Clip 2- 5 July 2017-Law 10

This is early in the match in Sydney between Australia and the Australia.

Australia are penalised. Finn Russell, the Scottish flyhalf, taps and runs ahead. Confronted by Bernard Foley of Australia, Russell kicks about 12 metres inside the Australian half. He is knocked down by Foley and the ball bounces a metre or two outside the Australian 22. Dane Haylett-Petty is running across towards the ball and two Scots are running downfield towards the ball. As the ball is landing the referee blows his whistle. He goes to Foley and says: "Turned your shoulder in. Checked his run." The referee shows Foley a yellow card and then marches down and awards the Scots a penalty where the ball bounced.

There is no debate about the foul. Russell had kicked the ball. Foley could have avoided Russell but turned his shoulder towards Russell and knocked him over in contact that was late and armless.

The Scots then had a chance to choose where they wanted the penalty - at the place of contact or where the ball landed.

Law 10.4 (o) Late-charging the kicker. A player must not intentionally charge or obstruct an opponent who has just kicked the ball.
Sanction: The non-offending team may choose to take the penalty kick either at the place of infringement, where the ball lands or where it was next played.

The option was correct.

The penalty, the yellow card and the mark are clearly correct. But would it have been possible to play advantage?

Yes, very much so. A Scot may have got to the ball before Haylett-Petty. If Haylett-Petty had got to the ball first, he may well have been tackled in a place that the Scots could have exploited.

Is there anything that says that, in the case of foul play, the whistle must be blown immediately?

8.3 When the advantage law is not applied
(a) Referee contact. Advantage must not be applied when the ball, or a player carrying it, touches the referee.
(b) Ball out of tunnel. Advantage must not be applied when the ball comes out of either end of the tunnel at a scrum without having been played.
(c) Wheeled scrum. Advantage must not be applied when the scrum is wheeled through more than 90 degrees (so that the middle line has passed beyond a position parallel to the touchline).
(d) Player lifted in the air. Advantage must not be applied when a player in a scrum is lifted in the air or forced upwards and has no support on the ground. The referee must blow the whistle immediately.
(e) After the ball has been made dead. Advantage cannot be played after the ball has been made dead.

Foul play is not one of those. If advantage did not apply in cases of foul play, it would be easy to imagine situations where foul play would itself be advantageous.

In this case, in which there was no sign of possible aggression/retaliation, the referee could have waited to see if advantage would accrue to the Scots.
 

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