Clarification of Non-Engagement by Defense at Lineout

Clarification of Non-Engagement by Defense at Lineout

There has recently been a tactic employed specifically at lineouts where the defense will not engage in the maul.  The following recap by Richard Every highlights how this situation should be managed.

See attached video. The following is how to referee it:

DEFENSE NOT FORMING A MAUL AT A LINEOUT (as shown in this video between minute 4-5,

  1. If the ball carrier is in the front (even with team mates bound onto the ball carrier):
    1. The team may move forward.
    2. Defenders may tackle the ball carrier.
  2. If the ball is moved to the back:
    1. The team in possession is required to get the ball out:
    2. otherwise a scrum will be awarded for accidental offside, or
    3. if they move forward they are liable to a PENALTY KICK against them for obstruction.
  3. The lineout is not over if the ball is still on the line of touch
  4. The lineout is over if the ball is moved away from the line of touch and defenders may come around to tackle ball carrier or play the ball.
  1. If defenders voluntarily leave the maul, the maul continues even if no more defenders are part of the maul.
  2. If defenders fall off a moving maul the maul is over and the referee should instruct players to ‘use it’.
  3. If defenders fall off a moving maul but the maul immediately moves into the in-goal due to momentum and the ball is grounded by attackers a try should be awarded.
  4. If the maul legally goes to ground players are not required to roll away.
Also, the defenders (if they do not form a maul), MAY NOT LEAVE THE LINEOUT otherwise they are liable to be PENALIZED.

Richard Every | High Performance Referee Manager  | USA Rugby