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Law discussion: When is the ball out?

SPOTLIGHT: @rugby365com law guru Paul Dobson sinks his teeth into another juicy debate, following Round Two of Super Rugby Aotearoa.


The Hurricanes play the Crusaders in wet and windy Wellington on a Sunday afternoon.

Just on 33 minutes, the Hurricanes are penalised, and Richie Mo’unga of the Crusaders kicks for the touchline on his right. The ball is descending when Chase Tiatia, the Hurricanes’ fullback, is in touch waiting for the ball. As the ball is dropping, Tiatia jumps, catches the ball and lands just infield of the touchline.

Play goes on.

Should play have gone on?

A commentator queried allowing play to go on, but in the end, agreed that the match officials had probably been right.

(Continue reading below … )


Law 18,2 The ball is not in touch or touch-in-goal if:

2 b. A player jumps, from within or outside the playing area, and catches the ball, and then lands in the playing area, regardless of whether the ball reached the plane of touch.

That is what happened in this case. Tiatia jumps from outside the playing area and catches the ball, which has gone beyond the touchline. He lands in the playing area.

The match officials are right to let play go on.


The ball is not in touch.

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