Knock on and Forward pass

Deliberate 1. A player shall be penalised if he deliberately knocks on or passes forward.

Accidental 2. If, after knocking-on accidentally, the player knocking-on regains or kicks the ball before it touches the ground, a goal post, cross bar or an opponent, then play shall be allowed to proceed.
Otherwise play shall stop and a scrum shall be formed except after the fifth play-the-ball.

Charge-down 3. To charge-down a kick is permissible and is not a knock-on.

Heading the ball 4. It is illegal to head the ball in a forward direction.


Direction of Pass 1. The direction of a pass is relative to the player making it and not to the actual path relative to the ground. A player running towards his opponents’ goal line may throw the ball towards a colleague who is behind him but because of the thrower’s own momentum the ball travels forward relative to the ground. This is not a forward pass as the thrower has not passed the ball forward in relation to himself. This is particularly noticeable when a running player makes a high, lobbed pass.

Scrum for Forward Pass A forward pass in a passing movement is invariably caused by misjudgment and is rarely a deliberate offence. Play is restarted with a scrum after an accidental infringement.

Penalty for some forward passes If the Referee is of the opinion that a player in giving a forward pass must have been well aware that the catcher was in front of him then the referee is justified in ruling that the ball has been deliberately thrown forward.

Ball is blown or bounces forward If the ball is passed correctly but bounces forward or is blown forward by the wind, there is no infringement and play should continue.

Knock-on over Goal line After a player, from the field of play, knocks on into his opponent’s in-goal area and he or a colleague touches down, play is restarted with a scrum where the knock-on occurred, except after a play-the-ball subject to Section 12, Law 10.