Clip 6 - 19 July 2017 - Law 22

Try/no try? No try, but are we sure?

From a tackle/ruck, Tawera Kerr-Barlow of the Chiefs passes Aaron Cruden who passes a quick pass to James Lowe on the left wing. Lowe races ahead and then kicks a long grubber infield.

Jack Goodhue of the Crusaders and Tim Nanai-Williams race for the ball with Sam Whitelock slightly behind. Goodhue and Nanai-Williams dive for the ball. Nanai-Williams grounds the ball, and the referee awards a try.

But before Damian McKenzie can take the conversion, the TMO suggests a check. They watch the incident and the TMO says: "He's lost the ball and then landed on it as it hit the ground."

Referee: "So you're saying No try?"
TMO: "It's a knock-on."
Referee: "So scrum five."
TMO: "Yes."

It's worth a few thoughts.

"Losing the ball" does not equal a knock-on. For knock-on the ball must go forward.

Law 12 A knock-on occurs when a player loses possession of the ball and it goes forward, or when a player hits the ball forward with the hand or arm, or when the ball hits the hand or arm and goes forward, and the ball touches the ground or another player before the original player can catch it.
‘Forward’ means towards the opposing team’s dead ball line.

The law is clear.

The ball makes contact with Nanai-Williams's left forearm. But does it then go forward, clearly and obviously forward?

You be the judge but it could be that it goes straight down or even marginally backwards.

He then falls on the ball, as the TMO says.

Law 22.1 Grounding the ball

There are two ways a player can ground the ball:
(a) Player touches the ground with the ball. A player grounds the ball by holding the ball and touching the ground with it, in in-goal. ‘Holding’ means holding in the hand or hands, or in the arm or arms. No downward pressure is required .
(b) Player presses down on the ball. A player grounds the ball when it is on the ground in the in-goal and the player presses down on it with a hand or hands, arm or arms, or the front of the player’s body from waist to neck inclusive.

As the TMO acknowledges, Nanai-Williams pressed down on the ball with the front of his body between his waist and his neck.

The referee may just have been right in awarding the try in the first place.

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