Six Nations
IRB ruling to end restart confusion
John Taylor
March 13, 2010
Wales' Shane Williams pounces for a last-gasp try, Wales v Scotland, Six Nations Championship, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales, February 13, 2010
Shane Williams has profited from a try with the last play of the game during this Six Nations © PA Photos

The International Rugby Board have acted to ensure that there will be no repeat of the confusion seen at the end of Wales' Six Nations loss to France two weeks ago.

The Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) sought clarification after France replacement Frederic Michalak hacked the ball dead from the final restart to end the game following Shane Williams' last-gasp try, which made the score 26-20 to the visitors.

Wales had profited from a winning try in the last play of the game against Scotland in the second round of matches after Mike Blair had kicked the restart long, leading the WRU to question "the way a restart takes place following the referee's communication that it is to be the 'last play' of the match".

A hastily convened meeting of the IRB's 'Designated Members of the Rugby Committee' has effectively ruled that Michalak's drop-out to end the French game, which went into touch short of the 10 metre line, was illegal.

The new ruling is as follows:

"The Designated Members have ruled that if there has been a score towards the end of the game and there is time for the kick off to take place but time will expire immediately after the kick and the kicker:

  • Does not kick the ball ten metres
  • Kicks the ball directly into touch
  • Kicks the ball dead on or over the opponents touch-in-goal or dead ball line

"The referee will offer the non-offending team the options provided by Law 13.7, 13.8 and 13.9 respectively and the match continues until the ball next becomes dead."

Practically, this means the receiving team will be awarded a free-kick on the centre spot and will be allowed one more play. Wales kept the ball alive for over three minutes against Scotland before Shane Williams dived over under the posts for the winning score.


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