Clip 2 - 17 February 2017 - Law 8
Advantage - the most difficult law in the book to apply because there is nothing cut-and-dried about it.
It is a powerful law.
Law 8 Advantage
The Law of advantage takes precedence over most other Laws and its purpose is to make play more continuous with fewer stoppages for infringements. Players are encouraged to play to the whistle despite infringements by their opponents. When the result of an infringement by one team is that their opposing team-may gain an advantage, the referee does not whistle immediately for the infringement.
precedence over most other laws. That's how powerful it is. But its exercise is refereed entirely at the judgement of the referee.
Law 8.1 Advantage in practice
(a) The referee is sole judge of whether or not a team has gained an advantage. The referee has wide discretion when making decisions.
In other words the referee's decision is always right in the match. But that does not mean that it cannot be debated.
In this case, Italy's flyhalf Carlo Canna tackles the Welsh inside centre Scott Williams. They both go to ground. It is a tackle. Canna is on the Welsh side of Williams and is slow to move from the ball. The referee announces: "Advantage. The infringement took place about 35 metres from the Italian line and well in from touch.
The ball comes back to Wales and Rhys Williams passes to Dan Biggar who passes to Jonathan Davies who is tackled by Maxime Mata M'Banda about 35 metres from the Italian line.
Again the ball comes back to Italy and this time they go left. Webb passes to Biggar who is some 46 metres from the Italian goal-line. He kicks a diagonal to his left which Liam Williams catches just inside the touchline. Williams catches the ball about 32 metres from the Italian goal-line. Canna tackles Williams into touch five metres or so inside the Italian 22.
Italy has the throw-in to the line-out as the referee explains that advantage had been over.
That was the referees decision and was to be accepted.
Law 8.1 ADVANTAGE IN PRACTICE
(b) Advantage can be either territorial or tactical.
(c) Territorial advantage means a gain in ground.
(d) Tactical advantage means freedom for the non-offending team to play the ball as they wish.
It's a hard one, this.
It's hard to determine advantage at a penalty, because the only thing more advantageous than a penalty is a score. A penalty gives the non-infringing team the freedom to play in several ways. In this case one of those options would have been to kick at goal, and the place of the infringement was eminently kickable for Biggar or Leigh Halfpenny.
(c) The territorial advantage in this case is about 20 metres, but it's Italy's throw-in to the line-out. Wales could have kicked at goal or kicked the ball out and had the throw-in for themselves.
(d) After the infringement, Wales could have played left or right or kicked the ball. They chose to go right.
After the tackle on Davies, Wales could have played left or right or kicked the ball. They chose to go left where Biggar had plenty of space to play as he wanted. He chose to kick.
The referee's decision is understandable.