Clip 3 - 20 May 2019 - Law 9

The Jaguares are on the attack inside the Hurricanes' 22. Tomás Cubelli passes to Pablo Matera who is tackled.

The ball comes back to the Jaguares and Sebastian Cancelliere passes to flyhalf Joaquín Díaz Bonilla who sends a left-footed grubber into the Hurricanes in-goal. Two players race for the ball - Matias Moroni of the Jaguares and Jordie Barrett of the Hurricanes. 

They are both close but Barrett has a slight edge. He shoots out his right arm and slaps the ball backwards over the dead-ball line.

The referee and his assistant discuss the matter and consult the TMO. The upshot is that the referee awards a penalty try and sends Barrett to the sin bin.

What had Barrett done wrong?

Law 9.7: A player must not:
b. Intentionally knock, place, push or throw the ball with arm or hand from the playing area.

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

Barrett knocks the ball from in-goal, i.e. from the playing area.

Law 9 deals with Foul Play. What Barrett did was an act of foul play.

DEFINITION
Penalty try: Awarded when, in the opinion of the referee, a try probably would have been scored (or scored in a more advantageous position) if not for an act of foul play by an opponent.

The referee's decision that Moroni would probably have scored a try but for Barrett's act of foul play, and so he awards a penalty try.

Law 8.3: PENALTY TRY
A penalty try is awarded between the goal posts if foul play by the opposing team prevents a probable try from being scored, or scored in a more advantageous position. A player guilty of this must be cautioned and temporarily suspended or sent off. No conversion is attempted.

The referee does not have the option of not sending the player off when his foul play has prevented the probable scoring a try.

The argument that he could have prevented the try from being scored by an appropriate legal action is irrelevant. He chose not to act legally. It’s does not help to surmise what could have possibly happened. The referee acts on what actually happened. Surmising could be applied to every infringement, with disastrous results for the game.

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