Ask the Ref

Our latest question regarding the final whistle decision at the recent Wales v France game...


At the end of the recent 6N game between Wales and France, the referee restarted the game in the last seconds of the 79th minute. When the 80 minute mark was passed, the French kicked to touch from the kick-off, without reaching the 10m line, and the game was declared over.

My question concerns laws 10.2(a): "Intentionally Offending. A player must not intentionally infringe any Law of the Game, or play unfairly. The player who intentionally offends must be either admonished, or cautioned that a send off will result if the offence or a similar offence is committed, or sent off", and law 13.7: "KICK-OFF OF UNDER 10 METRES AND NOT PLAYED BY AN OPPONENT If the ball does not reach the opponent's 10-metre line the opposing team has two choices: To have the ball kicked off again, or To have a scrum at the centre of the half-way line and they throw in the ball."

Should the re-start have been re-taken, with either a scrum (Wales put-in) or France to re-kick, with the ball crossing the 10m line?


The Designated Members of the IRB Rugby Committee, comprising Graham Mourie (New Zealand), Bill Nolan (Scotland) and David Pickering (Wales) have examined the Law in relation to your question and ruled that if there has been a score towards the end of the match and there is time for the kick-off to take place but time will expire immediately after the kick and the kicker:

(a) Does not kick the ball 10 metres
(b) Kicks the ball directly into touch
(c) Kicks the ball dead on or over the opponents touch-in-goal or dead ball line

The referee will offer the non-offending team the options:

(a) have the ball kicked off again, or have a scrum at the centre of the half way line and the non-offending team will put the ball in - Law 13.7

(b) have the ball kicked of again, have a scrum at the centre of the half way line and the non offending team put the ball in, or accept the kick (and have a line-out on the half way line) - Law 13.8

(c) Law 13.9 applies where if the ball does not go dead the non-kicking team may ground the ball, make it dead, or play on.  Should the team make the ball dead or ground it immediately they may have a scrum formed at the centre of the halfway line with their put in (this is the same should the ball run dead over the touch in goal line or dead ball line).
The receiving team must ground the ball or make it dead immediately should they want the scrum at the half way line; otherwise they are deemed to have accepted the kick and a drop out 22 is awarded.

The match continues until the ball next becomes dead.