Clip 1 – 2 October 2018 - Law 19

Manie Libbok of the Blue Bulls, kicks a long kick into touch. It produces a line-out for Western Province about 10 metres from their line.

Bongi Mbonambi throws in, JD Schickerlig catches it and passes it to scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies who passes back to SP Marais, who is behind his goal-line.

Marais moves forward and kicks the ball, but tall Eli Snyman charges down the kick and the ball skids off into touch-in-goal.

The referee awards a five-metre scrum to the Blue Bulls, from which they score a try.

Marais believes he was out of his in-goal.

Watch carefully. He kicks with his left foot and that foot is well clear of his goal-line. In lay man's terms, he is in the field of play.

The law?

Law 21 DEFENDING PLAYER IN IN-GOAL
13. If any part of a defending player is in in-goal, that player is considered to be in in-goal, provided they are not also in touch or on or over the dead-ball line.

Where does in-goal start?

DEFINITIONS
In-goal: The area between the goal line and dead-ball line, and between the touch-in-goal lines. It includes the goal-line but not the dead-ball line or the touch-in-goal lines.

Look at Marais's right heel.

  • If it is on the goal-line, he is in in-goal.
  • If it is not on the goal-line, he is not in in-goal.

Law 19
Stoppage: The ball is taken into in-goal by the defending team and made dead.
Location of scrum: In the scrum zone at the point closest to where the ball was made dead
Whose throw-in: The attacking team.

Because the ball went into touch-in-goal, it was made dead.

If Marais was in in-goal when the ball was charged down, it was a five-metre scrum to the Blue Bulls.

But...

Law 12 RESTART KICKS FOLLOWING A TOUCH-DOWN (22-METRE DROP-OUT)
11 Apart from at a kick-off or restart kick, if the ball is played or taken into in-goal by an attacking player and is made dead by an opponent, play is restarted with a 22-metre drop-out.

If a Marais was not in in-goal, Snyman was the man who put the ball into in-goal where it became dead. Then it would have resulted in a drop-out to Western Province.

The previous version of the laws was clearer in this matter.

Law 22.7 (e) If a defending team has put the ball into their own in-goal and a defending player kicks the ball so that it is charged down in in-goal and then made dead, the attacking team is awarded a five-metre scrum in line with where the ball was made dead and they throw in the ball.

Law 22.7 RESTARTING AFTER A TOUCHDOWN
(a) When an attacking player sends or carries the ball into their opponents' in-goal and it becomes dead there, either before a defender grounded it or because it went into touch or even over the dead-ball line, a drop-out is awarded.

Brevity often is a virtue, but not always sufficient.

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