Louw’s try vs the Frogs WAS a try


Referees and TMOs were once again in the spotlight this past weekend – and none more so than in the France v Springboks Test in Paris.

According to the SA Rugby Referees website, South Africa came close to scoring tries on two occasions, but on each occasion the TMO advised the referee not to award the try.

In the first instance the TMO detected a knock-on when flyhalf Morné Steyn tried to catch a high, floating pass and so centre Jaque Fourie was denied a try.

The second one is of interest in this discussion.

South Africa go right from a tackle/ruck. Fullback Willie le Roux grubbers ahead. Falling back Yoann Huget foots the ball back into the French in-goal. Huget and Francois Louw of South Africa go for the ball, Huget with right arm extended.

If Huget grounds the ball first it will not be a try.
If Louw grounds the ball first, it will be a try.

The TMO’s advice to the referee is that a Blue Player (Huget) had taken the ball back and had grounded the ball. So it would be a five-metre scrum to South Africa.

But did he ground it?

The law in this regard is most specific. There is a difference between the way a player carrying the ball is required to ground the ball and what a player is required to do if he is not carrying the ball.

There are two ways a player can ground the ball:
(a) Player touches the ground with the ball. A player grounds the ball by holding the ball and touching the ground with it, in in-goal. ‘Holding’ means holding in the hand or hands, or in the arm or arms. No downward pressure is required.
(b) Player presses down on the ball. A player grounds the ball when it is on the ground in the in-goal and the player presses down on it with a hand or hands, arm or arms, or the front of the player’s body from waist to neck inclusive.

A player holding the ball is not required to put downward pressure on the ball.
A player not holding the ball is required to put downward pressure on the ball.

Huget is certainly not carrying the ball, and so (b) above tells us what he has to do.

Huget’s hand touched the side of the ball. There is no sign of downward pressure at all. The one who puts downward pressure on the ball is Louw. who puts both hands and his torso on the ball, certainly exerting downward pressure.

The try should have been awarded.

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  1. Bears me out: it was indeed a try.
    Commentators also had it wrong, saying it
    was only necessary for Huget to TOUCH
    the ball.
    It was clear as daylight.
    FFS one would expect the ref and TMO to at
    least know the laws – especially one with
    such a long standing.

  2. What happens after a test?
    Does the IRB have a video session with
    the referees and TMO?
    Is there any form of penalty?
    I mean I’ve seldom seen a disputed try
    being so absolutely clear as the one
    under discussion?

  3. Dunno.
    Oudste ,here they showed it from 3 angles,
    I thought at first the frog touched it first
    Knocking it forward.
    It was a hard call

  4. Yes, he did touch first – no argument.
    But there was no pressure, he only scraped the
    ball. No pressure, no controll – he only pushed
    it forward.
    We saw the same replays. As did the SA Referees.

  5. I would at least expect SARU to request an explanation from the IRB Referees – but maybe our friend at SARU is a bit tied up in trying to defend the claims of hand in the till?

  6. I’m hardly an expert on the rules
    But if it gets knocked forward/pushed forward,
    With no advantage
    Five meter scrum
    Green ball.
    Or not?

  7. This actually raises quite a serious point with regards to the TMO.We have given them extended powers and it seems they are just making more and more mistakes.

    A few examples include the shockers in the Aus/Eng test, Dagg’s try against Ireland and the one mentioned above (I also believe Morne did not knock on in the other disallowed try). This leads me to hope that the whole TMO situation might be revisited.

    It also glaringly obvious that referees are now too scared to award even the most straight forward try as almost everything is now referred upstairs for a look as to why a try might not be awarded.

  8. Look at the Ireland game for TMO issues – 1 try given to Ireland was very questionable and 1 try not awarded to NZ was a joke – that equates a 14 point spread!
    If NZ lost that game you would have heard a lot more about those 2 calls.

  9. @Craven:

    I’m with you on this dude.

    If the try to the French (cheaply given by Pienaar)was awarded being 50/50 (in touch or not) and the atacking team was given the advantage, then both our disallowed tries should have been awarded.

    If nothing ells, the inconsistancy of Wayne Barnes should be quiried. Whats good for the goose is good for the gander.

  10. Dunno.
    We should not critisise too much
    It was a hard call.
    Easy to talk about something in hindsight.
    I think this new tom,looking at tries off the ball incidents,offside ect
    can be but good for the game.

  11. What i do find inconsistent is the
    Refereeing of the scrums.
    some refs blow for the collapse
    some let the ball go out regardlessly if it collapsed.
    This must be hard for modern forwards

  12. After the first blank from ruaan pienaar
    Morne se total “ek het hom!”
    Jeans pickup was quick,
    as it should be…
    he drops so many,must be instinctive reflex.
    And JF just sumo over.

    Then this call,
    I was frustrated that they could not settle down and play
    Their nine men game plan.
    You piped it well
    Not only frustrated at their game plan
    But their poor execution of it.

  13. @Duiwel:

    He did not knock it – it was moved in the
    direction of his own goal line.

    You’re very rough on JdeV. His intercepts comes
    from great handling.
    His handling was superb in his try vs Wales, when
    Bismarck passed him the ball almost a metre
    behind him. There are many more examples, but
    I’ve learned one can’t change your mind.