Clip 2 - 1 March 2017 - Law 9

The case of the hasty conversion.

France are penalised on the Scottish 10-metre line. Ali Price, the Scotland scrumhalf, taps and darts ahead some 20 metres. Scotland go through phases till Finn Russell gets a clever pass away to right wing Tommy Seymour. Seymour kicks downfield where the ball bounces high and Seymour beats Scott Spedding of France to the ball. Seymour passes to Tim Swinson (19) who steams over for a try under the posts. (From tap to try was just under a minute.)

Russell is to take the conversion kick at goal. Suddenly he puts the ball on the tee, takes a step back and kicks the ball as it falls off the tee. The ball goes under the crossbar, in what could just have been the worst conversion attempt of the century.

Why the inordinate haste?

Law 9.B.1 Taking a conversion kick
(a) The kicker must use the ball that was in play unless it is defective.
(e) The kicker must take the kick within one minute and thirty seconds (ninety seconds) from the time a try has been awarded. The player must take the kick within one minute and thirty seconds even if the ball rolls over and has to be placed again.
Sanction: The kick is disallowed if the kicker does not take the kick within the time allowed.

The try was scored at 43 minutes 11 seconds.
The conversion was taken at 43 minutes 56 seconds.

Russell used 45 seconds in taking the kick, just half the time allowed.

Furthermore the referee is a considerable distance from Russell and does not seem to exert any pressure at all on Russell to hurry.

It may have had to do with the TMO protocol.

2.1 If, after a team in possession of the ball has touched the ball down in their opponents' in-goal area (including after a try is awarded and before the conversion is struck), any of the match officials (including the TMO) have a view that there was a potential infringement, within the list of offences before the ball was carried into in-goal by the team that touched the ball down, they may suggest that the referee refers the matter to the TMO for review.

In this case the review may well have been of the contact between Seymour and Spedding before Seymour got possession of the bouncing ball, when Seymour's hands make contact with Spedding's back.

Russell's haste my well have been to preempt such a review.

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