Definitions – Possession

This happens when a player is carrying the ball (or attempting to bring the ball under control) or the team has the ball in its control; for example, the ball in one-half of the scrum or ruck is in that team’s possession.
Guidance notes: The ball needs to be in close proximity to the player. 

Number of Players

Law 3.6 – Uncontested scrums as a result of a sending off, temporary suspension or injury must be played with eight players a side.
Guidance notes: This also includes an HIA assessment or blood bin.

Community Game: When teams start with less than fifteen players the referee may take a different approach following discussions with both captains. For example, a team starting a game with thirteen players and not able to provide a fully trained front row from the outset would not be expected to lay with eight forwards and five backs at each scrum.


Law 5.7 (e) – If a penalty is kicked into touch after time has elapsed without touching another player, the referee allows the throw in to be taken and play continues until the next time the ball becomes dead.
To end the half, the ball must be tapped before the kick to touch.
Guidance Notes: Referees to continue to call time on and off.
A team can, however, kick the ball dead over the dead ball line/touch in goal line to end the match. If a time keeper is appointed to with this role.


Law 8.1 (a) – When there are multiple penalty infringements by the same team, the referee may allow the captain of the non-offending team to choose the most advantageous of the penalty marks.
Guidance Notes: If a yellow card(s) are issued this will be done before the captain chooses the most advantageous position.

Method of Scoring

Law 9 (a)1 – Penalty Try. If a player would probably have scored a try but for foul play by an opponent, a penalty try is awarded. No conversion is attempted.
Value 7 points
Guidance notes: A TMO or AR may intervene up until the game has restarted.

Amended Tackle

Law 15.4 (c) – The tackler must get up before playing the ball and then can only play from their own side of the tackle “gate”.

Amended Ruck

Law 16 – A ruck commences when at least one player is on their feet and over the ball which is on the ground (tackled player, tackler). At this point the offside lines are created. Players on their feet may use their hands to pick up the ball as long as this is immediate. As soon as an opposition player arrives, no hands can be used.
Guidance Notes: The ‘one man ‘ ruck only applies after a tackle and that normal ruck laws apply to all other situations e.g player voluntarily going to ground, ball on the ground in open play etc. The offside line is formed when a player from either team arrive over the ball.

Other Ruck Offences

Law 16.4 – A player must not kick the ball out of a ruck. The player can only hook it in a backwards motion.
Sanction: Penalty

Definition Mark

Law 18 – To make a mark a player must have one or both feet on or behind that player’s 22-metre line and catch a ball that has reached the plane of the 22-metre line.

Touch Definition

Law 19 – If the ball has passed the plane of touch when it is caught, then the catcher is not deemed to have taken the ball into touch.

Law 19 – If the ball has not passed the plan of touch when it is caught or picked up, then the catcher is deemed to have taken the ball into touch, regardless of whether the ball was in motion or stationary.

Law 19 – If a player jumps and knocks the ball back into the playing area (or if that player catches the ball and throws it back into the playing area) before landing in touch or touch in goal, play continues regardless of whether the ball reaches the plane of touch.
Guidance Notes: Passed includes reached.

No Gain In Ground

Law 19.1 (c) – If a player, with one or both feet on or behind the 22-metre line, picks up the ball, which was outside the 22, or catches the ball in front of the 22-metre line and kicks it directly into touch from within the 22, then the player has taken the ball back inside the  22, so there is no gain in ground.
Guidance Notes: A player in the field of play, who plays a ball that has reached the touchline, and which subsequently lands in touch, is deemed to have taken the ball into touch.

Throwing The Ball into the Scrum

Law 20.5 –  No signal from referee. The scrum must be stable and there must be no delay once the ball has been presented to the scrum.
Guidance notes: The scrum half must ensure the scrum is stable before throwing in the ball.

How The Scrum Half Throws the Ball into the Scrum

Law 20.6 (d) –  The scrum-half must throw the ball in straight but is allowed to align their shoulder on the middle line of the scrum, therefore allowing them to stand a shoulder width towards their own side of the middle line.
Guidance notes: Referees to ensure the scrum half is standing square to the scrum.

Striking After the Throw-in

Law 20 – Once the ball touches the ground in the tunnel, any front-row player may use either foot to try to win possession of the ball. One player from the team who put the ball in must strike for the ball.
Guidance notes: A strike must happen immediately. Any part of the lower leg from the knee to the foot – including the knee and heel may be used.
Sanction: Free-kick

Handling in the Scrum – Exception

Law 20.9(b). The number eight shall be allowed to pick the ball from the feet of the second-rows.
Guidance notes: The number 8 can only pick up the ball from the second row, not the front row and this has to be done from where they are positioned before the scrum feed.

Defending Player in In-goal

Law 22.9 (b) – If a player with one or both feet on or behind the goal line picks up the ball from within the field of play or catches the ball in front of the goal line, that player has taken possession of the ball, in the field of play.

Law 22.9 (d) – If a player with one or both feet on or behind the dead ball line picks up or catches a ball that has not reached the dead ball line, or touch-in-goal line, that player is deemed to have made the ball dead.