Clip 2 – 19 February 2019 - Law 11

Joe Carbery of Ireland bursts free and has a long run down the middle of the field. As Scottish defenders close in on him, he throws a long pass to his right. The ball reaches Keith Earls who runs through for a try.

The referee takes his time to consult the TMO about Carbery's pass - to see if it was forward or not.

He eventually decides that it was not a forward pass as the motion of the hands was not forward. If the ball travelled ahead of the place where Carbery passed the ball, it was a natural consequence of Carbery's momentum. It is the pass that counts, which is why it is called a forward pass and not a forward catch.

Law Definition

Throw forward: When a player throws or passes the ball forward, i.e. if the arms of the player passing the ball move forward.

There is an old example of the effect of momentum: At a marked position, throw a ball from a window of a moving car and see where it lands. It will land well ahead of the place where it was thrown.

Run forward and throw the ball back over your head. The ball will come down ahead of the place where it was thrown, and yet the throw was as far from forward as possible. 

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