Clip 4 - 5 December 2017 - Law 10

Knocked into touch.

Scotland is on the attack against Australia. They go left inside the Australian 22 and flyhalf Finn Russell grubbers through to his left. Kurtley Beale of Australia and Byron McGuigan of Scotland race for the ball as it rolls towards the corner on Scotland's left. Beale and McGuigan dive. The ball is just short of the goal-line when Beale's hand knocks it from the field of play out over touch-in-goal.

It certainly looks as if Beale's action of knocking the ball with his hand out of the field of play and into touch is intentional. He does not seem to be trying to gather the ball in but knock it away towards touch-in-goal.

(c) Throwing into touch. A player must not intentionally knock, place, push or throw the ball with his arm or hand into touch, touch-in-goal, or over the dead ball line.
Sanction: Penalty kick on the 15-metre line if the offence is between the 15-metre line and the touchline, or, at the place of infringement if the offence occurred elsewhere in the field of play, or, 5 metres from the goal line and at least 15 metres from the touchline if the infringement occurred in in-goal.
A penalty try must be awarded if the offence prevents a try that would probably otherwise have been scored.

Just prior to this decision a penalty try had been awarded against the All Blacks when Sonny Bill Williams used his hands to knock the ball over the dead-ball line when under pressure from Johann Huget of France.

In a discussion of this incident it was not right to remove the infringer (Williams in this case) from the scene and pretend that he was not there at all. And so in the Beale case no penalty try was awarded though it is clear that if Beale had not been there the ball would probably have rolled into in-goal and McGuigan would probably have fallen on it for a try.

Pretending that the infringer is not there is not written into law.
Asserting that the infringer remains in the equation is not written into law. advert