Clip 2 – 6 July 2018 - Law 11

Javier Ortega Desio of the Jaguares is tackled and a ruck forms. Scrumhalf Gonzalo Bertranou stands behind the scrum with his foot at the ball, as scrumhalves often do, he pushes the ball back into the ruck.

He then picks up the ball and Jean-Luc du Plessis of the Stormers tackles Bertranou from behind. Bertranou loses the ball forward and hooker Agustín Creevy in front of Bertranou grabs the ball.

The referee penalises Creevy and explains to him and his captain, Pablo Matera, that Creevy was offside at a knock-on.

Why the difference between the referee's decision in Clip 3 - 5 July 2018 - Law 11 from the same referee's decision in Clip 2 - 6 July 2018 - Law 11?

Law 11.7 Offside after a knock-on

  • When a player knocks-on and an offside team-mate next plays the ball, the offside player is liable to sanction if playing the ball prevented an opponent from gaining an advantage.

Sanction: Penalty kick

The ingredients of a penalty for a knock-on are threefold.

  1. A knock-on
  2. A team-mate in front of the player who knocked on played the ball.
  3. The team-mate prevented opponents from getting advantage.

In Clip 3 - 5 July 2018 - Law 11, the third ingredient is missing as "no-one's around".

In Clip 2 - 6 July 2018 - Law 11, Stormers players are closer than any Jaguares eligible to play the ball, for Bertranou is not in a position to play the ball and the onside Jaguares are further from the ball than some of the Stormers.

In Clip 2 - 6 July 2018 - Law 11, Bertranou uses his foot to nudge the ball forward as it emerges. This is fairly common practice.

Law 15.19 Players must not:

  • Return the ball into the ruck.

Sanction: free kick.

At least it would be accidental offside.

Law 10.5 

  • A player is accidentally offside if the player cannot avoid being touched by the ball or by a team-mate who is carrying the ball. Only if the offending team gains an advantage should play stop.

Sanction: Scrum advert