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Emmet Murphy
22-03-08, 20:03
I had an interesting scenario come up in a recent Sevens tournament I refereeed. Cup Semi-final; two even teams - greens v reds. Greens are leading by one point and time has expired - the next time the ball goes dead the match is over. Reds are attacking and kick the ball ahead - the ball goes in green's in-goal area, about 1m from the touch-in-goal line. Three players run back towards the ball - two attackers and one defender. All three of them dive towards the ball. As they converge together, I can see a hand come out and intentionally palm the ball into touch in goal but I cannot be sure which player did it as all three of them are practically on top of each other.

My question is - what decision would you have given here and why?

I signalled for a 22m and then blew for full-time as even though a penalty offence had been committed I felt I could not penalise either team because I didn't know which team's player had committed the offence. I did think afterwards that it probably was the defender simply because either of the attackers would have grounded the ball but - if I was to penalise the defender - it would have to have been a Penalty Try and, as it was the last play, that decision would have lost them the game. I felt I couldn't make that decision based on a hunch.

22-03-08, 20:03
What a pity the arm attached to the hand did not have a sleeve showing!

Was there an official TJ?

I find it very hard to believe that any attacker would deliberately knock the ball into touch. He would gain nothing, and it is hardly an instinctive reaction.

Emmet Murphy
22-03-08, 21:03
No sleeve was showing and I had no TJs unfortunately. I agree its highly unlikely an attacker would do it - but could I have gone under the posts based on that though?

Phil E
22-03-08, 21:03
I think you right, and so is OB, it makes no logical sense for an attacker to knock it into touch.

That said I dont believe I would want to award a penalty try on an assumption. If you didnt see the ball grounded you couldnt give a try, by the same means you cant give the penalty, or the penalty try.

Personally, I think you did the right thing.