Law discussion: Kwagga's try

Mon, 19 Feb 2018 21:44

Rugby365 law guru Paul Dobson looks at Kwagga Smith's try against the Sharks in the opening round of Super Rugby and sides with referee Glen Jackson on his call.

The Lions, leading 21-19, are attacking the Sharks. Five metres from their line, the referee penalises the Sharks for being offside.

Ross Cronje, the Lions' scrumhalf, throws the ball to Kwagga Smith, the Lions flank, who is near the place where the referee is giving the mark. Smith darts forward, takes a tap kick and leaning forward charges headfirst at the Sharks line, the ball in his right arm.

He charges into sturdy Akka van der Merwe, the Sharks' hooker. Smith and Van der Merwe, both go to ground. Smith falls on his right side, rolls onto his back and then onto his left side, bringing his right arm with the ball to ground in the Sharks' in-goal.

The referee consults his assistant and then the TMO, saying to the TMO: "Our onfield decision is a try. Is there any reason why it can't be awarded?"

The TMO, the referee and the watching public see several replays in slow and real motion before the TMO tells the referee that the try should be awarded. The referee awards the try.

Law 8.2 TRY

  • A try is scored when an attacking player:
  • Is first to ground the ball in the opponents’ in-goal, against the opponents’ goal post or its surrounding padding.
  • Is first to ground the ball when a scrum, ruck or maul reaches the goal line.
  • With the ball is tackled short of the goal line and the player’s momentum carries him in a continuous movement along the ground into the opponents’ in-goal, and the player is first to ground the ball.

Law 21.1 The ball can be grounded in in-goal:
By holding it and touching the ground with it.

When Smith charged, he had forward momentum. That momentum continues as the law requires "in a continuous movement along the ground". His forward movement (momentum) is not interrupted and he ends up in the Sharks' in-goal holding the ball and touching the ground with it.

The try is the correct decision.

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