Mon 11 Mar 2019 | 06:14

Law discussion: Was the ball out?

Law discussion: Was the ball out?
Mon 11 Mar 2019 | 06:14
Law discussion: Was the ball out?

@rugby365com law guru Paul Dobson looks at an interesting poser emanating from the Vancouver Sevens.


Watch this. Just watch it and enjoy it, the astonishing skill of the rugby player.

It seems such a boring thing to do – to break it down to the rights and wrongs of the laws of the game, but that’s what we are going to do.

The player is Selwyn Davids from the Eastern Cape – born in Jeffreys Bay and schooled at Hoërskool Nico Malan in Humansdorp. He previously played for Eastern Province and the Griffons at senior level, but now seems to have found a niche at Sevens.

And when you see this, who wants more from a rugby player?

Playing against Canada in Vancouver, Davids gets a pass from Siviwe Soyizwapi and darts off with the ball towards the Canadian 22. But he has no support and so he chips ahead and chases.

Davids and a Canadian close in on the ball. Davids gets a right boot to it and the next thing the ball is bouncing high towards touch, with Davids in hot pursuit. He gets to the bouncing ball and with his left boot hooks it back infield to Philip Snyman of South Africa.


Philip Snyman is stopped at the goal-line where Selwyn Davids goes in to protect possession. Werner Koch gets the ball and the South Africans go wide left where JC Pretorius scores.

The referee awards the try. But was the ball out?

  • Continue reading below the video …

This is out:

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.


Before we go on, let’s look at a definition for this “plane of touch” thing.

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

This is not out:

Law 18.23 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.

In our incident, the ball reaches the plane of touch.
Selwyn Davids is in the playing area.
Selwyn Davids kicks the ball.
Therefore, the ball is not out and play goes on, as it did.

Side issue: look at the excellent positioning of the assistant referee and the referee. All of this happened quickly, but they have got into excellent positions to see what happens and take calm action if needed.

By Paul Dobson

PV: 1855