Clip 2 - 20 June 2019 - Law 10

Jackson Hemopo, the Highlanders lock charges. Scott Barrett tackles him and goes to ground behind Hemopo. A ruck forms on Hemopo, and the ball comes back to scrumhalf Aaron Smith as Barrett is rising.

Smith passes to his left and the ball strikes Barrett. The referee allows play to go on but, when the Highlanders do not get advantage, he brings play back for a penalty against Barrett, who had been in an offside position and had interfered with play despite not making any attempt to do so.

The referee is also at pains to tell Smith that it had looked as if he was just passing the ball but if he (referee) felt that he (Smith) was deliberately throwing the ball into a retiring opponent he (Smith) would "not get the penalty".

That is fair enough.

There are players who may deliberately try to get in the way under the pretext of running back to get onside - the so-called lazy runners. But often the player is making a genuine attempt to get back onside as the law requires of him. Then a scrumhalf, with options of passing left or right, passing behind the retreating player, running with the ball and kicking the ball, throws the ball at the retreating player in an attempt to get a penalty.

The penalty is in terms of Law 10.

Law 10 RETIRING FROM A RUCK, MAUL, SCRUM OR LINEOUT
8. A player who is offside at a ruck, maul, scrum or lineout remains offside, even after the ruck, maul, scrum or lineout has ended.

9. The player can be put onside only if:

a. That player immediately retires behind the applicable offside line; or
b. An opposition player carries the ball five metres in any direction; or
c. An opposition player kicks the ball.

10. An offside player may be penalised if that player:

a. Fails to retire without undue delay and benefits from being put onside in a more advantageous position; or
b. Interferes with play; or
c. Moves towards the ball.

Sanction: Penalty

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