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Law discussion: Simultaneously

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: @rugby365com’s  Law guru Paul Dobson takes a look at another contentious incident during the Hurricanes win over the Chiefs on Friday.


Just after half-time in the match between the Chiefs and the Hurricanes, Shaun Stevenson of the Chiefs kicks downfield. Jordie Barrett of the Hurricanes catches and returns the kick. Barrett chases his kick. Between his 22 and his 10-metre line, Stephenson attempts to catch Barrett’s kick but knocks it backwards.

Barrett swiftly gets to the ball and flykicks it downfield. Damien McKenzie, the Chiefs’ fullback, joins Barrett in his race for the ball. Barrett flykicks the ball into the Chiefs’ in-goal near the corner post. Barrett and McKenzie dive for the ball and slide together into in-goal, Barrett with his right arm attempting to control and ground the ball, McKenzie with his left arm attempting to control and ground the ball.

The referee consults his assistant referee and then consults the TMO. The referee says to the TMO: “Onfield decision is inconclusive, as we believe both got the ball simultaneously. Unless you can prove otherwise, we will start with an attacking scrum.

Which is what happens. The referee orders a scrum five metres from the Chiefs’ line and five metres in from touch. The Hurricanes put the ball in.

18. If there is doubt about which team first grounded the ball in in-goal, play is restarts with a five-metre scrum, in line with the place where the ball was grounded. The attacking team throws in.

The decision was correct in every way.


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