Back to News

Law discussion: Side entry penalty

E-mail Print
Selected Article image

How important is intentionally in awarding a penalty? This may well be a case of unintentionally?

By Paul Dobson, Moonsport

With eight minutes to play, he Stormers have the ball and are going left. Scrumhalf Justin Phillips passes to Chris van Zyl (5). Van Zyl has Scarra Ntubeni (16) close on his left as he charges forward.

Prop Karl Tu’inukuafe tackles Van Zyl, and the two fall to ground. Ntubeni is close to the action when prop Ofa Tu’ungafasi bumps and pushes Ntubeni so that he stumbles towards the tackle where Blake Gibson grabs him and Ntubeni falls into the tackle on his side, his back to the ball.

The referee penalises Ntubeni, saying: "You overran and entered from the side."

The commentator says that Ntubeni had come straight into the ruck.

When Ntubeni made his involuntary/unintentional entry enter into the tackle, it was not a ruck. But then entering a tackle from the side is also an infringement.

Law 14.8 (c): Other players must arrive at the tackle from the direction of their own goal-line before playing the ball.

The point here is that this was not a definite effort to enter on the side but perhaps the result of the actions of two opponents, who played him when he was not carrying the ball. Their actions were not calculated to remove Ntubeni as in a clean-out.

But then, you have a player penalised when falling back k to his side at a ruck and the opposing scrumhalf intentionally throws the ball at him in order to get a penalty - and such a penalty could become a match-winner.

The Blues kicked the penalty out, formed a maul and scored a try.

If a referee is expected to judge an intentional act, could he not be expected to judge and unintentional one - as in this case. advert