Kick offs & Restarts

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A Kick off is used to start the game at the beginning of each half by means of a drop kick from the centre of the half way line. The ball must travel 10 metres before being played by another member of the kickers team. The required 10m does not have to be in the air.

A Restart is used to start the game after each score. The requirements are identical to a kick off.

What can go wrong?

The following issues can arise during the kick off or restart:

  1. Kick off being taken infront of the half way line
  2. Wrong type of kick
  3. Kickers team in front of the kicker
  4. Defence are not behind the 10 metre line
  5. Kick off does not travel 10m and is not played by an opponent.
  6. Kick goes directly in to touch
  7. Kick goes into in-goal and is grounded or kicked dead by the defence without delay


All sanctions for the infringements listed above are in the favour of the non-offending team, kick again means that the same team kicks off/restarts again.

  1. Scrum on the halfway or kick again Law 13.1
  2. Scrum on the halfway or kick again Law 13.1
  3. Scrum on the halfway line Law 13.3
  4. Kick again Law 13.4
  5. Scrum on the halfway line or kick again Law 13.7
  6. Scrum on the halfway, lineout on the halfway line or where it went into touch if behind kicker, or kick again Law 13.8
  7. Scrum on the halfway or kick again Law 13.9


The best method for making sure you don't have a problem with this is to make a comment to the kicker, before they are ready to kick, "Keep your players behind you please". You'll generally find that this comment on the first couple of restarts will alert the kicker to the fact you are watching and they will ensure their team complies. Ensure you are not having to say it on every kick off, if you are make sure the player is aware that this is not acceptable.

Should you have a kick off that you think it was close, don't pull them back on that occassion, wait until the next restart or kick off and then tell the kicker that it was too close last time and you want the players behind them. This does not negate the problem occuring but hopefully will reduce it dramatically. Should the players be well ahead of the kicker at a Kick off or Restart, the Referee should always penalise for the offence.

Kick off taken in front of the half way line

When we refer to this we are not talking about 1 inch, we mean a clear distance. Once again prevention is the best method and a small comment of "On or behind the line please" should help them to do it the way you want.

As before if you think a kick was close to being too far out, then wait till the next kick off and let the kicker know that they were too close. If the kick is clearly too far or they are not listening to your helpful comment then blow your whistle, the kicker will soon get the message.

Defence are not behind the 10 metre line

This will probably be your easiest to manage, If you spot it before the kick off is taken tell the player(s) concerned to get back and then allow the kick off to take place.

Should you see it as the kick off is being taken but the player(s) do not interfere with play, play on and have a word at the next opportunity, should they interfere with play and their team get the ball, whistle and order for the kick to be taken again.

Wrong type of kick

Generally if you have this problem you will be refereeing teams that have a kicker who has not played much before, If this is the case a quick whistle asking them to take the kick again with a drop kick should suffice, although once you do this you may find yourself giving a lot of "not gone 10" offences. Players ability is not something the Referee can rule on.

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