In Rugby (Union but I'd be interested in the answer for League as well), if a player is taking a penalty kick at goal, let's say the ball is coming down and it looks to be just about to clear the cross-bar, is a defender allowed to jump (possibly being lifted) to try and catch the ball before it crosses the bar?

Same question for a conversion, which I think to be even more likely, since the defenders are allowed to charge down the conversion (and so interference is obviously allowed in this case)

2 Answers 2


In union, no. Law 8.25 states:

Any player who intentionally touches the ball in an attempt to prevent a penalty goal being scored is illegally touching the ball.

Assuming the penalty is not scored, the sanction is another penalty 10m in front of the original location (8.27). This law was brought in after some teams did exactly what you describe and lifted players to catch long-range penalty attempts.

In league, this seems to be allowed as far as I can tell. The "Scoring" law does not seem to prevent this, and could be interpreted to mean that simply touching a ball heading over the posts would prevent the goal from counting:

A goal is scored if the whole of the ball at any time how scored during its flight passes on the full over the opponents’ cross bar towards the dead ball line after being kicked by a player (and not touching or being touched in flight by any other player)

  • Thanks, I'm still curious though as the law you quoted doesn't mention conversions and interference with conversions by defenders is allowed...
    – komodosp
    Jun 27, 2019 at 23:50
  • @phillip-kendall could you add the section in 8.14 and 15 that relates to conversions ?
    – Ben Whyall
    Jun 6, 2020 at 20:21

Union Law 8:

8.14 All opposing players retire to their goal line and do not overstep that line until the kicker begins the approach to kick. When the kicker does this, they may charge or jump to prevent a goal but must not be physically supported by other players in these actions.

8.16 If the ball falls over after the kicker begins the approach to kick, the opponents may continue to charge.

8.17 If the opposition touches the ball and the kick is successful, the goal stands.

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