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  • George North's Dead Ball Line Try - Legal or Not?

    When the Scarlets met the Ospreys last week there was a try which was scored by George North that had a few debates in the supporters & referee forums.



    As the ball is put into the in goal both Tom Isaacs and George North fail to ground the ball (though there is a knock on by Tom Isaacs as the ball goes forward off him onto George North), the ball then goes backwards off George North onto the ground and both players slide over the dead ball line. George North is then the first player to ground the ball, but does so whilst he is over the dead ball line. Is this legal? The simple answer from all referees would be yes because of this law:

    Law 22.4(g) Player in touch or touch-in-goal.
    If an attacking player is in touch or in touch-in-goal, the player can score a try by grounding the ball in the opponents’ in-goal provided the player is not carrying the ball.


    But hang on, George North wasn't touch in Goal, he was over the dead ball line. Does this make a difference?

    The answer is No, the law isn't clear here on if the Dead Ball line is counted as Touch-in-Goal, or if a different outcome should apply, so referees will consistently treat the two as the same, until the IRB either clarify their interpretation is correct, or make it clear what another outcome should be.

    The biggest complaint of referees is a lack of consistency, well not here.
    Comments 24 Comments
    1. Not Kurt Weaver's Avatar
      Not Kurt Weaver -
      But hang on, George North wasn't touch in Goal, he was over the dead ball line. Does this make a difference? Yes it makes a difference it isn't specifically covered in the law quoted above.The answer is No, the law isn't clear here on if the Dead Ball line is counted as Touch-in-Goal, or if a different outcome should apply, so referees will consistently treat the two as the same, until the IRB either clarify their interpretation is correct, or make it clear what another outcome should be.

      Here is a different outcome and it is specific (unfortunately)
      22.11 BALL DEAD IN IN-GOAL
      (a) When the ball touches the touch-in-goal line or the dead ball line, or touches anything or anyone beyond those lines, the ball becomes dead. If the ball was played into in-goal by the attacking team, a drop-out shall be awarded to the defending team. If the ball was played into in-goal by the defending team, a 5-metre scrum shall be awarded and the attacking team throws in the ball.

      (b) When a player carrying the ball touches the touch-in-goal line, the dead ball line, or touches the ground beyond those lines, the ball becomes dead. If the ball was carried into in-goal by the attacking team, a drop-out shall be awarded to the defending team. If the ball was carried into in-goal by the defending team, a 5-metre scrum shall be awarded and the attacking team throws in the ball

      No where in the lawbook does the area beyond the DBL share the same name as touch in goal. The picture of THE PLAN in Law 1 also does not specify the areas name. So do we award trys based on what everyone is doing or based on law. Excuse me I'm going to jump off the bridge now, it is my turn.
    1. Dickie E's Avatar
      Dickie E -
      There was a case recently where a similar incident occurred but differed because the ball was in the air as the George North equivalent placed his hand on the ball and guided it down to the ground. I think it was disallowed as the player was deemed to be in possession of the ball.
    1. crossref's Avatar
      crossref -
      Quote Originally Posted by Not Kurt Weaver View Post
      But hang on, George North wasn't touch in Goal, he was over the dead ball line. Does this make a difference? Yes it makes a difference it isn't specifically covered in the law quoted above.The answer is No, the law isn't clear here on if the Dead Ball line is counted as Touch-in-Goal, or if a different outcome should apply, so referees will consistently treat the two as the same, until the IRB either clarify their interpretation is correct, or make it clear what another outcome should be.

      Here is a different outcome and it is specific (unfortunately)
      22.11 BALL DEAD IN IN-GOAL
      (a) When the ball touches the touch-in-goal line or the dead ball line, or touches anything or anyone beyond those lines, the ball becomes dead. If the ball was played into in-goal by the attacking team, a drop-out shall be awarded to the defending team. If the ball was played into in-goal by the defending team, a 5-metre scrum shall be awarded and the attacking team throws in the ball.

      (b) When a player carrying the ball touches the touch-in-goal line, the dead ball line, or touches the ground beyond those lines, the ball becomes dead. If the ball was carried into in-goal by the attacking team, a drop-out shall be awarded to the defending team. If the ball was carried into in-goal by the defending team, a 5-metre scrum shall be awarded and the attacking team throws in the ball

      No where in the lawbook does the area beyond the DBL share the same name as touch in goal. The picture of THE PLAN in Law 1 also does not specify the areas name. So do we award trys based on what everyone is doing or based on law. Excuse me I'm going to jump off the bridge now, it is my turn.
      that's a very good response.
      I think you are correct.
    1. Dickie E's Avatar
      Dickie E -
      Quote Originally Posted by crossref View Post
      that's a very good response.
      I think you are correct.
      There are a number of similar issues in the law book. Eg Kickoff and restarts aren't treated the same in law but we view that as an oversight. I'd suggest the same with deadball line and TIG
    1. Ian_Cook's Avatar
      Ian_Cook -
      I disagree with the suggestions that the law treats beyond the dead ball line and touch-in-goal differently.

      Both 22.11 (a) and (b) treat them as the same, i.e. a ball touching either of the sets of lines is dead, and the game is (subject to other circumstances) restarted in the same way.

      I cannot think of any scenario where a ball, or a player carrying the ball, touching or going beyond the dead ball line would result in a different outcome from a ball , or a player carrying the ball, touching or going beyond the touch-in-goal line.

      Nowhere in the lawbook does the area beyond the DBL share the same name as touch in goal.
      Equally, nowhere in the Law book does it say they must be treated differently.

      IMO, this is a simple oversight by the Law drafters. As OB.. often says "referees have to make sense of the Laws". It makes much more logical sense to me to treat them as the same, than to treat them differently.
    1. Robert Burns's Avatar
      Robert Burns -
      the laws you have stated are the same as touch and touch in goal. The law isn't clear here, so we apply the same logic. it therefore makes the game consistent in the interpretation, and positive in it's outcomes.
    1. talbazar's Avatar
      talbazar -
      In the same line as Robbie, Ian, Dickie (and others), I've done a quick bit of painting on THE PLAN (not neat but graphical enough)...

      To me, the intent of the law is: everything beyond the goal line and out of the playing area is touch-in-goal (for the same reason an in-goal judge for a 7's game will raise his flag if the ball goes beyind the DBL).
      Furthermore, it raises questions which would apply if the interpretation was different: How would the law call the red corners?

      Attachment 2397

      Your thoughts?
      Pierre.
    1. MrQeu's Avatar
      MrQeu -
      I'm sorry to interrupt, but I'd ask Robert to be a bit more cautious with the article titles. In the forums, the title of the topic, as seen from the index forum's page is "Article: George North's Dead" which made me shiver until I realized it was about the try.
    1. Robert Burns's Avatar
      Robert Burns -
      Really? not quite the intent!
    1. Dixie's Avatar
      Dixie -
      Quote Originally Posted by Not Kurt Weaver View Post
      But hang on, George North wasn't touch in Goal, he was over the dead ball line. Does this make a difference? Yes it makes a difference it isn't specifically covered in the law quoted above....
      No where in the lawbook does the area beyond the DBL share the same name as touch in goal. The picture of THE PLAN in Law 1 also does not specify the areas name. So do we award trys based on what everyone is doing or based on law. Excuse me I'm going to jump off the bridge now, it is my turn.
      Quote Originally Posted by crossref View Post
      that's a very good response.
      I think you are correct.
      To those who advocate treating the DBL as NOT T-I-G, let me ask you what the referee is to do in the following circumstances, and justify your response from the law book.

      Blue left winger (Matt Banahan as it happens) rounds the last defender close to the touchline, and canters towards the posts, close to the DBL. The subs of his team, who had been warming up there, are standing just beyond the DBL, and are celebrating. One reaches over the plane of the DBL and offers his palm to MB for a High Five. Banahan obliges, thereby touching a player who is stood in the area behind the DBL.


      In addressing this question, I have found no law that says that a ball carrier in-goal who touches anything that is in T-I-G or beyond the dead ball line is himself now out of play, nor that the ball he is carrying is dead. This being the case, Law 22.12 is apparently redundant, and can safely be ditched:

      22.12 BALL OR PLAYER TOUCHING A FLAG OR FLAG (CORNER) POST
      If the ball or a player carrying the ball touches a flag or a flag (corner) post at the intersection of the touch-in-goal lines and the goal lines or at the intersection of the touch-in-goal lines and the dead ball lines without otherwise being in touch or touch-in-goal the ball is not out of play unless it is first grounded against a flag post.
    1. crossref's Avatar
      crossref -
      TBH at the time I would have given the try
      - it never occured to me that technically he was over the DBL, and not TIG
      - when I realised it (by reading here) I thought, well it's all the same, I'd still have given the try
      - NKW post seems to demonstrate (to me) that that technically it is different and perhaps technically it wasn't a try
      - but if the same thing happened in a match tomorrow -- you know what: I'd still give the try.
    1. Womble's Avatar
      Womble -
      Game knowledge, logic, hell even common sense would lead most peeps to award the try. Simples ...
    1. Not Kurt Weaver's Avatar
      Not Kurt Weaver -
      Quote Originally Posted by Dixie View Post
      To those who advocate treating the DBL as NOT T-I-G, let me ask you what the referee is to do in the following circumstances, and justify your response from the law book.

      Blue left winger (Matt Banahan as it happens) rounds the last defender close to the touchline, and canters towards the posts, close to the DBL. The subs of his team, who had been warming up there, are standing just beyond the DBL, and are celebrating. One reaches over the plane of the DBL and offers his palm to MB for a High Five. Banahan obliges, thereby touching a player who is stood in the area behind the DBL.


      [/LAWS]
      Award the try. I assume from the desrciption that he dotted it down. 22.11b allows this. He did nothing outside a law.
      Could be a bit unsporting, though
    1. Ian_Cook's Avatar
      Ian_Cook -
      You have to award the try!

      LAW 19 Definitions
      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 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.


      LAW 22.11 BALL DEAD IN IN-GOAL
      (a) When the ball touches the touch-in-goal line or the dead ball line, or touches anything or anyone beyond those lines, the ball becomes dead. If the ball was played into in-goal by the attacking team, a drop-out shall be awarded to the defending team. If the ball was played into in-goal by the defending team, a 5-metre scrum shall be awarded and the attacking team throws in the ball.

      (b) When a player carrying the ball touches the touch-in-goal line, the dead ball line, or touches the ground beyond those lines, the ball becomes dead. If the ball was carried into in-goal by the attacking team, a drop-out shall be awarded to the defending team. If the ball was carried into in-goal by the defending team, a 5-metre scrum shall be awarded and the attacking team throws in the ball.


      Its only when the ball itself touches someone or something beyond the touchline, touch-in-goal or dead ball line that the ball is out/dead

      A ball being carried by a player can only be out/dead if the player carrying it touches the touchline, touch-in-goal or dead ball line, or the ground beyond those lines.

      Touch, touch in-goal and beyond the DBL are treated the same throughout the laws with regard to when the ball is or is not dead.

      Why on Earth would it be different for one, and only one aspect.... when a player beyond the touchline grounds the ball in the in-goal
    1. TNT88's Avatar
      TNT88 -
      Good article, simple answer.
    1. Davet's Avatar
      Davet -
      We seem to be worrying a great deal over nothing.

      Firstly NKW seems to suggest that the effect of going TiG or over the DBL is different - it isn't, the two are treated absolutely identically; to all intents and purposes they are the same.

      However, that's almost not relevant, though for TiG below read "either TiG or over the DBL"

      If the ball is on the ground in in-goal then what happens first when a player beyond TiG or DBL places a firm downward pressure hand etc. on it? Is the ball now deemed TiG, or is it a touchdown/try.

      If its a touchdown then that is no different to the ball being TiG - so let's not fret about that.

      But the Law dose specifically allow a player who is beyond the TiG line to score a try by applying downward pressure on a ball on the ground - ie separating the two simultaneous events so that the try happens before the ball is TiG.

      However if the ball is NOT already on the ground then the first event that happens when a player who is TiG touches it is that it goes dead TiG.

      So - was the ball already on the ground at the precise time the player over TiG grounded it? If yes the award the TRY - in not then either 22DO or 5m scrum - depending on who put the ball in-goal in the first place.
    1. Sifakea39's Avatar
      Sifakea39 -
      If it was not for the knock on it would be a try normally. If you use the wall as a reference for where the attacking player touched the ball with his hands and where the ball pitched afterward.

      However, if there is no knock on in this situation, it would be a try since the attacker touched the ball down. Had either the attacker or defender picked up the ball while in TiG or DBL it would have been considered out and the next action depends on who lifted the ball in this situation.
    1. L'irlandais's Avatar
      L'irlandais -
      Quote Originally Posted by talbazar View Post
      In the same line as Robbie, Ian, Dickie (and others), I've done a quick bit of painting on THE PLAN (not neat but graphical enough)...

      To me, the intent of the law is: everything beyond the goal line and out of the playing area is touch-in-goal (for the same reason an in-goal judge for a 7's game will raise his flag if the ball goes beyind the DBL).
      Furthermore, it raises questions which would apply if the interpretation was different: How would the law call the red corners?

      Attachment 2397

      Your thoughts?
      Pierre.
      Hi Pierre,
      Simple, the first image is the only logical conclusion one can draw from the Lawbook as it stands.
      Otherwise a dashed line would need to be drawn at 45° to join up the corners of the playing enclosure to the lower corners of the the field of play to facilitate the TMO decisions. Nobody thought about it up to now ; the referee cannot invent these seperating dashed lines, nor imagine that they are implied by the current LoTG.
    1. Davet's Avatar
      Davet -
      The dead-ball line is differentiated from the touch-in-goal so that it can act as an indicator for "forward" = towards the opponents' dead-ball line.

      Other than that, then it should be treated in the same way as the Touch-in-goal line. Why are we even having this conversation?
    1. didds's Avatar
      didds -
      I suspect its because the law makers didn't see fit to make that 100% clear in the words of the law book. the fact that this area crops up regularly here ie standing T-i-G versus DBL would show that because of this some remain confused.

      I concur that the only logical way to interpret it is as Pierre's top picture.


      didds
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