Clip 2 – 29 June 2018 - Law 21

In the second half of the match in Bloemfontein between England and South Africa, with South Africa leading 20-12, England have a line-out five metres from the South African line.

They form a maul and try to move on the line. Hooker Jamie George breaks away to the left and is tackled. England bash at the line. England scrumhalf Ben Youngs passes the ball to Brad Shields who plunges for the line, the ball in two hands in front of him.

Franco Mostert, the South African lock is on Shields's right. Mostert tries to halt Shields’s progress, his left arm on Shield's back. Mostert swings his right hand in front of Shields, presumably to prevent the grounding of the ball. The bull spurts out of Shields's hands into in-goal.

Initially, the referee awards a try. Then he blows his whistle again to consult the TMO. England hurriedly takes the conversion but the referee informs them that he had already blown his whistle to stop further play.

The TMO's replays show that Shields did indeed lose the ball and that it went forward from his possession. It also shows Mostert's right hand making contact with the ball.

Law 21.11

  • If a tackled player is in the act of reaching out to ground the ball for a try or touch down, players may pull the ball from the player’s possession but must not kick or attempt to kick the ball.

Sanction: Penalty

In what he did, Mostert did not infringe if he did indeed knock the ball from Shields's grasp for Mostert knocked it backwards, not forward (towards the opposition’s dead-ball line)

In his decision, the referee said that Shields had lost the ball forward. 

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