Tuesday, October 18, 2011

What is a Forward Pass?

It seems as thought referee controversies at the World Cup are becoming something of the norm, so today we take a closer look at an issue that comes up more often than it should. The forward pass. 

The New Zealand vs France quarter final at the 2007 Rugby World Cup was blighted by a missed call from a referee that, depending on who you speak to, was one of the reasons for the All Blacks' early exit from the tournament. This weekend, the two sides meet again, in the 2011 final. 

The IRB recently put together a video for their Total Rugby show that aims to explain the forward pass law in a way that all can understand. It's long over due, and will hopefully clear things up a bit as its one of the areas of the game that is always scrutinised and heavily debated. 

The whole concept is that the ball must travel backwards out of the players hands, but can move forward through the air, due to basic physics. In essence it's a simple formula to follow, but time and time again we still see it reffed incorrectly as forward passes are missed, or ruled incorrectly. It's unfortunately still down to referee interpretation on the day, and does look different when watching on TV. 

This video demonstrates how the momentum from the running player carries the ball forward most of the time and shouldn't be judged as relative to the ground. They have perhaps pushed the theory a little in this example, but the concept stands. Check it out and see what you think.

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Posted by Rugbydump at 8:35 pm | View Comments (58)

Viewing 58 comments

RugbySam October 18, 2011 9:59 pm

At the lower levels I could see a ref in hostile territory getting into deep water for not calling a forward pass when the passer is stopped by a tackler. Mind F!!!

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Chris October 18, 2011 10:20 pm

Quality video, definitly helps understanding the difficulty some (if not all) of the refs face in a game

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Guy October 18, 2011 10:23 pm

That is exactly the time discussion occurs: when the player is tackled in the split second after he threw the ball. The way things are at the moment, I can see referees getting crucified, quartered and burned for not calling a forward pass even at the highest level. A lot of times the touch judge is involved in these calls too.

I really wonder if there is a guideline on this subject for referees. The science part of it is quite clear in this video though.

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Michael October 18, 2011 10:27 pm

A difficult thing to referee consistently as imagine if the passing player was fading across the field and faded off the passor was hit back as soon as he released the ball. The very same pass under this 'game situation' could so easily be deemed forward.

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JamesH October 18, 2011 10:30 pm

That video has been around for years.
It's interesting but irrelevant. The ball has to be passed backwards that's all there is to it.

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Rich_W October 18, 2011 11:32 pm

The whole point of the video is that the confusion derives from how you define 'backwards'.

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gar1990 October 19, 2011 2:51 am

just wondering, if this video has been around for years, how is there footage from New Zeland Vs Australia from the 2011 tri nations in it?

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Rugbydump October 19, 2011 10:43 am

The video was produced last month, by the IRB.

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cheyanqui October 19, 2011 3:05 am

There was a video done by the Australia Rugby Union many years back (sounded like the 1990s, judging by the background music -- sounded like ESPN's "Bodyshaping" or "Fitness Beach").

This video is indeed updated, but essentially follows the same format.

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pirtes October 20, 2011 12:57 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RgMlDy2jP9s this is what you mean. same vid, slower pace.

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JamesH October 19, 2011 12:07 pm

It was edited recently. It's an old video.

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BuzzKillington October 19, 2011 12:32 pm

It's a new video James, but the idea has been done before and filmed in similar fashion by the ARU I think. They're definitely different videos with different examples and footage though.

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Stefan October 18, 2011 10:39 pm

Nothing mentioned in the video about strong winds? At grassroots levels like the game I was at today, high winds are very common as the pitch is completely unsheltered (unlike the venues of most professional matches). Does the decision still only matter on the passer's mechanics or does this have to be compensated for by the players? - as must be done when throwing into the lineout on a windy day.

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Carlos October 19, 2011 3:29 am

Same thing, mate. The only thing that matters is when the ball leaves the hands of the passer (often it is easier to see by the angle of its hands with the dead ball line). Whatever happens after is irrelevant, e.g. wind. I think this is well stated in the video, anyway...

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Jimmy October 20, 2011 11:52 am

Can almost smell the bitterness through the computer of this comment..meow

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Just Call Me Ehtch October 19, 2011 7:08 am

It's all about vectors and physics, and Newton's Laws of Motion, and that O-Level/GCSE type of stuff. When you are running forward and it leaves your hands backwards, that is OK, even if it bananas forward in flight with relative momentum - no forward pass.

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John October 19, 2011 8:46 am

I can't believe this video is real - it is totally incorrect. The Law states that the ball must not be passed forward and forward is defined in the laws of the game as "towards the opponents dead ball line". The relative motion of the passing player is completely irrelevant. Videos like this add to the confusion. This was trialled in Rugby League and known as the 'momentum law' bur was far too difficult to referee and apply consistently so they reverted to the original 'forward means forward' defining it as 'towards the opposition dead ball line'. Here is the link to the appropriate section of the law book.

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BuzzKillington October 19, 2011 8:55 am

What on earth are you talking about? Rugby League follows the same laws as in the video posted. The rule in Rugby League is clear - If you pass it flat or backwards, regardless of how the ball travels after it leaves your hands, it is legal. There is nothing confusing or difficult about it. It's Rugby - where the referees are incompetent and the supposedly intelligent fans cannot grasp basic physics - that has huge problems with the forward pass rule.

You also don't have a clue what you're talking about. It seems you're confusing yourself by being unable to read. You say, "The Law states that the ball must not be passed forward and forward is defined in the laws of the game as 'towards the opponents dead ball line'" - Ergo, the ball must not be passed towards the opponents dead ball line.

Well, that's exactly what the video RD posted is saying. The ball can TRAVEL where ever it likes, but it cannot be passed forward. The difference between passing a ball forward and a ball traveling forward is quite significant. I could lend you a dictionary if you're struggling with some of the language, however.

But there you go people, John says it so it must be true. If you throw a ball backwards over your head that's actually a forward pass, because RD User John says so.

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Mezza1982 October 19, 2011 9:17 am

I don't agree with you Buzz and there's no need for your rudeness. The law is clear and people think they know how to interpret it when they don't. You can't seriously think that just because the ball was passed backwards in relation to the player that means it hasn't contravened the law? The law is simple for a reason to avoid confusing bull like this video. But hey BuzzKillington says otherwise so it must be true - idiot

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BuzzKillington October 19, 2011 10:24 am

This video was made by the IRB, Mezza. The rule obviously isn't clear enough for people who cannot read, and the IRB felt it necessary to elaborate and clear up the misunderstanding for people like yourself.

Quite clearly the law says that the ball cannot be passed forward, not that the ball cannot travel forward. No where in the rules does it say the ball cannot travel forward relative to where it was thrown - If it does, then the rules are still bunk as the IRB clearly hold a different view in 2011.

If the ball is thrown in a direction that is flat or backwards, that is legal, no matter if it travels 20 foot forward. This is not me saying it - I am repeating the official line from the International Rugby Board, who make the rules and police the game.

If you and John were in charge of the game then about 40% of passes would be called forward and people would come to a complete stand-still before passing so to avoid being pinged. After all, it's near impossible to throw anything other than a forward pass while moving at speed, by your interpretation.

In fact, all the great team tries - Okay, 80% of them - are technically illegal, if we play by your rules.

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BuzzKillington October 19, 2011 10:26 am

Also I think there is room for some rudeness and hostility to people like John who create lies to deceive other members. I am not going to be polite to people who peddle lies.

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Rugbydump October 19, 2011 10:50 am

Not on here please, go easy. Get your points across but lets make an effort to keep it mutually respectful. That goes for everyone. Cheers

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Mezza1982 October 19, 2011 11:22 am

Which part of "towards the goal line" are you struggling to read? Where the ball travels relative to the player or not, it still is travelling towards the goal line therefore by definition making it forward. End of story. Your argument is that if they were all given as forward lots of good tries would not be allowed. That is almost certainly true, but that is not the point I was making. I don't think that every pass that travels forward should be blown, that would be nonsense - just as any player who doesn't roll away "immediately" or release the ball "immediately" at the tackle shouldn't be penalised. It's up to the referee to judge whether the player or team gained an unfair advantage from that particular act. Let's also not forget that at the top level rugby is not a sport it is an entertainment business where all that is important is getting bums on seats. Therefore, they are usually happy to allow play to go on when it's marginally forward. That's fine, but that doesn't make this video's content correct. Please also explain the difference between passed forward and travelled forward remembering the definition of the word. The only way it can work with your interpretation is that the ball initially travels away from the opponents goal line as it leaves the passers hands (passed backwards) and then curves in the air to travel forwards. What is the force acting on the ball to make this direction change? The only force is the air resistance which would only slow the ball, not change it's direction. Therefore, what you said, about there being a difference between passed forwards and travel forwards is complete nonsense and against the laws of Physics. The IRB do not want grey area in the laws, hence all the ELV's over the years. They are trying to reduce referee influence in scorelines. That is why this law is so simple, it is baffling that you cannot comprehend it.

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Einstein October 19, 2011 11:34 am

"Please also explain the difference between passed forward and travelled forward remembering the definition of the word."

If you're on a train, running very fast in the corridor towards the back of the plane, you'll still be moving at 120km/h in the opposite direction. Even though you're sprinting towards the back of the train.

Now imagine you reach the end of the train, and jump out of it.
There again, even though you're jumping back, you're very likely to travel a couple of meters forward (in the same direction as the train), not backwards, because you will still be carried by the train momentum. Although you jumped backwards, in the opposite direction. No-one can blame you for that, no forward jump, blame physics.
Same for the ball.
Now Michalak's case was different, as Jauzion jumped in the same direction as the train (or maybe 90°).

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BuzzKillington October 19, 2011 11:45 am

No. The IRB state that the ball must not be passed towards the opposition goal line. It's right there, in writing! There's a clear distinction between passing a ball towards your opponents goal line and a ball traveling towards your opponents goal line. Or, at least, I thought it was quite clear.

How can the video be wrong? The IRB made the video! You can Email them and they will confirm for you that the rules are as I say they are, that a ball only needs to be passed flat or backwards(from the hands) and is free to travel wherever it pleases.

The physics is obvious. The ball moves forward because of the forward momentum that comes with throwing a ball while moving at speed. So long as the pass leaves the hands in a flat or backwards direction it is legal. If you're running and throw a pass backwards in direction it's still liable to travel some with the momentum generated from you passing at speed. v = ut 1/2at^2 - The Equations of Motion

However you are also wrong about air resistance, the wind can curve a ball. That's why higher passes almost always seem to travel forward. Throw a ball flat, high into the air on a windy day and watch the air curve the ball 15 meters forward.

In Rugby League they clarified it quite clearly for people who don't 'get' it - "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."

All that matters is the direction in which the ball leaves your hands. That you throw the pass backwards or flat relative to where you are. Nothing else matters. The IRB are quite clear on this.

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BuzzKillington October 19, 2011 11:46 am

Sorry Einstein I was responding to Mezza with my last post.

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Mezza1982 October 19, 2011 11:54 am

You're talking about wind which is different to air resistance. Air resistance is just the force of air on an object trying to travel through it. Wind is air moving from high pressure to low pressure. So I wasn't wrong at all. You think the wind is always travelling forwards in the same direction as the player running??? Of course wind is always the reason for forward high passes. Come on, mate.

This video was not made my the IRB, it was made by Total Rugby which is an IRB affiliated programme. All IRB law videos have the IRB logo running throughout the programme.

"All that matters is the direction in which the ball leaves your hands". Agreed - relative to the goal line, not the player. Otherwise it would say so in the law. The IRB are quite clear on this.

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Mezza1982 October 19, 2011 11:49 am

That's simple Einstein and that is a good explanation, but the law makes no mention of relative to the player (or train!). It simply says towards the goal line is forward. If there is a bridge that the train is travelling towards, you are still jumping forward relative to it. There is no grey area. The direction of travel of the player / train is irrelevant. That's why the fixed point of the goal line is used as the reference point in the law explanation.

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BuzzKillington October 19, 2011 12:08 pm

You are right Mezza and I apologise for getting catty, it's obvious our disagreement is on semantics and not physics.

But I have to disagree with you still, it doesn't say what you're claiming, Mezza. It says a pass towards the goal line is forward, it says nothing about the ball traveling towards the goal line.

This video is from the IRB, it's on the IRB website and the IRB Youtube channel. If you Email the IRB they will clarify for you and confirm that the ball can indeed travel forward relative to the goal line, so long as the pass isn't thrown from the hands in a forward direction.

You may not like it, but that is the official IRB position.

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Mezza1982 October 19, 2011 12:15 pm

That's fair enough and I think in that case they should amend the law. Rugby is a hugely non-inclusive game - by that I mean that for a first time watcher, it is nearly impossible to understand. The IRB have tried to change that over the years so that it becomes more entertaining meaning that you don't necessarily need a large background knowledge to watch the game, as long as people are smashing into each other at speed and running down the wing, you'll enjoy it. Grey areas like this only add to confusion for potential new fans. I don't care whether they decide that this passing issue is acceptable or not, but it needs to be clear. In the case of Sam Warburton at the weekend, the law and guidelines are clear and at least they had that to refer to to clear up any ambiguity or abuse for Rolland. Whether the law / guidelines are right or not is up for debate, but the referees need much clearer and stricter rules to operate under so that the players decide the outcome, not the referees. Rant over

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BuzzKillington October 19, 2011 12:02 pm

The NRL in Australia are already looking into GPS technology to track forward passes. It's really not difficult to judge, you simply need to measure Initial location, End location, Initial velocity and Final velocity. GPS tech might take a few more years to get accurate enough, but it's something the IRB should also look into.

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BuzzKillington October 19, 2011 12:11 pm

"Definition: Throw Forward

A throw forward occurs when a player throws or? passes the ball forward. 'Forward' means towards the opposing team's dead ball line."

Where the ball travels is irrelevant to the rule, clearly.

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BuzzKillington October 19, 2011 12:17 pm

South African referee Mark Lawrence answers a question on the forward pass rule

Thanks for the question, one which most spectators don't know or understand. If you ask them what is a forward pass, you get a lot of different answers but generally they all equate to .."when the man gets the ball in front of the passer". WHAT A LOAD OF RUBBISH! But that’s what they think because they have never read the law.

So firstly lets quote the law

A throw forward occurs when a player throws or passes the ball forward. ‘Forward’ means towards the opposing team’s dead ball line.

You will note they talk of "a throw forward" and this is an action which refers to the act of the pass, not the act of catching! What I am saying is that the spectator judges where the ball was caught. That is a forward catch at best and is not an infringement under law.

You see when someone driving a car at 100km/h throws a ball backwards out of the car and then brakes and stops. The ball will come past the car. Is that a throw forward? Never!

What happens is that the ball is travelling at the speed of the car (100km/h) when you throw it backwards at 20km/h it still has a forward momentum of 80km and that is why the ball moves forward , but it has not been thrown forward.

Now the rugby ball is the same. The player running with the ball at 30km/h pass the ball backwards at 20km/h. The ball has a forward momentum of 10km/h. That is about 2 metres per second if you convert from km to metres. That means that if the ball is in the air for 1 second it will drift forward by 2m. That is why when this player passes the ball perfectly flat as he reaches the 22m line, the ball will be caught 2 m into the 22m. That is not a forward pass but a forward catch and is not an infringement! But the spectators all call out forward pass and are aggrieved when the referee plays on.

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BuzzKillington October 19, 2011 12:18 pm


Here is a very large discussion on a rugby referee forum. There's some difference in opinions but worth reading non the less.

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TCCalvin October 19, 2011 2:03 pm

I hope the IRB introduces red cards for forward passes quickly. It's been going on for long enough.

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stroudos October 19, 2011 3:37 pm

I clicked straight into the comments before watching the video, expecting a load of posts going either "aha, I finally get it" or "thank God they've finally cleared that up" etc.

I was incredulous to see the same old arguments being regurgitated again. Found myself thinking how can these people still argue the point when faced with clear evidence to the contrary!?

But I have to say, watching the video again, it could really have been presented a lot more clearly! For a start, it should begin by simply stating the law, instead of asking questions and planting doubt in the viewer's mind. The "question & answer" mechanism can be a very effective learning/communication tool, but when you're trying to present something as fact, I think this type of deliberate ambiguity is best avoided.

Also, it should state which of the passes in the actual game footage would be correctly judged forward or not - or is the whole point that they're all in actual fact OK? Because otherwise I would argue that RWC07 pass from Traille to Michalak was unmistakably forward - and I speak as someone who usually claims to understand fully the effect of momentum and the visual confusion that causes these debates. But in this case, regardless of where the ball ends up (which hopefully everyone can appreciate is actually irrelevant), the ball leaves Traille's hands in a forward direction, his hands and arms are moving forward and Michalak is at least level with (if not ahead of) Traille when he starts to makes the pass. All the other real match examples I would suggest are OK, but for clarity this video should confirm one way or the other.

Finally I'm not convinced the overhead pass is a legitimate pass! The throwing action is forward; the ball only ends up behind him because he's running faster than the speed at which he's propelled the ball forward. A very bad example, in my opinion.

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Matt October 19, 2011 5:02 pm

The massive amount of disagreement on this point results from law 12 being drafted in a completely ambiguous way.

The key issue is how to determine "when a player throws or passes the ball forward".

One interpretation - which the IRB clearly shares - is a pass should be judged in the player's frame of reference (as if there were a camera above the player moving at the same speed as him), and therefore that you can generally tell a forward pass by the way the hands are pointed.

Another interpretation is that the pass should be judged from a stationary frame of reference. Therefore, you can just look at the lines on the pitch to tell whether the pass was forward.

I would suggest that the part of the law that follows - " ‘Forward’ means towards the opposing team’s dead ball line" - actually does not assist at all in showing which interpretation is correct.

The IRB have clearly chosen to go with the first interpretation. Since they make the rules, that by definition makes it the correct interpretation.

However, I don't think it is in any way "obvious" that the rule should be interpreted in this way. I find Mark Lawrence's comments - "WHAT A LOAD OF RUBBISH!...that’s what they think because they have never read the law" - pretty specious to be honest. Just reading the law alone doesn't seem to rule out either interpretation - that's why there is an endless debate/argument about it.

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thegaffer89 October 19, 2011 6:06 pm

Excellent work BuzzKillington. Everything you have said is correct and fairly easy to understand. I have tried to get RD to put that original youtube video up before because it makes it clear for everyone. Good work RD!

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Math October 19, 2011 7:07 pm

Matt is right that the law itself does not clarify the interpretation, and should be reworded to do so. But there is a good reason to interpret the law the way the irb has done, and is explained in this video. Because not to would simply make passing backwards whilst running at any kind of speed impossible. Consider this example from http://www.rugby365.com/laws_referees/discuss/1005800.htm:

[Imagine a support player(B) running 1m behind and 6m to the side of the ball carrier. If the ball carrier is] running at a fair speed, say 5 m/s (18 km/h or running 100m dash in 20 secs), he would need to pass the ball to B at over 130 km/h for the pass not to travel forward. The ball would need a backward speed of 6 m/s, and so the back time would be 1/6th sec and the speed across would be 36 m/s. Of course if B were to move further back, then the passing speed would decrease, but then it would have to be increased if B moved away (across) from A. A really fast back, probably running at say 8 – 9 m/s (or a 100 m dash in 11 – 12 sec) would have to pass the ball to his team-mate at nearly 220 km/h for the pass not to travel forward.

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OB October 19, 2011 7:10 pm

Perhaps the RFU should have the last word. Here is an extract from their minute books:

Case Law: "If a player passes to one of his own team who is on a line with him parallel to the dead ball line, both players running towards the opponents' goal line, must not the pass be a forward pass in relation to the ground, owing to their forward movement?"
The R.U. decided: "Yes, but it is pointed out that the definition of a throw-forward is not decided on relation to the ground, but on the direction of the propulsion of the ball by the hand or arm of the player passing the ball, which must be left to the discretion of the referee."

The date of that extract is 1948.

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Krang October 20, 2011 6:08 pm

Nice one. Got a link?

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bib160 October 19, 2011 9:26 pm

to me a pass is always backwards unless the ref says it isn't.
The ref is never wrong. Even if he is there is nothing you can do about it.

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BuzzKillington October 19, 2011 9:49 pm

That might sound like a noble and decent thing to say, but on reflection it's probably that attitude which has led to Rugby being a sporting joke for the sub-standard refereeing at even the highest levels.

Referees need to be criticised and brought to account for their failures. Their incompetence is ruining the game.

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browner March 30, 2013 1:31 am

Players are faster than ref's ............. you try keeping up with professional athletes !

these things happen, & are unavoidable unless technology intervenes [ TMO's]

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Nemeketh October 20, 2011 12:11 am

Are they trying to justify the so called "forward pass of Michalak" at the end of the video, or I'm wrong ?

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RCC October 20, 2011 12:45 pm

As ever, the trick for refs is consistency. If it the same for both sides then they have a fair game. Simplistic perhaps but a useful starting point. Getting consistency between refs and between different games is, as ever, an ongoing battle and videos like this help.

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nemo34 October 20, 2011 2:04 pm

I am quite skeptical. The video may have been developed by IRB, but I contest the voiced comments are relevant. IRB regulation is quite straightforward: a forward pass is a pass that sends the ball toward the opposing tryline. No relative movement is anywhere part of the code of law.

Jauzion's forward pass to Michalak has been quite legendary in France for the last 4 years, as are the 17 unnoticed penalties and Dusautoir 35 (or was it 38?) tackles that day. nd of course the surprizing stubbordness of the All-Greys who would have won with an easy dropgoal.

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Jordi133 October 21, 2011 5:31 pm

Can anyone forward this movie and the explanation by Mark Lawrence to the Australian commentators from Fox Sports?

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simmer October 26, 2011 2:45 pm

Oh I love talking about the forward pass rule...

I think that only Mezza and Nemo34 have made incorrect statements above.

But I also think that the IRB rule is written too concisely, so that it is not clear enough. only when you think about the motion of the player's hands can you understand.

People who don't get it, after seeing the video, need to go out and play some rugby - well, do some passing drills.
Jog up the field, and pass it to your mate. Then run up the field at full pace and pass it to your mate. Try to observe that relative the ground, the ball is going to travel forward.
Its really bloody hard to make the ball travel backwards when running at full pace, which is why the rule doesn't require it.

The only problem is when someone is tackled just after passing the ball, then it looks soo forward. Commentator replay systems should have a feature that allows you to imagine the player motion as if they ran on unimpeded - that would make it pretty clear to spectators I think. (once they started to believe the interpretation of the law)

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Andrew Bates October 28, 2011 5:12 pm

As if referees didn't have enough on their plates, they now have to judge whether the passed ball is travelling as fast forward as the player was running.
Or in other words, they ought to allow Usain Bolt to run at top speed and throw a "flat pass" that travels from the halfway to the 10 metre line in one second while not allowing Tony Woodcock to. What nonsense!

Also, if you're running backward to collect a kick and throw it inside you to a waiting player, have you thrown a forward pass if the ball doesn't travel backwards at the same speed you were? Yes? Really?!

It's far easier to use what lines there are on the field to judge whether a pass has travelled forward than to estimate the pass relative to the passers field.

Einstein came up with the Theory of Relativity and he might be able to adjudicate fairly under this interpretation. For everyone else, the absolute rule of whether the ball travelled forward relative to the direction of play on the pitch is best.

Finally - from Law 12: http://www.irblaws.com/EN/laws/3/12/111/during-the-match/knock-on-or-throw-forward/definition-throw-forward/#clause_111
A throw forward occurs when a player throws or passes the ball forward. ‘Forward’ means towards the opposing team’s dead ball line."
There's nothing there about the ball's travel being relative to the player, the reference is the oppo dead ball line.

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simmer November 02, 2011 8:33 pm

The law(12) does say exactly what you've put, but everyone above me seems to agree- its horrible wording, and we swear the intent of the law is about relative motion of the hands doing the passing.
I totally agree it would be far easier for everyone to be able to judge using the lines on the field...

But it doesn't work that way, you can't pass like that without changing the look of the game and a rugby pass. At least when the players are running (go out and try passing it not forward whilst running).

The backwards running thing is a fun point. In reality I think referees 90% of the time follow the intent of the game, if not the law, which is that we dont want to see a player passing the ball to someone in front of him, and we dont want to see his hands direct it forward like a knock-on. (10% of the time, when a tackle or the opposition 22 line makes a pass look forward, they change their ruling i think)

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Andrew Bates November 03, 2011 8:19 am

In 2003, one Australian newspaper explained the forward pass and offside from a kick laws to the wider Australian public in one principle: the idea is that no player can give the ball to a team mate who was in front of him at the time the ball carrying player disposed of the ball.
That's a pretty good way to present to the public, but I'd suggest it's still too complicated for kids learning the game.
We went and played rugby every lunchtime at school from aged 5 in the primary school I went to in New Zealand. The headmaster was referee (and coach for both "teams"). I can still remember the first day where I learnt I had to let go when tackled and I couldn't pass forward and that I couldn't tackle with my legs or around the head. Imagine if they'd tried to teach us at that point that we could only pass forward if the momentum we gave the ball caused it to travel forward no more quickly than we would have had our motion not been checked by a defender.
Nuts. Want people to pick up rugby or become fans? Keep the laws clear and simple (breakdown laws being an object lesson in what not to do).

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Zak November 03, 2011 9:44 pm

In the end, physics wins. Physics always wins.

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James January 10, 2013 2:13 am

It would be almost impossible when running at full speed to give a pass which doesn't travel forward towards the goal line (relative to the ground). If I'm running at 20km/hr the pass would have to leave my hands going backwards (relative to me) at greater than or equal to 20km/hr.
for a back line running at pace putting the ball through the hands you would need to be lined up VERY deep. Probably almost impossible to break the gain line against even most defenses.

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browner March 30, 2013 1:25 am

Talking of Forward Pass's

Wayne Barnes appointed to NZ v France on 8/6/13 should stir up a few memories for the French ! Allez le Bleu

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