Your version had certainly never occurred to me. Glad we have it sorted.

Taking "play on" to mean the team can run around with the ball for a while and then dot down and then take a drop out themselves seems a little odd but I can accept that as reasonable if not crystal clear from the Law book as "play on" is not defined.

Thanks for the clarification.
Don't you ever use it when refereeing? I hear it quite often when players seem to think there might have been an infringement. "Ball went backwards. Play on."

Interestingly the phrase only occurs in two contexts in the law book. One we have been discussing, and the other refers to a surface "safe to play on".
 

Accylad


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Oh yeah OB I shout "play on" a lot (you will have heard me doing it!). Its just that in the context of a ball being picked up in goal I never thought of the "runaround for a while and then put the ball back down again" as being a valid "play on" because (to return to where this began) the law says you must touch down without delay and so by delaying I concluded you lost the opportunity to touch down and with it the options that arise.
 

Bocephus


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Question: What if a team takes a 22 meter drop, and it sails over the defenders and comes to rest in in-goal. The defenders take several seconds to run to the ball and touch it down. Does this count as immediate, and would therefore a scrum-back would be allowed?
 

Dickie E


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Question: What if a team takes a 22 meter drop, and it sails over the defenders and comes to rest in in-goal. The defenders take several seconds to run to the ball and touch it down. Does this count as immediate, and would therefore a scrum-back would be allowed?

(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.


Law actually says "without delay" so I would be OK offering options after the defending team runs back to ground.

Of curious note is that only kick-offs & drop-outs are covered by Law 22. However, Law 13.9 covers.
 

didds

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I think the only sensible approach is "what do they do when they get there". Otherwise you are starting to have to make calls on effort made to get there... a 2nd row running back will be slower than a winger etc. And if the defenders choose to amble and the attackers sprint then the game provides an in built penalty ;-)

didds
 

Taff


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I think the only sensible approach is "what do they do when they get there". Otherwise you are starting to have to make calls on effort made to get there... a 2nd row running back will be slower than a winger etc. And if the defenders choose to amble and the attackers sprint then the game provides an in built penalty ;-)idds
I'm not so sure Didds. I think the sensible approach is "Did he waste any time making it dead?"

Eg if the FB just strolled back into in-goal (forcing the oppos to run up and waste everyones time, because you know he will get to the ball before the oppos if he puts his mind to it) but dabbed it down as soon as he got there, I'd be tempted to say there had been "delay".
 
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Dickie E


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I'm not so sure Didds. I think the sensible approach is "Did he waste any time making it dead?"

Eg if the FB just strolled back into in-goal (forcing the oppos to run up and waste everyones time, because you know he will get to the ball before the oppos if he puts his mind to it) but dabbed it down as soon as he got there, I'd be tempted to say there had been "delay".

That's a tough call.
 

Taff


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That's a tough call.
I take your point and perhaps I didn't explain well enough what I was thinking, but I reckon you will know if the defender was delaying it.

If you find yourself thinking "What the hell's he doing? Get on with it man" I would think he's probably "delaying"
 
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Robert Burns

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I'm with didds, the without delay is from when he is in a position to touch the ball down, not how long he took to get to that position.
 

OB..


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I'm with didds, the without delay is from when he is in a position to touch the ball down, not how long he took to get to that position.
Agreed.

The kicking team chose to put the ball in that position. If they want to capitalise on it, then they need to chase. If they can't be bothered, why should the defenders have to hurry?
 

Taff


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I'm with didds, the without delay is from when he is in a position to touch the ball down, not how long he took to get to that position.
But would you be happy if he delayed getting "in a position to touch the ball down"?


Agreed. The kicking team chose to put the ball in that position. If they want to capitalise on it, then they need to chase. If they can't be bothered, why should the defenders have to hurry?
I was referring to a defender taking his time to get in-goal and to the ball, not the attackers. I can't see the difference between
  • a player hovering over a ball in-goal while the opposition are made to run for half a pitch and
  • a player slowly walking to a ball in-goal and making the opposition run for half a pitch.

Look at it the other way; if the defenders can't be bothered to trot back (nobody's asking them to sprint) and make the ball dead, why should referees give them the benefit of the option? 13.9 just mentions "without delay". If they want the kick again / scrum option - then please get on with it.

13.9 BALL GOES INTO THE IN-GOAL
(a) If the ball is kicked into the in-goal without having touched or been touched by a player, the opposing team has three choices: To ground the ball, or To make it dead, or To play on.

(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.
 
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Robert Burns

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But would you be happy if he delayed getting "in a position to touch the ball down"?


I was referring to a defender taking his time to get in-goal and to the ball, not the attackers. I can't see the difference between
  • a player hovering over a ball in-goal while the opposition are made to run for half a pitch and
  • a player slowly walking to a ball in-goal and making the opposition run for half a pitch.
Look at it the other way; if the defenders can't be bothered to trot back (nobody's asking them to sprint) and make the ball dead, why should referees give them the benefit of the option? 13.9 just mentions "without delay". If they want the kick again / scrum option - then please get on with it.

13.9 BALL GOES INTO THE IN-GOAL
(a) If the ball is kicked into the in-goal without having touched or been touched by a player, the opposing team has three choices: To ground the ball, or To make it dead, or To play on.

(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.

Yes, I would be happy, I believe the DO part is referring to the action of making the ball dead. Why should the defender have to run fast to make the ball dead if no one is chasing it? Seems illogical to me. They'll move faster if the attackers attack.

Consider this, 2 defenders back, one attacker chasing, both start to run for the ball, both stop thinking the other has got it, one then restarts running for the ball and grounds it as soon as they are within grounding distance, are you going to deny the scrum back option because of that? I wouldn't.
 

ChrisR

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And another similar scenario ...

Two defenders chasing back with one chaser from the kicking team coming on but still some distance away. One defender gets to the ball and the other defender splits wide. If the defending team has reason to run it out then the defender at the ball is going to wait to read the action of the chaser before playing the ball. If the chaser positions himself well so that he can cover both defenders then the first defender will ground the ball and take the scrum.

Are you going to penalize the first defender for not "acting without delay"?
 

OB..


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And another similar scenario ...

Two defenders chasing back with one chaser from the kicking team coming on but still some distance away. One defender gets to the ball and the other defender splits wide. If the defending team has reason to run it out then the defender at the ball is going to wait to read the action of the chaser before playing the ball. If the chaser positions himself well so that he can cover both defenders then the first defender will ground the ball and take the scrum.

Are you going to penalize the first defender for not "acting without delay"?
Yes..
 

Taff


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.... Why should the defender have to run fast to make the ball dead if no one is chasing it?
I'm not suggesting he "runs fast" but I would like to see him making some effort to get there and either play on or make it dead. A gentle jog wo Why? Because 29 other players, 1 Ref and 2 TJs are standing in the cold and rain hoping to see some rugby. :biggrin: If he thinks he can run the clock down or play smart arse while everyone else is hanging about with impunity, he'd better think again.

... Consider this, 2 defenders back, one attacker chasing, both start to run for the ball, both stop thinking the other has got it, one then restarts running for the ball and grounds it as soon as they are within grounding distance, are you going to deny the scrum back option because of that? I wouldn't.
In that case, I wouldn't either as it was a genuine misunderstanding.

I think you will know which one you're dealing with, when you see it.
 
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