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Lineout Receiver Options

Hello and Happy New Year. This is going out to all LRO and TRO administrators. Please forward to all your refs and teams. The 2015 game management guidelines will be out today, and this is listed in them, but I have seen too many referees referee the receiver at lineouts wrong, and to many teams not understanding what they can and can't do with the receiver. So to clear up any confusion I want to address this before the spring season starts, and teams start practicing this incorrectly. So forward this to all of your teams and referees so that they know how the referees should be calling the receiver going forward into the spring. And I have confirmed this with Peter Watson (USA Rugby Laws Committee Chairman), so this is the way World Rugby wants this refereed. It's pretty simple, so everyone should be able to sort this out going forward. If the throwers team has a receiver (And they don't have to if they don't want to) and that receiver enters the line of players before the ball is thrown in, then a player from the line of players must drop out and take up the spot of the receiver (2 meters away from the line of players. Anywhere between the 5 and 15 meter lineout lines). And the ball cannot be thrown in until a player has gotten to the receivers position. If you start with a receiver then you must have one while players are moving around prior to the ball being thrown in. Here is the Law: Players changing places [19.8 (k)]. Participating players in a lineout may change places before the ball is thrown..Participating players are defined as: the players actually in the line, the thrower or the throwers opposite number and the receivers [Definition between 19.7 and 19.8]. THIS MUST BE COMPLETED PRIOR TO THE THROW. If a team wants to insert the receiver and not drop a player, then this can only happen after the ball has left the hands of the thrower when he is throwing the ball in. The Law is: Receiver inserting. [19.8 (j)] Once the lineout has commenced, the receiver may move into the lineout and may perform all actions available to players in the lineout and is liable to related sanctions. This is a singular action by a player who was standing in the defined receiver position. Now it is clear that what World Rugby means is that a player in the receiver position cannot insert until the lineout has commenced. THIS CANNOT HAPPEN UNTIL THE BALL LEAVES THE THROWERS HANDS. What is not made clear in either Law or the statement we got from the (then) IRB is....at what point has a team committed themselves to having a receiver? So referees when in doubt should ask if the team throwing in has a receiver and who it is so that they can back out of the line of players a full 2 meters. Referees should try to manage this before going to Free Kicks. A simple technique for managing this would be to verbalize what you see for the throwing in team as they form the lineout. I see five plus a receiver. or I see six with no receiver, do you have a receiver?. Please don't email a bunch of what if's. I have laid this out as simply as possible, so let's move forward and get everyone on the same page going into the spring season. MIKE COBB | Eastern Zone Referee Manager | USA Rugby e: mcobb@usarugby.org c: +1.864.907.1869 2500 Arapahoe Avenue, Suite 200 | Boulder CO 80302