Forward pass or forward catch - law 12

James O’Connor of Australia passes to Scott Higginbotham, a team mate. The referee calls it forward.

It was passed a metre before a line and caught over the line. Forward?


The ball drifting forward is not a throw forward. In this case it was a "forward catch", which is not an infringement. The ball must be thrown forward out of the hand. Judge action of the pass not the catch.

When players run forward, the ball moves with their forward velocity. The faster they run, the faster the ball is travelling forward with the player. If the player now passed the ball perfectly flat to a team-mate next to him, the ball will move forward with the passing player’s speed. It will drift forward at the same speed that the passing player was running! That’s not a forward pass!

Why penalise players who run fast?

You can test this by tossing something out of your car window when driving and see if the ball landed opposite the place where you tossed it out. It will not have.

Law 12 Knock on and Throw forward
A throw forward occurs when a player throws or passes the ball forward. ‘Forward’ means towards the opposing team’s dead ball line.

It is the throw that counts, not the path of the ball.

Look at O’Connor’s hand as he passes. That it not a forward motion. advert