What are the rules regarding movement of players in the lineout?

I understand that there needs to be minimum distance between the 2 lines and that there needs to be a minimum distance between the lines and the side line.

I'm interested about movement of players for deception reasons.

Moving back and forth, switching places, leaving the lineout etc

Are there any specific rules that suggest what is and is not allowed at this time?

  • 2
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because the asker gives no indication of performing basic checks on whether any rules apply, and adequate official resources are easily available that do so, to far greater depth than is possible on SE. Follow-up questions after reading the laws are preferable.
    – Nij
    Commented Jun 25, 2016 at 13:05
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    1.> You could have just posted a link to the laws as an answer and that would have been helpful. As it happens the reference to the IRB made finding the "laws" much easier and especially the reference to "Law 19". I don't see why you didn't just post this as an answer. Commented Jun 25, 2016 at 16:32
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    2.> I think you need to check the definition of 'off-topic'. My question is about the rules of a sport (Rugby) and this is a site specifically for asking questions about sport. It's not like I asked about Kids Toys or Politics or Fishing or something else.. Commented Jun 25, 2016 at 16:33
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    Furthermore, anyone can go and research any question themselves, but that's not the point of Stack Exchange sites. Rory has contributed more than enough effort by formulating an answerable question, with a clearly-defined scope (which is far more effort than some questions asked here). If someone googles "movement of players in a lineout" and hits this question as the top result, they've saved ten to fifteen minutes reading a lawbook. That's part of the purpose of this site. Commented Jun 26, 2016 at 6:31
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    In the past, closing a question due to lack of research wasn't a reason to close or be used as a "super downvote." I'm not sure what merits a different perspective here.
    – user527
    Commented Jun 26, 2016 at 14:51

1 Answer 1


According to rugby law 19.8, here are a few things we need prior to taking the lineout:

  • Both teams have same number of players contesting the lineout, who must be in a single straight line
  • Both team contestants must be between the 5m and 15m line from the touch line
  • Team lines must be 1m apart and the throw must be made straight in that 1m channel

According to rugby law 19.10:

  • The jumpers can only jump once the ball is thrown

Now, they move back and forth because they have combinations. Playing at my club, the last number of a lineout call gives a combination. For example "Tequila 6 6 8" means it's combination 8 and players have rehearsed that in training. They would know for example that number 8 means short lineout, therefore a jumper will jump close to the 5m line. If the number was 5 from the call "2 Echo 5" for instance, the throw would be to the jumper close to the 15 meter line, etc...

You can have as many combinations as you want. When you have a lineout, you need the opposition not to know what you are about to do, hence trying to lure the opposition into believing you are going to throw at the 15m etc when you are going to end up throwing at the 5m line, by moving back and forth, and having weird calls.

As an external note though, everything that you are allowed to do in rugby, or not allowed to do in rugby is described in the rugby laws available online at http://laws.worldrugby.org/.


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