I've read the rules at irblaws but I'm still confused: over there the most binding condition stated is "A player must not take a quick throw-in after the lineout has formed", but quite often it appears like it can't be done if just a single opposing player is "nearby". What is eluding me?

  • 1
    I think you misunderstood it.. It can, but the nearby opposite player could tackle him and get the ball...
    – gbianchi
    May 17, 2012 at 14:44
  • But clearly there seems to be no requirement for the quick throw-in to be straight? They are frequently anything but, and are never ever penalised.
    – user10909
    Feb 27, 2016 at 14:59

2 Answers 2


The lineout is deemed to be formed when two or more players from each team have assembled within 5-15 metres of the throw-in location.

Any player who approaches the touchline is presumed to be part of a lineout.

Up to this point, the thrower can opt to take a quick throw-in. Tactically however, and as gbianchi comments, the thrower is unlikely to opt for a quick throw in if there is an opponent in the vicinity.

Legally, however, there could be only one opponent and one team mate near the throw-in position and a quick throw would be lawful under the rules of the game.

  • 1
    The ball must also be the original ball that went out. If the ball goes into the crowd, you can't pick up another ball and use that for a quick throw-in. This was a point of controversy in a recent Ireland v Wales game where a welsh player took a quick throw in using another ball, unnoticed by the referee, leading to a try if I recall correctly. May 31, 2012 at 16:39
  • As seen here: youtube.com/watch?v=8RCuBnwbjNM - pretty bad refereeing actually, as Ireland could easily have claimed that they were assembling for a lineout. May 31, 2012 at 16:41
  • 1
    Further to the original ball rule, only the player taking the throw-in and the player who has taken the ball in to touch can touch the ball. No other player or non player may touch the ball before the quick throw-in is taken. Sep 19, 2013 at 9:42

Your question has been answered above quite correctly. The following points are guidelines as to when a quick throw can be taken.

A quick throw is allowed to be taken if all of the following apply:

  • The ball that went into touch is the same ball used for the quick throw
  • The ball has not touched any other person, other than the player about to throw the ball back into play
  • The ball is being thrown in by the same player who retrieved the ball (i.e a team mate hasn't gathered the ball and passed it to the player who is going to throw the ball back into play)
  • The player throwing the ball back into play hasn't stepped onto the field of play before the throw is complete (i.e hasn't put part of their foot or feet into the field of play as they are in the act of throwing the ball in)

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