Penalty (rugby)

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In rugby football, the penalty is the main disciplinary sanction available to the referee to penalise players who commit deliberate infringements. The team who did not commit the infringement are given possession of the ball and may either kick it towards touch (in which case the ball back rule is waived), attempt a place kick at goal, or tap the ball with their foot and run it. It is also sometimes used as shorthand for penalty goal.

Rugby football refers to the team sports of rugby league and rugby union.

Ball back is a piece of terminology in both codes of rugby football.

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Penalties in rugby union

A penalty goal attempt

The referee signals that he has awarded a penalty to a side by raising his arm at 45 degrees between vertical and horizontal and blowing a blast on his whistle. The arm is raised on the side that won the penalty. Penalties may be awarded for a number of offences, including:

Scrum (rugby union) means of restarting play after a minor infringement in rugby union

In rugby union a scrum is a means of restarting play after a minor infringement. It involves up to eight players from each team, known as the pack or forward pack, binding together in three rows and interlocking with the free opposing teams forwards. At this point the ball is fed into the gap between the two forward packs and they both compete for the ball to win possession. Teams can be penalised for intentionally causing the scrum to collapse, and for not putting the ball into the scrum correctly. A scrum is most commonly awarded when the ball is knocked forward, or passed forward, or when a ball becomes trapped in a ruck or maul. Because of the physical nature of scrums, injuries can occur, especially in the front row.

The experimental law variations (ELVs) were a proposed set of amendments to the laws of rugby union. They were proposed by the sport's governing body, the International Rugby Board (IRB), and trialled games at Stellenbosch University in 2006. In 2008 thirteen of the 23 variations trialled were played globally including; greater responsibility for assistant referees, corner posts no longer considered to touch in-goal, no gain in ground if the ball is moved into the 22-metre line by a player from the same team as the kicker, quick throw ins can travel backwards, no restrictions to players in the lineout, restrictions on where receivers and opposition hookers can stand in a lineout, pregripping and lifting allowed, mauls can be pulled down and players can enter with their head and shoulders lower than their hips, offside line is five metres away from the scrum for the backs and scrum half must be positioned close to the scrum, all offences apart from foul play and offsides are a free kick, and unplayable rucks and mauls are restarted with a free kick. In 2009 the IRB approved ten of the laws, rejecting the laws relating to mauls, numbers in a lineout and the increase in sanctions punishable by free kicks.

In rugby football, the offside rule prohibits players from gaining an advantage from being too far forward. The specifics of the rule differ between the two major codes.

Referees may not penalise some of these infringements if in their judgement the offending player had no intent to break the rules (e.g. a marginally late tackle on a player who has just kicked or passed the ball) or if the offending player was not participating in or affecting the game (e.g. a player who is in an offside position but not interfering with play). Equally, a referee may warn teams about technical infringements (especially at the scrum and ruck) before penalising them. Many consider a referee's willingness and ability to do so as a mark of good officiating in that it reduces stoppages in the game and allows it to "flow".

The side that is awarded the penalty restarts the game with a kick or scrum at their discretion. If a kick is taken, the side that the penalty was awarded against must retreat 10 metres (or to their goal line if closer). There are four ways of restarting the game;

Line-out (rugby union) means by which play is restarted after the ball has gone into touch in rugby union

A line-out or lineout is a means by which, in rugby union, play is restarted after the ball has gone into touch. When the ball goes out of the field of play, the opposing team is normally awarded a line-out; the exception is after the ball is kicked into touch from a penalty kick, when the team that was awarded the penalty throws into the line-out.

A drop kick is a type of kick in various codes of football. It involves a player dropping the ball and then kicking it after it bounces off the ground.

Rugby sevens ballgame-team sport

Rugby sevens, and originally known as seven-a-side rugby, is a variant of rugby union in which teams are made up of seven players playing seven minute halves, instead of the usual 15 players playing 40 minute halves. Rugby sevens is administered by World Rugby, the body responsible for rugby union worldwide. The game is popular at all levels, with amateur and club tournaments generally held in the summer months. Sevens is one of the most well distributed forms of rugby, and is popular in parts of Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas, and especially in the South Pacific.

One of the laws associated with penalties was experimented with in association football, that being that penalties may be moved 10 metres forward of their original position either due to talk-back from the players or offside from a quick tap penalty. This was dropped after variable application by referees, but remains a rugby rule.

Association football Team field sport

Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a team sport played with a spherical ball between two teams of eleven players. It is played by 250 million players in over 200 countries and dependencies, making it the world's most popular sport. The game is played on a rectangular field called a pitch with a goal at each end. The object of the game is to score by moving the ball beyond the goal line into the opposing goal.

Jeremy Staunton Irish rugby union player

Jeremy Staunton is an Irish rugby union fly-half, having retired in 2012 while playing for English club Leicester Tigers in the top level of English rugby, the English Premiership. He has also played at every level for Ireland.

Wasps RFC rugby union team of England

Wasps Rugby Football Club is an English professional rugby union team based in Coventry, England. They play in Premiership Rugby, England's top division of rugby.

Penalties in rugby league

Penalties operate in roughly the same manner as in union, but with some slight differences. Firstly, the implication is that a side either takes a tap kick or a shot at goal. They can kick for touch, but, if the ball makes it into touch, the side then takes a tap kick 10m infield (20m infield in the NRL as of 2007) from the point where the ball went into touch (except where it goes into touch inside the opposition's 10m line, in which case the tap is taken from the 10m line), as opposed to a scrum. They can also tap the ball from where the penalty was awarded. In both instances, the defending side must remain 10m from the ball until the tap kick is taken.

The penalty may also be place-kicked towards goal. If successful, the kicking side scores two points. If the kick is unsuccessful and the ball is caught by the opposition before it leaves the field of play, play continues. If the ball goes into touch-in-goal or over the dead ball line, then play is restarted with a drop-out from the offenders' 20m line.

Penalties may be awarded for:

There is also a differential penalty, awarded for technical breaches when a scrum is packed (as opposed to foul play within a scrum). A penalty goal cannot be scored from a differential penalty.

See also

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A penalty in rugby union is the main disciplinary sanction available to the referee to penalise a team who commit deliberate infringements. The team who did not commit the infringement are given possession of the ball and they may either kick it towards touch, attempt a place kick at goal, or tap the ball with their foot and run. It is also sometimes used as shorthand for penalty goal.

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