View Full Version : Knock on - or touch down?

15-06-05, 12:06
Refd a game of school last week...not very close on the score board....but the visiting side who were being absolutely thumped, put on a few shows of attacking brilliance at the end of the game...

In attack, they pushed toward the line, only for a forward to knock the ball on with 4 metres to go...the ball went to the in goal were a defender promptly grounded it....I was in automated mode and awarded a scrum 5 metres from the line, to the defending team as the knock on happened first....no questions were asked, but after the game I was wondering if I actually should have given the dropout to the defending team..

any suggestions?

15-06-05, 12:06
you were right, u play the first "infringement"

15-06-05, 12:06
No Will you are correct. play the first infringement first. This didn't always use to be the case I believe, many years ago you would have awarded a drop out but in today's laws you always play the first infringement.

15-06-05, 12:06
Quoting Law 22.7b:
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.

5m scrum it is.

15-06-05, 13:06
In Law you are correct but why didn't you play advantage ?

That would have given you the choice of both.


Simon Griffiths
15-06-05, 14:06
I'm sure we had a topic on this before, and I said that the Law is illogical - you can have an advantage but not for this :confused: . It goes out of its way to rule out any 'advantage' - very strange.

15-06-05, 14:06
Now wait a minute here. We are STILL playing advantage as the knock-on occurs. The defending team has the option to run it out of their own in-goal area if they like, after which point we as referees determine when advantage is over. Most, however, will choose to make the ball dead by a touch-down.

The rationale for the 5m scrum and NOT the 22m drop-out is that it was seen that the drop out was TOO much of an advantage. A knock-on implies that the attacking player was less than 5m from the line and very close to scoring, unlike a ball that is kicked into the in-goal, etc.

Yes, ok, a grubber kick into the in-goal from 5m out would result in a drop-out of the defending team grounds it, but then again I think the rationale was that ball in hand gives greater potential for scoring, hence allowing the defending team to boot it upfield from the 22m line was over-compensating.

Don't shoot the messenger.

16-06-05, 00:06
There wasn't much of an advantage to give...the bloke lost the ball forward, it flew to the in goal where a defender grounded it straight away....where was I to play advantage?

As soon as it happened I played the first infringement, which as I said I was in "auto"mode and I usually do....in the game we had a few breaks down the sideline, and about 3 times of knock ons were the ball went forward and into touch...I played a scrum every time, as we play the first infringement...

But when it happened in the in goal, I only thought about it afterwards, when the captain of the defending team asked me about the grounding and why didnt it count...my reply was that we would play the first infringement....believe me, I am well known for playing very long advantages!!! I am a firm believer in letting the players get on with playing the game!

16-06-05, 08:06
Hi Will

No problems, you say you where in automatic mode I do the same but with advantage if there is a knock on my arm automatically goes out and I shout advantage where ever the play is.

It is then upto you, if you accept the grounding or the scrum. If the defending team are getting thrashed in the scrums I would have given the 22 as that would be there advantage over when they grounded it. The may also have run out with the ball kicked it 70 yards up field.

Sometime by assesors I get told off for being in automatic advantage mode espically when I play advantage for a second offence has been know in one match , well not quite perfect yet!!!


16-06-05, 11:06
It is a general principle of law interpretation that the specific over-rides the general.
Law 22.7 (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.

That is very specific, and IMHO it means that the referee is not entitled to "play advantage" and award a 22.

This is not new. In 1979 a Note was added to the Knock-on law:
If an attacking player knocks on or throws forward in the field of play and the ball travels into In-goal - either directly or after having touched a defender who does not wilfully attempt to stop, catch or kick it, and it is there
(a) grounded by a player of either team, or
(b) goes into touch-in-goal or over the deadball line
a scrummage should be awarded at the place of the knock-on or throw-forward.
[the word "goes" in (b) is a little ungrammatical!]

16-06-05, 14:06
Hello OB

But doesn't the advantage law say :-

The law of advantage takes precedence over most other Laws and its purpose it to make play more continuous with fewer stippage for infringements. Players are encouraged to play to the whistle despite infringements by their opponents. etc.

Laws It does not apply to are

Referee contact

Ball out of tunnel

Wheeled scrum

Collapsed scrum

Player lifted in the air

Says nothing about knock on's in my book and in goal under law 8 exceptions.

Just another one that the players, coach etc can confront the referee about !


16-06-05, 17:06
its purpose it to make play more continuous with fewer stoppages for infringements. The so-called advantage approach makes no difference to the number of stoppages.

However, if you are unsure, do what I do: consult a real expert. My RRDO is quite used to it by now!

I am quietly confident that you will get the same answer from him, because that is what I have observed happening over the years at all levels.

Robert Burns
16-06-05, 18:06
The team going forward is making all the possitive play, by the fact they make a mistake and knock on the defenders ground and get a drop out, that is not positive play.

So they either kick out OR they run it out, if they go for the soft option then they must contest the scrum.

I'd like to put you in the scenario.

game is in last minute of play, score is 14 - 20 to red, blue is attacking, gets to the 5m line and knocks on. reds ground the ball in goal.

you award a drop out, you have now deprived blue of a try scoring opportunity, and have made (IMHO) as bad an error in the red zone as any player could make. As this is clearly a red zone offence, it must be plyed to the letter of the law. 5m Scrum to defence. whether they are getting run over in scrums or not.

That wrong decision could (almost certainly would) lose this team the game, you had time for a scrum (and we are not blowing early), blue could have won against the head and scored from.

Simon Griffiths
16-06-05, 21:06
That is very specific

I think OB's got the key point here. Whilst I can see where you're coming from David, in most of the Laws you quote, (from the book RE when advantage does not get played), the Law just gives what the course of action is (i.e. FK/PK etc.). In this instance, unlike every other Law in the book, it specifically tells us what the decision is. As I said (on the other thread - wherever its got to), I felt the same way - "why no advantage?".

Robert has a 'semi' valid point - I say semi because he does address my idea of running it the length of the pitch and then scoring - none the less...

16-06-05, 22:06
Hi Robert

What happens if the attacking side in your situation have a weak scrum and loose it and the defending team put ball up jumpers time. The defending team could have kicked the ball attacking team got the ball back and started over again.

The advantage law is not black and white, sometimes I don't think it is even grey!

As a player I think I would like the referee not to blow too early and give me the option of running or kicking, grounding is the easy option and I think I would award a scrum on the 5.

I know one of our locals teams have a couple of very very quick Figians they want advantage played in their in goal the captain tells me. I think they scored in the region of 20 trys this season from in their own 22!

Good discussion this learning all the time thanks guys


16-06-05, 23:06
Unless these were highly skilled teams. Advantage should not even enter the mind.

Robert Burns
16-06-05, 23:06
If they had a weak scrum they can't complain as they knocked it on, they have to concentrate on the after scrum play.

16-06-05, 23:06
The defending side has made the ball dead. If they don't, then of course they can go for advantage and perhaps run the length of the field; but if they do, they have chosen to turn down the advantage option, and the law prescribes what should happen next.

17-06-05, 10:06
In days of old, when men were bold... the law allowed a 22 m dropout as advantage for a defending touch down from an offending knock on but not now. In fact under 22.7 as now prescribed you would be incorrect to award a drop out and subject to an advisor's black mark on knowledge of law.

Yes, advantage is superior but it is limited here purposely by 22.7. In this instance, as well expounded above, the negative aspect of making the ball dead removes the opportunity for any defending advantage; it is effectively saying 'No thanks, we'll have a safer scrum rather than chance a high risk advantage'.