Clip 4 - 13 November 2017 - Law 8


Jack Carty of Connacht kicks downfield into the Cheetahs half. Fred Zeilinga, the Cheetahs fullback, counter attacks and is tackle about five metres inside his own half. Play goes on with several phases hither and thither till Nico Lee of the Cheetahs breaks clean away. He plays the ball inside where a tackle heap is deemed to be unplayable. The referee awards a scrum to the Cheetahs in the middle of the field, four metres outside the Connacht 22. There is an injury break. During this break the assistant referee runs onto the field and tells the referee that the tackle on Zeilinga by O'Halloran was high, left arm around neck.

The referee deals with the injury ands then awards the Cheetahs penalty just inside their own half, over 20 metres behind where they would have had a scrum. The Cheetahs kick the ball out several metres short of the Connacht 22.


Firstly, it seems that the referee did not see the incident and so, wisely, relies on the report by his assistant referee. He then decides that the Cheetahs did not get advantage and goes all that way back to award the penalty.

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.
LAW AMENDMENT TRIAL When advantage is being played for multiple penalty infringements by the same team, the referee allows the captain of the non-offending team to choose the most advantageous of the penalty marks.
(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.

The referee decides that the Cheetahs did not get advantage.
There is only one penalty, and so the Law Amendment Trial does not apply.
The Cheetahs lost a lot of ground to take the penalty.
A scrum is a more certain guarantee of possession than a line-out.
Getting possession in the middle of the field probably gives more options of attack than getting possession close to a touchline.

A good rule of thumb for referees in applying advantage is for the referee to try to put himself in the place of the non-offending captain and work out what he would prefer. advert