Clip 4 - 23 August 2017 - Law 22

Location, location, location, says estate agency. Position, position, position, says rugby football.

Western Province have a five-metre scrum near the Cheetahs posts. They shove the Cheetahs back towards their own goal-line where the scrum starts coming apart and the ball comes out haphazardly. Justin Phillips, the Western Province  scrumhalf, picks up the ball clearly with the intention of scoring a try but Niel Marais, the Cheetahs flyhalf, grabs him and the two go to ground. Phillips stretches out his hand with the ball in it and grounds it over the goal-line for a try.

What Phillips did was perfectly legal.

Law 22.4 (e) Tackled near the goal line. If a player is tackled near to the opponents’ goal line so that this player can immediately reach out and ground the ball on or over the goal line, a try is scored.

The referee refers the matter to the TMO, saying: "I saw a grounding and so my onfield decision is a try. Please, look for any additional information to prove otherwise."

The TMO is quickly able to confirm that a try had been scored as Phillips had clearly scored and done so according to law.'

But there should have been no need at all to consult the TMO if the referee had got in the right position. He stayed behind Phillips and Marais, which meant that his view was solely of their bodies with no view of the ball or what was happening to it. He could have got to the goal-line and even a step beyond it and had a clear view of the scoring of the try.

It is too easy to abrogate responsibility by referring to the TMO. 

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