• Law Clarification Request - Law 12

    The rugbyrefs.com members seek clarification of Law 12 in relation to the ball being knocked on.

    The law defines a knock on:-

    A knock-on occurs when a player loses possession of the ball and it goes forward, or when a player hits the ball forward with the hand or arm, or when the ball hits the hand or arm and goes forward, and the ball touches the ground or another player before the original player can catch it.
    ‘Forward’ means towards the opposing team’s dead ball line.


    1, We believe that if a player carries out a drop kick it is accepted that the ball touching the ground is not a knock on, even if it travels forward & even though it would be classed as a knock on should the player then not kick the ball. Could this please be confirmed?

    2, If a player punts the ball forward, the ball will generally have been released forward before the kick takes place. This is not to be classed as a knock on, even though it would be classed as a knock on should the player then miss the kick. Could this please be confirmed?

    Considering the above answers we would like a clarification for:

    a) If a player accidentally loses control of the ball, and the ball travels forward, but the player manages to kick the ball forward with their foot deliberately before the ball touches the ground or any other player, is this a knock on?

    b) If a player accidentally loses control of the ball, and the ball travels forward, but the player manages to kick the ball forward with their foot accidentally before the ball touches the ground or any other player, is this a knock on?

    End of clarification request.
    Comments 12 Comments
    1. Dixie's Avatar
      Dixie -
      Fair enough. Is it aimed at anyone? It would be interesting to get an answer.
    1. Robert Burns's Avatar
      Robert Burns -
      It hope that someone will see it and think it's a good question and submit it for us.
    1. crossref's Avatar
      crossref -
      perhaps we could find a small and very poor union somewhere, and pay them to submit it for us.

      cash for clarifications

      We just to need to find a union in a small country with a culture of little interest in rugby, but much interest in opportunist money-making.

      Scotland?
    1. Dixie's Avatar
      Dixie -
      Quote Originally Posted by crossref View Post
      We just to need to find a union in a small country with a culture of little interest in rugby, but much interest in opportunist money-making.

      Scotland?
      England elite?
    1. beckett50's Avatar
      beckett50 -
      para b) say the same, or am I missing something? agree with the sentiments and hope it will be picked up.
    1. Robert Burns's Avatar
      Robert Burns -
      No, one is deliberately kicked, one is accidentally kicked.
    1. ChrisR's Avatar
      ChrisR -
      I think that trying to determine intent not reliable. Suggest eliminating 'deliberate' vs. 'accidental'.
    1. Robert Burns's Avatar
      Robert Burns -
      But that's the main issue. Is there a difference, we all want them to say no, but if it isn't clarified, it just leaves another question.
    1. ChrisR's Avatar
      ChrisR -
      And I would say rephrase:

      "If the ball leaves a players hands going forward but strikes a players foot or lower leg before striking the ground or another player then can it be considered a kick instead of a knock-on?"

      That eliminates the question of intent but still gets the question answered.
    1. OB..'s Avatar
      OB.. -
      Quote Originally Posted by Marauder View Post
      And I would say rephrase:

      "If the ball leaves a players hands going forward but strikes a players foot or lower leg before striking the ground or another player then can it be considered a kick instead of a knock-on?"

      That eliminates the question of intent but still gets the question answered.
      I think intent matters.

      If you intend to kick the ball having had it under control, then it should IMHO be legal to throw the ball forward for the kick even if you are prevented from kicking it.
      If you fail to control the ball and stick out a hopeful foot, I don't see why you should get away with incompetence.

      I would add a second Exception to the Definiton:
      "If the ball carrier drops the ball forward in order to effect a punt or drop kick, that is not an infringement of this law."

      Yes, there will be marginal cases, but that is the nature of refereeing already. Most will be fairly clear.
    1. crossref's Avatar
      crossref -
      Quote Originally Posted by OB.. View Post
      If you intend to kick the ball having had it under control, then it should IMHO be legal to throw the ball forward for the kick even if you are prevented from kicking it.
      that is the opposite of Robbie's view in (1) and (2) .

      Quote Originally Posted by OB.. View Post
      If you fail to control the ball and stick out a hopeful foot, I don't see why you should get away with incompetence.
      that's scenario (a)

      ----------
      FWIW I still think paragraphs (1) and (2) need to change as they are slightly chopperesque and answer their own questions.

      I'd drop (1) and (2) and replace them with (c) tso that you have this --


      a) If a player accidentally loses control of the ball, and the ball travels forward, but the player manages to kick the ball forward with their foot deliberately before the ball touches the ground or any other player, is this a knock on?

      b) If a player accidentally loses control of the ball, and the ball travels forward, but the player kicks the ball forward with their foot accidentally before the ball touches the ground or any other player, is this a knock on?

      c) If a player releases the ball forward with the inention of making a punt or a drop kick, but as he does so is legally tackled by an opponent and misses the kick, is this a knock on?


      (If think the scenario of a player attempting a drop kick or punt and missing the ball completely unhindered ( eg perhaps he slips) - is too trival to mention, surely everyone would give a knock on)
      (I have slughtly rephrased (b) - you said 'manages to kick it accidentally' whcih doesn't make senses 'manages to' implies he was trying, therefore it was deliberate.
    1. OB..'s Avatar
      OB.. -
      Quote Originally Posted by crossref View Post
      that is the opposite of Robbie's view in (1) and (2) .
      Yes. deliberately so.

      that's scenario (a)
      I was addressing the need for evaluating intent, not responding directly to the scenarios.