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Rugby has more complex rules and regulations than most sports. Test your knowledge with this selection of imaginary Rugby World Cup conundrums.
Q1 Scotland are on the attack against England in their Pool B match. Max Evans sends a bobbling kick through, which England full-back Ben Foden has covered. Foden, with one foot in front of the try line and one behind, collects the moving ball a foot in front of the line and plants it down behind his line. What do you award?
A 22 drop-out. Foden is entitled to do this provided the ball is still moving, otherwise it would be a five-metre scrum for carrying the ball over his own line.
Q2 Fiji fly half Nicky Little is lining up a conversion kick in the match against Namibia. As he starts his run-up, the ball falls over. As Little stands still awaiting guidance from you, a Namibian player continues his charge from under the posts and kicks the ball away. What do you do?
Proceed to the restart. If a kicker has begun his run-up he is fair game for the defending side and has to attempt a drop-kick. If the ball falls over before the kicker begins his approach, he may reposition the ball and restart his routine.
Q3 During a Pool D match in New Zealand’s capital, the weather shows why the city is dubbed 'Windy Wellington'. Swirling winds are making things difficult for the Welsh and South African players. With five minutes left on the clock, Stephen Jones has a tough penalty kick. The kick is on-target and has just enough power to pass the crossbar, before a freak gust blows the ball back and it lands in front of the try line. What do you award?
Three points. The rules state that if the ball has crossed the crossbar a goal is scored, even if the wind blows it back into the field of play.
Q4 The USA are camped on Australia’s line, striving for a try from ruck ball. Australia’s defence repeatedly creeps offside, forcing you to award penalties against them. The USA elects to run the penalties. After three you warn the Wallabies for persistent infringement. From the ensuing penalty and ruck ball, flanker David Pocock goes offside and you award a penalty to the USA and send Pocock to the sin bin.
From the next penalty, another ruck forms and this time Dan Vickerman is guilty of offside. What do you do?
Send the player off. Once you have warned the offending side about persistent offending by different players, the next player(s) to infringe must be sin-binned. If a player of that same team then repeats the offence the referee sends off the guilty player(s).
Q5 During a Pool D match in Auckland, a South African player who is charging towards the kicker yells something in Afrikaans at one of the Namibian players. The player is not visibly affected but the kick drifts wide. What do you do?
Allow the kicker to take another shot at goal. IRB rules state that “a defending team must not shout during a kick at goal”.
Q6 In a Pool B match in Dunedin, Romanian Marin Danut Dumbrava makes a clearing kick but is late-tackled by an England player. The ball sails into touch. You penalise England, but where must Romania take the kick from?
Fifteen metres in from the touchline where it went out, or they may choose to take it from where the kick was made.
Q7 After some over-enthusiastic rucking by one of the Tongan forwards, you award a penalty to their opponents Japan on the Tongan 22, in line with the posts. However, an argument between two players continues until one of the Japanese players shoves his opposite number to the ground. What do you do?
Reverse the penalty. The law states that if a penalty kick is awarded to a team but a player of that team is guilty of further misconduct before the kick is taken, the referee will caution or send off the guilty player, declare the kick disallowed and award a penalty kick to the opposing team.
Q8 Ireland are awarded a penalty from long range against Italy. Fly half Jonathan Sexton drills a powerful kick from a metre inside his own half. It is on target and looks as though it will just get over the bar. However, the Italian props hoist one of their second rows into the air, who gets a hand to it to stop it crossing the bar. What’s the outcome?
Award another penalty to Ireland. The rules state that “any player who touches the ball in an attempt to prevent a penalty goal being scored is illegally touching the ball”.
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