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Duty Ref 534 - Jaco van Heerden

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Jaco van Heerden is just back from Georgia where he refereed at World Rugby's Junior World Championship. Then he was in Soweto when SA A played the French Barbarians. Before that he was in Argentina and soon he will refereeing matches in Rugby Africa's Gold Cup in Kampala and Harare. This week he is just down the road in Bloemfontein.

Now he is answering readers' questions.

1. Name: Marius Voges

In general play can a player hit the ball back if he is onside. We see it regularly and never gets punished but I noticed in a game now that the ref gave a penalty and yellow card and its confusing for such a knock back by an onside player in general play.

Jaco van Heerden: Hi Marius

The laws of the game in law 12.1 only makes mention of "(f)
Intentional knock or throw forward. A player must not intentionally knock the ball forward with hand or arm, nor throw forward.

So in your example, as long as the ball is knocked backwards, it should be play on.

Best Regards

2. Name: Neil Pretorius

Players may charge down a conversion kick. If they charge prematurely and the ref sends them back, may they charge down the kick again or does that now fall away?


Jaco van Heerden: Hi Neil

This happens quite often.

As soon as the first attempted charge-down was premature, the second conversion kick will leave the opponents with no right to charge it down again.

Law 9.B.4 (c) If the kick is unsuccessful, the kicker may take another kick and the opposing team is not allowed to charge.


3. Name: Allan Danker

The tackled player lying on the ground is in the process of releasing the ball immediately. An opponent on his feet pulls the ball from his grasp. Is this allowed? If the answer is yes what does this forbidden practice refer to: no player may prevent the tackled player from releasing the ball and getting up or moving away from it?

Jaco van Heerden: Hi Allan,

Although we do need to give the tackled players their rights to perform their options first, the tackle area is always one of different shades of grey and never black or white.

We should always judge the quality of the clean-out (meaning the tackled player's supporting team-mates) vs the quality of the contest (meaning the arriving players being first on their feet, on the ball and in a position of strength).

The speed at which this happens causes us sometimes to allow a fair contest by allowing a turnover, but at the same time not giving complete effect to the ideal or exact letter of the law for the tackled player to effect all his options.

4. Name: Erich van Zyl

After reading your discussion on 'double movement, etc', what would be the appropriate communication (including secondary signals) to the players when giving a penalty in the following scenarios, all relating to Law 15.5 (b):

i. A tackled ball-carrier close to the opposition goal line uses his arms and knees to propel himself over the goal line, while on the ground (aka 'double movement').

ii. A tackled ball carrier in the field of play uses his arms and knees to crawl forward (sometimes in order to move away from opposition trying to form a ruck or win the ball).

iii. A tackled ball-carrier in the field of play using his body to roll forward (also to move away from defenders and/or give time for team-mates to catch up to secure the ball). Thanks!

Jaco van Heerden: Hi Erich

Here it would simply be "not releasing the ball" - signal would be the same as for an assistant tackler not releasing a ball-carrier.

We have wrongfully adopted the wording " double movement " as there is no reference thereto in the Laws of the game.


5. Name: Albert Stoffberg

At rucks especially, and sometimes behind scrums, when the scrumhalf touches the ball, is that ruled that scrum or ruck is finished because you see these days that scrumhalves grab the ball but do not pass it?

I believe the scrumhalf claimed the ball and that an opponent may play him, meaning if he touched it, you are allowed to take him or play the ball!

You see it more often that the scrumhalf touches or moves the ball behind scrums and rucks and opponents are blown up for offside! Can't be allowed as scrumhalf "claimed" the ball and should have played it and not hoped for an offside call from ref.

Jaco van Heerden: Hi Albert,

Always difficult if scrumhalves are involved!

We should, however, be more patient here in judging that "digging" for the ball is not out. Same applies when the scrumhalf's hands are on the ball - it is not out. The ball must be lifted to be out.

It makes for some management rather than outright sanction.


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