Knock-on or Not

By Referees Department

The Wales winger chases the grabber kick and stretches out to the bouncing ball moving forward. His hand makes contact with the ball and in his attempt to catch the ball it bounces off his leg backward against an England player's leg chasing him from behind. The ball then lands on the ground.

Knock-on or Play-on?

Let's dissect the law.

The law defines a knock-on as follows: 'When a player loses possession of the ball and it goes forward, or when a player hits the ball forward with the hand or arm, or when the ball hits the hand or arm and goes forward, and the ball touches the ground or another player before the original player can catch it.

When a player passes the ball, the ball is moving forward with the speed and momentum of that player who had passed it, irrespective of its direction in relation to the ball catcher. The same principle applies when the ball has been touched by a hand/arm which is travelling towards the opposition’s dead ball line.

Based on the clip evidence this is a Knock-on because the conditions of the knock-on occurred:

  • Ball hits the hand
  • Ball is travelling forward
  • Ball was never recovered
  • Ball touches an England player leg

For this not to be a knock-on the ball should have been caught by the original player who last touched the ball before it makes contact with any player and or ground. advert