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Duty Ref 536 - Joey Klaaste-Salmans

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Schoolmaster and former top referee, Joey Klaaste-Salmans is the chairman of Western Province e referees and, among other things, an expert on the laws that apply to schoolboy rugby, especially at primary school level. Here he answers a reader's question.

Name Craig Hezlett

Question: In an Under-12 rugby match on the weekend, there was a player running with the ball, an opposing player came in to tackle but came in high. The runner then proceeded to hand off the player with an open hand. His hand made contact with the tacklers face...... the ref then gave a penalty for handing off in the face? I find this strange as the tackler should have come in lower? Other wise all players must come in chest height for the tackle and will probably get handed off in the face and get an automatic penalty.....

I look forward to your reply. I have been through the law book available on your site and cannot find any clarity.

Regards Craig

Joey Klaaste-Salmans: Hi Craig

Thanks for your mail.

This is an ongoing topic that arises when one talks about school boy rugby and the referee protecting players. It was and is generally accepted that a hand off is a push off the chest of the player. The face is part of the head and neck area that we as referee are protecting for both attackers and defenders.

All provinces in the country have accepted this action of hand on chest as fair play BUT hand on face as foul play.

Hope that helps.


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