Clip 2 - 1 December 2017 - Law 11

Offside?

The Australians go left, Samu Kerevi passes to Tevita Kuridrani who, with Marika Koroibete on his outside, grubbers ahead towards the England line. Koroibete leads the chase to the ball but misses it near the England line. But Michael Hooper dives on the bell and on the wet grass slides over for the try.

The referee immediately consults the TMO. He is happy with Hooper's grounding of the ball but is concerned that Hooper may have been offside.

When Kuridrani kicks the ball, Hooper is in front of him. He is in an offside position, which is not the same as being penalisably offside.

Law 11 DEFINITIONS
In general play a player is offside if the player is in front of a team-mate who is carrying the ball, or in front of a team-mate who last played the ball.
Offside means that a player is temporarily out of the game. Such players are liable to be penalised if they take part in the game.

The distinction is clear.

What must Hooper NOT do to avoid being penalised?

Law 11.1 Offside in general play
(a) A player who is in an offside position is liable to sanction only if the player does one of three things:
Interferes with play or,
Moves forward, towards the ball or
Fails to comply with the 10-Metre Law (Law 11.4).
A player who is in an offside position is not automatically penalised.
(c) Offside and moving forward. When a team-mate of an offside player has kicked ahead, the offside player must not move towards opponents who are waiting to play the ball, or move towards the place where the ball lands, until the player has been put onside .
Sanction: When a player is penalised for being offside in general play, the opposing team chooses either a penalty kick at the place of infringement or a scrum at the place where the offending team last played the ball. If it was last played in that team’s in-goal, the scrum is formed 5 metres from the goal line in line with where it was played.

What does Hooper do?

He puts his hands up, which means that he knew he was offside. He moves sidewards, he slows down, but his sidewards movement is forward - towards the goal-line, where the ball is heading.

Can he be put onside?

Law 11.2 Being put onside by the action of a team-mate
(c) Action by the kicker or other onside player. When the kicker, or team-mate who was level with or behind the kicker when (or after) the ball was kicked, runs in front of the offside player, the player is put onside. When running forward, the team-mate may be in touch or touch-in-goal, but that team-mate must return to the playing area to put the player onside.

Koroibete is behind Kuridrani. He speeds forward. He is the player who could pout Hooper onside but, before Koroibete passes Hooper, Hooper is already moving forward.

For that reason Hooper is penalised for being offside, and the try is disallowed. 

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