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OB..
14-03-08, 22:03
In the early 19th century, when the ball crossed the sideline it became the property of the first player to touch it down hence the name Touch.

He brought it back to return it to play at a point level with where he touched it down (not necessarily the point where it first crossed the line).

Apparently this early procedure caused no problems, since the Rules of 1845 and 1846 do not mention it, and the 1846 preamble says:
"The following book of Rules is to be regarded rather as a set of Decisions on certain disputed points in Football, than as containing all the Laws of the Game, which are too well known to render any explanation necessary to Rugbeians."

The procedure did appear in the 1866 Rules. with a slight modificaion:
"When the ball goes outside the line of touch, except it pitch within 25 yds. of the kicker's goal, (in which case it must be brought out in a straight line from wherever it is first touched down,) the first player who touches it down, takes it up and brings it up to the touch-line in a straight line from where it pitched, ."

When the RFU drew up its first set of laws in 1871, this situation had changed to something more modern:
"31. Touch (see plan) If the ball goes into touch the first player on his side who touches it down must bring it to the spot where it crossed the touchline, or if a player when running with the ball cross or put any part of either foot across the touch-line, he must return with the ball to the spot where the line the was so crossed, and from thence return it into play as follows." [The history of the lineout is quite separate, and far more convoluted.]

In 1885 some refinements were added:
"The ball is in touch if it crosses the touchline and is then blown back.
A player may be in touch and play the ball provided it is not in touch.
A player may be in touch and score a try provided the ball was not in touch or touch in goal."
The second and third are part of modern law.

The right to throw "out of touch" was slightly modified in 1892:
"The ball is in touch when it or a player carrying it, touch or cross the touchline; it shall then belong to the side opposite to that last touching it in the field of play, except when carried in."
You no longer had to run to touch it down, but the old rule was still followed in allowing a player who carried it in to retain possession.

In 1910 "except when carried" became "except when a player carrying the ball is forced into touch by an opponent." something older players will remember well.

There was a re-write of the laws in 1926. Royds notes in his History of the Laws, "under the existing law, if a player carrying the ball swung a leg or arm over the touchline, he was in touch." Only the Touch Judge could see this clearly, and since they were rarely appointed neutrals, this caused controversy, so the law became:
"The ball is in touch: -
(a) when, not being in the possession of a player, it touches or crosses a touchline;
(b) when a player in possession of the ball touches a touchline or the ground beyond it."

In 1938 it was ruled that a player in touch could use hands or feet to stop the ball in play, provided he did not hold it. This was written into the laws in 1954.

In 1964 they dropped the provision that a player who was forced out would retain possession.

In 1970 another modern exception arrived:
"The ball is in touch -
When it is not being carried by a player and it touches or crosses a touchline, or
When it is being carried by a player and it or a player carrying it touches a touchline or the ground beyond it.
Except: if a player in the field of play catches the ball immediately after it has crossed the touchline, it is not in touch provided the player does not go into touch"

In 1978 they dropped the law that the ball was in touch if it crossed the touchline but was blown back in. Since it did not touch anything, it was now still in play.

1979 introduced jumping:
"If a player jumps and catches the ball, his feet must land in the playing area."

The 2000 re-write added two more provisions:
"The ball is in touch if a player catches the ball and the player has a foot on the touch-line or the ground beyond the touch-line.
If a player has one foot in the field of play and one foot in touch and holds the ball, the ball is in touch"
These were intended to make it clear that the player who caught the ball was NOT responsible for it being in touch, though it required some further explaining before this reading was fully accepted world wide.
This also provided the first formal defintion of "plane of touch".

This gives us the following dates for the origins of parts of current law:-
1) The ball is in touch when it is not being carried by a player and it
touches the touchline or anything or anyone on or beyond the
touchline. [The original concept]

2) The ball is in touch when a player is carrying it and the ball carrier (or
the ball) touches the touchline or the ground beyond the touchline.
The place where the ball carrier (or the ball) touched or crossed the
touchline is where it went into touch. [1871 but probably the case earlier]

3) The ball is in touch if a player catches the ball and that player has a
foot on the touchline or the ground beyond the touchline.[first covered in 1938]

4) If a player has one foot in the field of play and one foot in touch and
holds the ball, the ball is in touch.[first covered in 1938]

5) If the ball crosses the touchline or touch-in-goal line, and is caught by
a player who has both feet in the playing area, the ball is not in touch
or touch-in-goal. Such a player may knock the ball into the playing
area.[1970]

6) If a player jumps and catches the ball, both feet must land in the
playing area otherwise the ball is in touch or touch-in-goal.[1979]

7) A player in touch may kick or knock the ball, but not hold it, provided
it has not crossed the plane of the touchline. [first covered in 1938] The plane of the touchline is the vertical space rising immediately above the touchline.[used 1986, defined 2000]

chopper15
15-03-08, 00:03
Sorry I repeated it!

chopper15
15-03-08, 00:03
The 2000 re-write added two more provisions:

"The ball is in touch if a player catches the ball and the player has a foot on the touch-line or the ground beyond the touch-line.
If a player has one foot in the field of play and one foot in touch and holds the ball, the ball is in touch"

These were intended to make it clear that the player who caught the ball was NOT responsible for it being in touch, though it required some further explaining before this reading was fully accepted world wide.
This also provided the first formal defintion of "plane of touch".




I can well understand why 'further explaining' was required, OB, but why did they want to involve that 2nd sentence which is self explanatory?

In that instance, there being no reference to 'a catch', he IS responsible!


And, of course, I can go on and on discussing the 'literal' meaning of this lot; not, I hasten to add, the refs' interpretation which in the main I understand and accept but it is shamefully not in writing!

oxped
16-03-08, 14:03
Just watching the Worcs v Leeds game, where a Leeds player caught the ball with one foot in touch. All the players knew they were going back for a scrum (it was a restart), but the TJ put his flag up for the lineout to Worcs! A quick word with the Ref, and back for the scrum they went, with the TJ probably feeling a little silly!

OB..
16-03-08, 16:03
why did they want to involve that 2nd sentence which is self explanatory?

In that instance, there being no reference to 'a catch', he IS responsible!
I cannot explain the rationale behind the wording, which I don't like. However the effect of the first provision was that the player catching the ball was NOT deemed to have taken it into touch. In the second case, holding the ball covers picking up the ball. This has now been subdivided by a Ruling (which does not appear in the laws - yet) distinguishing a rolling ball from a stationary one.



And, of course, I can go on and on discussing the 'literal' meaning of this lot; not, I hasten to add, the refs' interpretation which in the main I understand and accept but it is shamefully not in writing!
You must always look at the laws in their proper context. Starting in vacuo and trying to determine the meaning is unhelpful.

chopper15
16-03-08, 22:03
But OB, surely I did relate to evidence and context?

It was the previous sentence!

OB..
17-03-08, 01:03
chopper15 - as so often, I have no idea what point you are trying to make.

Robert Burns
17-03-08, 01:03
That was very interesting I thought!

Thanks OB..