Mon 21 Mar 2016 | 05:02

Law discussion: The Leyds try

Law discussion: The Leyds try
Mon 21 Mar 2016 | 05:02
Law discussion: The Leyds try
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The try is rugby's most important occurrence, what each team strives for. Deciding whether or not a try was scored is thus the biggest decision in a match.

Mostly the scoring of  a try is clear and obvious, but when it is not so, then there is debate and controversy, as there was in this case.

The Stormers attack. After Oliver Kebble is tackled close to the line they go right. Jean-Luc du Plessis passes to Cheslin Kolbe who passes to Dillyn Leyds who has nobody in front of him but Joe Tomane of the Bumbies is heading across in desperate defence. Leyds dives in an upward arc as Tomane makes contact, aiming for the ball and the arms holding it. The ball is dislodged as Leyds reaches down to score.

The referee refers the matter to the TMO and there are TV views of the action and discussion which lasts long after the match has ended.

In his advice to the referee, the TMO says that there is not clear and obvious – the refereeing watchwords when it comes to decisions – that Leyds's right hand/wrist/arm lost contact with the ball. And so the try was awarded.

Law 22.1 GROUNDING THE BALL
There are two ways a player can ground the ball:
(a) Player touches the ground with the ball. A player grounds the ball by holding the ball and touching the ground with it, in in-goal. ‘Holding’ means holding in the hand or hands, or in the arm or arms. No downward pressure is required.

Leyds holds the ball and it seems to be accepted practice that if his hand/arm does not break contact with the ball when it touches the ground he is still holding the ball.

There are people who would not believe it possible to hold the ball with the back of your hand!

There is one other aspect to this.

'Losing the ball' does not end the possibility of a try. If the player knocks on, he forfeits the chance to score a try.

Does Leyds knock on?

Law 12 DEFINITION: KNOCK-ON
A knock-on occurs when a player loses possession of the ball and it goes forward, or when a player hits the ball forward with the hand or arm, or when the ball hits the hand or arm and goes forward, and the ball touches the ground or another player before the original player can catch it.
‘Forward’ means towards the opposing team’s dead ball-line.

Does the ball go forward from Leyds's hands?

Law 22.4 (g) Player in touch or touch-in-goal. If an attacking player is in touch or in touch-in-goal, the player can score a try by grounding the ball in the opponents’ in-goal provided the player is not carrying the ball.

It does not clear and obviously go forward from his hands until after its contact with the ground when it is also in contact with Leyds's hand.

If the ball goes straight down or backward form his hands, it is not a knock-on. If it goes forward off the ground, that is not relevant. The ground does not knock on.

When it is on the ground, Leyds's upper body falls down on the ball. That is enough for a try to be awarded – not that that was the reasoning here.

Law 22.1 GROUNDING THE BALL
(b) Player presses down on the ball. A player grounds the ball when it is on the ground in the in-goal and the player presses down on it with a hand or hands, arm or arms, or the front of the player’s body from waist to neck inclusive.

The ball is on the ground, and Leyds's body presses down on it with the front of his body from waist to neck.

What if Leyds's body is in touch when he presses down on it?

Law 22.4 (g) Player in touch or touch-in-goal. If an attacking player is in touch or in touch-in-goal, the player can score a try by grounding the ball in the opponents’ in-goal provided the player is not carrying the ball.

Where the rest of Leyds's body is does not rule out the possibility of a try.

Not all TMO decisions are easy, but that is the nature of the job – unravelling the referral of difficult situations in a game with the most complex laws.

By Paul Dobson

PV: 3


Law Discussion: The Leyds Try | Rugby365