Clip 2 – 6 November 2018 - Law 18

George Kruis of England was penalised at a tackle. Handré Pollard of South Africa kicked a long way down the touchline on his right. Jonny May of England leaps up and knocks the ball to his side.

The assistant referee keeps his flag up and indicates a line-out to South Africa.

And there was booing from the crowd.

Law 18.2: The ball is not in touch or touch-in-goal if:
c. A player jumps from the playing area and knocks (or catches and releases) the ball back into the playing area, before landing in touch or touch-in-goal, regardless of whether the ball reached the plane of touch.

  • Jonny May jumped from the playing area.
  • He knocks the ball back into the playing area.
  • After knocking it back he goes to ground.

But where were May's feet when he took off? They seem to have been on the touchline. That means he was in touch. Was that in the playing area? In any case what was the playing area?

Playing area: The field of play plus the in-goal areas. The touchlines, touch-in-goal lines and dead-ball lines are not part of the playing area.

The touchlines are not part of the playing area.

If May's feet were on the touchlines they were in touch and he did not jump from the playing area.

Then the assistant referee was right. And it was South Africa's throw as they had kicked a penalty into touch and everybody who booed - a coarse and ugly sound - was wrong.

If May's feet were not on the touchline but on the field of play, the play could have continued and those who booed had got the laws right but their manners decidedly wrong. advert