View Full Version : Q. 71 - ball hits ref in-goal
Scenario: Gold wins scrum on their 5m line. Gold #8 attempts to pass the ball back to Gold #14, deep in-goal, but the ball strikes the ref in the chest. Ref was standing 3m inside Gold's in-goal area. Ball rolls forward into the arms of Blue #1, who grounds the ball in-goal. What do you do? Options are:
a) Award a try where Blue #1 grounded the ball
b) Touchdown to Gold where ball hit ref; restart with 22m drop-out
c) Touchdown to gold where ball hit ref; restart with 5m scrum to Blue
d) Restart with 5m scrum to Gold.
Intended answer is c), by virtue of Law 6.A.10d, which gives this answer where the ball hits ref while in possession of a defending player. The question therefore arises whether a ball in mid-flight during a pass can be said to be in the possession of one side or another? I had assumed that for a defending player to be in possession of the ball, he had to have hold or it. I opted for option d) based on the Laws governing the field of play, as it seemed to me that Blue had obtained an advantage from the ball striking the ref. There appears to be a gap in the laws here, though. Ther must be situations where neither side is in possession, but the Law doesn't cover it. For example, Gold #15 kicks 1m out from his goal line, the kick is charged down by Blue #14 - the only chasing player. Ball is moving so fast it will go beyond the dead-ball line, adn anyway Blue #14 is knocked unconscious by the kick - no other Blue player within 30m. Ball hits ref in-goal. Outcome?
In my opinion, the ball is in the posession of whoever actually has the ball or last played it. So in this instance gold as it was one of their players who last had the ball and played it by passing it.
Although I agree that the law is a little unfair and I think it should really be a scrum to gold, a little unfair on them I'd say.
5m Scrum Gold
5m Scrum Gold
Simon, I assume that's your answer to the made-up scenario at the end of my post. Can we therefore assume that you took the view that the ball was in the possession of the unconscious blue winger when it hit you?
If this is correct, could the winger be tackled as being in possession of the ball?
I would say that a team can be in posession without a specific player being in posession.
No Dixie agreeing with scenario 1 for same reasons you gave - Blue advantedge accrued, go back anbd strart again with Gold scrum 5m
Second scenario :
For example, Gold #15 kicks 1m out from his goal line, the kick is charged down by Blue #14 - the only chasing player.
Ball put into in-goal by Blue
Blue#14 is knocked unconscious by the kick
(if youth match immediate whistle)
- no other Blue player within 30m.
Ball hits ref in-goal.
22 drop out Gold
From the Definitions
Possession: This happens when a player is carrying the ball or a team has the ball in its control; for example, the ball in one half of a scrum or ruck is in that team’s possession.
Since Gold was passing the ball, the ball was still in Gold’s possession.
More generally, one side must be deemed to be in possession. A team can only gain possession by taking control of the ball. Having it bounce off you does not count.
6.A.10 THE BALL TOUCHING THE REFEREE
(a) If the ball or the ball-carrier touches the referee and neither team gains an advantage, play continues.
(b) If either team gains an advantage in the field of play, the referee orders a scrum and the team that last played the ball has the throw-in.
(c) If either team gains an advantage in in-goal, if the ball is in possession of an attacking player the referee awards a try where the contact took place.
(d) If either team gains an advantage in in-goal, if the ball is in possession of a defending player, the referee awards a touch down where the contact took place.
Where did the advantage accrue? Presumably where the referee was standing since that is where he affected play. In the original scenario, that was in in-goal. Therefore (c) or (d) applies.
The ball is certainly not in Blue’s possession until it is played for the non-allowable advantage, so must be in Gold’s possession. Therefore 6.A.10 (d) applies: touch down, and 5m scrum to Blue because Gold put the ball into in-goal.
In the second scenario, I would argue that Blue does not gain possession by the charge-down, but is nonetheless responsible for the ball going into in-goal. Gold can take their time to touch the ball down for a 22 drop out.
From the Definitions
Possession: This happens when a player is carrying the ball or a team has the ball in its control; for example, the ball in one half of a scrum or ruck is in that teamís possession.
Since Gold was passing the ball, the ball was still in Goldís possession.
OB - That seems reasonable (though not beyond debate). However, the definition seems to cover the two separate possibilities of player possession adn team possession. For a player to be in possession, he must be carrying the ball.
6.A.10c and 10d are both couched in terms of the player being in possession - not the team. Per the definition, this at least implies (and arguably specifies) that a player should be carrying it when it touches the ref. In the light of this, I remain of the view that there is a gap in the law - to whit the situation in which a team is in possession of the ball but a player is not when it hits the ref.
A remedy would be to change the law so that it read:
(c) If either team gains an advantage in in-goal, if the ball is in possession of the attacking team the referee awards a try where the contact took place.
(d) If either team gains an advantage in in-goal, if the ball is in possession of the defending team, the referee awards a touch down where the contact took place.
The referee has to decide who had possession. He cannot say "nobody did". In real terms, I stand by my version because it gives a sensible answer.
But yes, the law could be better written. Which one couldn't?
We may be in danger of making the scenario more complicated than that for which I believe 6A (10) c. and d. were probably designed to cater with. My understanding of this law has always been that it deals with the situation where the ball carrier inadvertently runs into the referee. Thus the ball is made dead in a manner according to whichever team is in possession. So instead of getting a better positioned try, it is awarded where the referee is standing. Similarly, where a defender might have got the ball away to touch, by the ball carrier contacting the referee it will be a 5 metre scrum or a 22 drop out depending on which team took it into the in goal area.
In the scenario painted originally then 6A (10) a. should be applied and equity would demand a reset of the previous scrum.
Deeps - 6.A.10 (a) says "play continues", so you cannot go back for the scrum re-set.
The ball was going towards a defender poised to kick. It was deflected into the path of an attacker who "scored" a try. That seems to me to be a pretty big advantage.
It was late, I was tired, I probably meant (b) but, interestingly, (b) gives the put in to the team in possession. So, (blinding light) it is not a reset of the previous scrum (no reason why it should be but for perceived equity) but one stage on. The inference therefore is that the referee interfered with play rather than the team in possession making an error by running/passing/kicking the ball into him.
Of course (b) deals with any scenario, not necessarily originating at a 5m scrum.
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