Clip 1 - 4 November 2019 - Law 18

Whose Ball?

CLIP 1

The referee penalises Mako Vunipola of England at a scrum and Handré Pollard of South Africa kicks the penalty down to the touchline on his right. Jonny May, the England left wing, leaps high and knocks the ball into the field of play while he and the ball are still in the air. May lands in touch, the ball in the field of play.

The assistant referee awards a lineout to South Africa where the ball crossed the plane of touch.

Law 18: Touch or touch-in-goal

1. The ball is in touch or touch-in-goal when:
a. The ball or ball-carrier touches the touchline, touch-in-goal line or anything beyond.
b. A player, who is already touching the touchline, touch-in-goal line or anything beyond, catches or holds the ball.
i. If the ball has reached the plane of touch when it is caught, the catcher is not deemed to have taken the ball into touch.
ii. If the ball has not reached the plane of touch when it is caught or picked up, the catcher is deemed to have taken the ball into touch, regardless of whether the ball was in motion or stationary.
2. The ball is not in touch or touch-in-goal if:
a. The ball reaches the plane of touch but is caught, knocked or kicked by a player who is in the playing area.
b. A player jumps, from within or outside the playing area, and catches the ball, and then lands in the playing area, regardless of whether the ball reached the plane of touch.
c. A player jumps from the playing area and knocks (or catches and releases) the ball back into the playing area, before landing in touch or touch-in-goal, regardless of whether the ball reached the plane of touch.
d. A player, who is in touch, kicks or knocks the ball, but does not hold it, provided it has not reached the plane of touch.

Look at Law 18.2.
a. May has a foot on the touch line. He is in touch, not in the playing area.

DEFINITIONS
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.
d. The ball had crossed the plane of touch when May knocked it back.

DEFINITIONS
Plane of touch: The vertical space rising immediately above the touch line or touch-in-goal line.

That means that the ball was in touch when May played it.
Pollard had kicked it into touch.
The kick was from a penalty, which means that South Africa get the throw-in.

Law 18.8.c: Ball is kicked from a penalty
Event: A player kicks the ball into touch (either directly or first bouncing in the field of play or hitting a player or the referee).
Location of the mark of touch: Where the ball reaches the touchline.
Who throws in: The kicking team.

CLIP 2

Outside his 22, Gareth Davies, the Welsh scrumhalf, kicks a high ball down towards the touch line on his left. Jordie Barrett of New Zealand catches the ball. The referee awards a lineout to Wales where Barrett caught the ball. Barrett indicated that he thought that it should be a lineout to New Zealand back opposite the place where Davies had kicked the ball.

This is not all that easy in real time - much easier with replays and slow motion. 

Look first at the law.

Law 18 TOUCH OR TOUCH-IN-GOAL

1 The ball is in touch or touch-in-goal when:
a. The ball or ball-carrier touches the touchline, touch-in-goal line or anything beyond.
b. A player, who is already touching the touchline, touch-in-goal line or anything beyond, catches or holds the ball.
i. If the ball has reached the plane of touch when it is caught, the catcher is not deemed to have taken the ball into touch.
ii. If the ball has not reached the plane of touch when it is caught or picked up, the catcher is deemed to have taken the ball into touch, regardless of whether the ball was in motion or stationary.

Plane of touch is important

DEFINITIONS
Plane of touch: The vertical space rising immediately above the touch line or touch-in-goal line. 

Look again at b. above.

Jordie Barrett has his foot on the touchline.
He catches the ball.
The ball has not yet reached the plane of touch.

The assistant referee was right in awarding the lineout to Wales where Barrett caught the ball and thereby took it into touch.

CLIP 3

From well outside of his 22, Handré Pollard of South Africa kicks high towards the touchline on his right. Josh Adams, the Welsh wing comes across, leaps high to catch the ball and lands in touch. The assistant referee indicates a throw-in to South Africa where Adams crossed the touchline.

Right?

What applies in 2. above, applies here as well.

Law 18.1 TOUCH OR TOUCH-IN-GOAL
The ball is in touch or touch-in-goal when:
ii. If the ball has not reached the plane of touch when it is caught or picked up, the catcher is deemed to have taken the ball into touch, regardless of whether the ball was in motion or stationary.

DEFINITIONS
Plane of touch: The vertical space rising immediately above the touch line or touch-in-goal line. 

Adams caught the ball before it reached the plane of touch, which means that he took it into touch.

The assistant referee was right.

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