Thu 23 Jan 2020 | 11:06

Law discussion: is it a tackle?

Law discussion: is it a tackle?
Thu 23 Jan 2020 | 11:06
Law discussion: is it a tackle?

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: @rugby365com’s law guru Paul Dobson takes a look at an incident during the match between the Lions and Bulls at Soccer City in Soweto.


In the first minute of the Super Rugby warm-up match between the Lions and the Blue Bulls at FNB Stadium in Soweto, the Lions moved the ball to the left where Len Massyn, their No.8. charges ahead. He is tackled by Johnny Kotze, the Blue Bulls right wing and falls to ground beyond Kotze. Massyn lands on his elbows and knees with Kotze holding his back. Massyn keeps possession of the ball, gets up and charges ahead. Play goes on.


It all depends on whether Massyn was tackled or not. If he was tackled, he was obliged to release the ball before getting up with it.

Tackle: The method of holding a ball-carrier and bringing that player to ground.
Tackled player: A ball-carrier who is held and taken to ground by a tackler or tacklers.
Tackler: An opposition player who holds the tackled player and goes to ground.

1. For a tackle to occur, the ball-carrier is held and brought to ground by one or more opponents.
2. Being brought to ground means that the ball-carrier is lying, sitting or has at least one knee on the ground or on another player who is on the ground.
3. Being held means that a tackler must continue holding the ball-carrier until the ball-carrier is on the ground.

1. Kotze brings Massyn to ground.
2. Massyn has both knees on the ground.
3. Kotze is holding Massyn when Massyn is on the ground


Massyn is tackled, according to the criteria of the Laws of the Game.

Law 14.7 Tackled players must immediately:
a. Make the ball available so that play can continue by releasing, passing or pushing the ball in any direction except forward. They may place the ball in any direction.
b. Move away from the ball or get up.
c. Ensure that they do not lie on, over or near the ball to prevent opposition players from gaining possession of it.
Sanction: Penalty.

Massyn does not do a. or b.

It would have been right to penalise Massyn.


PV: 1633