Clip 1 – 14 January 2019 - Law 6

Leinster scrumhalf, puts the ball into a scrum.

Luke McGrath, the Leinster scrumhalf, puts the ball into a scrum with the referee positioned on the far side of the scrum. "Foot-up" is apparently no longer an infringement and the ball comes back to Leinster with the referee moving down the scrum to keep an eye on the ball. Jack Conan, the Leinster No.8, picks up the ball and charges away to his right. Rynhardt Elstad, the Toulouse flank, breaks and lunges towards Conan but makes contact with the referee who is between Conan and Elstad.

The talkative referee blows his whistle and twice, amongst other things, says "My fault." He awards a scrum to Leinster.

It is a kind decision but outside of the law.

Law 6

THE BALL OR BALL-CARRIER TOUCHES THE REFEREE OR NON-PLAYER

If the ball or the ball-carrier touches the referee or other non-player and neither team gains an advantage, play continues. If either team gains an advantage in the field of play, a scrum is awarded to the team that last played the ball.
If the ball-carrier touches the referee or other non-player in in-goal and either team gains an advantage:
If the ball is in possession of an attacking player, the referee awards a try where the contact took place.
If the ball is in possession of a defending player, the referee awards a touch down where the contact took place.
If the ball is touched by the referee or other non-player in in-goal, the referee judges what would have happened next and awards a try or a touch down at the place where the contact took place.

This is all about the ball-carrier or the ball in contact - not about a tackler. According to law, play should have done on in this case.

How it could be construed as the referee's fault is incomprehensible. The position he adopted was not unusual. He did not pick Conan's running path.

If the law-makers had wanted to, they could have written "referee obstruction" into law, but they have not done so as it could produce many instances of player making contact with the referee and then claiming obstruction.

It is better to apply existing law than make up bits of law even if it would be the popular thing to do. 

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