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Law 12 - Knock-on or throw-forward


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.


Charge down. If a player charges down the ball as an opponent kicks it, or immediately after the kick, it is not a knock-down though the ball may travel forward.


A throw-forward occurs when a player throws or passes the ball forward.

‘Forward’ means towards the opposing team's dead-ball line.


Bounce forward. If the ball is not thrown forward but it hits a player or the ground and bounces forward, this is not a throw-forward.


(a) Unintentional knock-on or throw-forward. A scrum is awarded at the place of infringement.

(b) Unintentional knock-on or throw-forward at a line-out. A scrum is awarded 15 metres from the touch-line.

(c) Knock-on or throw-forward into the in-goal. If an attacking player knocks-on or throws-forward in the field-of-play and the ball goes into the opponents’ in-goal and it is made dead there, a scrum is awarded where the knock-on or throw-forward happened.

(d) Knock-on or throw-forward inside the in-goal. If a player of either team knocks-on or throws-forward inside the in-goal, a 5-metre scrum is awarded in line with the place of infringement not closer than 5 metres from the touch-line.

(e) Intentional knock or throw-forward. A player must not intentionally knock the ball forward with arm or hand, nor throw-forward.

Penalty:  Penalty kick.  A penalty try must be awarded if the offence prevents a try that would probably otherwise have been scored.


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