View Full Version : Team mates ahead of the kicker
Ok, guys, this might seem an easy one for you, but I have just realised I have never seen a ref penalise this: what happens if players run ahead of his team mate when he kicks for a penalty or a free kick?
Law 21.4 (h) clearly says it is not allowed, but it doesn't mention the penalty. I believe it should be a scrum to the opponents, because it can be related to the kick-off and drop-out laws, but I am not sure of it. What would you do?
Fabio - If you look at 21.(k) you will note that your understanding of law is correct. 'Penalty: Unless otherwise stated in Law any infringement by the kicker's team results in a scrum at the mark. The opposing team throw in the ball'
Perhaps the most common use, by me anyway, is for an incorrect kick e.g. when the ball is tapped without leaving the kicker's hands. Slightly different was a 'Cavalry charge' situation last Saturday where Law 10 required a penalty.
Why is that player not offside?
In general play a player is off-side if the player is in front of a team-mate who is carrying the ball, or in front of a team-mate who last played the ball.
You might perhaps judge it to be immaterial if the ball was obviously going straight into touch.
Why is that player not offside?]
With the exception of Law 10 'Flying Wedge' and 'Cavalry Charge' considerations, my reaction process tells me that any cock up by the kicking team is dealt with adequately by a scrum to the opposition. The penalty for an error at the kick is similar in my mind to that following a defensively grounded ball from an attacking knock on over the goal line; a scrum is appropriate and sufficient.
Potentially there is a lot going on there with retiring players on both sides, the kicker keen to go, the opposition 10 metre line in disarray. I brief that I will not allow kicks to be taken behind my back yet otherwise will facilitate quickly taken kicks as far as possible. In all equity, when there is a minor error by the kicking team in the hubbub of a quickly taken kick, a scrum is probably sufficient a penalty unless the offence is so blatant, visible and unequivocal that a high probability of concurrence from both sides is likely.
Since Fabio specifically said "players run ahead of his team mate", I take it we are not dealing with the confusion of retiring players, but with players who start in front of the kicker and run forward. Surely they are offside, and should be dealt with accordingly?
I think Deeps is correct in his judgement and that the players in front of the kicker at a PK/FK, just at a kick off, should be penalised by a scrum to the opposition at the mark of the PK/FK.
You are correct in the interpretation of what I wrote, OB. I meant the situation when players actively run forward. When players didn't have time to retire, I would probably never penalise them, unless they don't even try to retire. That was my doubt.
I think OB has summed up correctly as usual. This probably comes within the scope of a 'blatant and unequivocal offence'.
Of course if the level of game is such that you think complete ignorance or incompetence caused the problem then you might be generous in explaining the problem, telling the offender not to be silly and sticking with the scrum. In other words showing empathy with the level of game and being informative and helpful in your management without blowing silly people off the park.
If the penalty taker is aiming for goal or touch, i would award the relevant decision (PG or 22 or line out) and then sidle up to the player who ran ahead and explain "next time, you will cost your team 3 pts/ scrum - be careful".
If it is a tap and go/ up and under, then i would award an immediate penalty from where the player started running ahead.
Think about what you would do if a player is in front of the kicker at a 22m dropout or at the kick off. Law 21.4 (k) has it I believe.
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