Clip 2 - 19 August 2019 - Law 12

It's the start of the second half of the Bledisloe Cup match played at Eden Park in Auckland. Beauden Barrett of New Zealand kicks off to start the match. It is a short-kick off, bouncing just short of Australia's 10-metre line.

As the ball bounces and still just short of the 10-metre line, Adam Coleman of Australia goes down to grab the ball. He knocks it on. The referee stops play and offers Australia an option - kick-off again or a scrum at the middle of the half-way line. Australia opts for the scrum.

The referee explains his decision, saying: "The ball bounced on the ground first before he played it, short of the 10."

Right?

Law 12 KICK-OFF AND RESTART KICKS

PRINCIPLE
Kick-offs are used to start each half of the match or period of extra-time. Restart kicks resume play after a score or touch-down.

1. All kick-offs and restart kicks are drop kicks. Sanction: The non-kicking team has the option of the kick being retaken or a scrum.
Kick-off

6. The ball must reach the 10-metre line.
Sanction: The non-kicking team has the option of the kick being retaken or a scrum.

7. If the ball reaches the 10-metre line but is then blown back or if an opponent plays the ball before it reaches the 10-metre line, play continues.

Nowhere in the law does it say that the ball must travel 10 metre through the air. In fact sometimes the kicker will use a grubber kick and kick it all the way along the line.

The ball did not travel 10 metres, not because it bounced, but because Coleman played it. Then according to Law 12.7, play continues. Coleman knocked it on. New Zealand did not gain advantage and so the right decision would be a scrum where Coleman knocked the ball on, New Zealand to put the ball in.

It does not happen often that the kick does not go 10 metres and is played by an opponent before it does, but the principle is clear. After all the ball would have gone 10 metres if Coleman had waited long enough!  

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