Can someone help with the knock on rule when scoring a try. In the Ireland v England 6 Nations game, the slow motion reply appeared to show Henshaw first catching the ball, then he appeared to lose control of it temporarily so that he was no longer touching the ball, and the ball was moving forwards. He then put his hand on the ball before it touched the ground, and clearly touched it down.

My question is (in this game or any other game with the same circumstances), if this was the case, was this a knock on, because he did not catch the ball before it hit the ground as the rules suggest? Or does the law allow the touching down in the goal area to be the equivalent of catching the ball in the remainder of the pitch ? Any ideas appreciated.

By the way - as an England supporter I admit they were well beaten, so no complaints about the result !

1 Answer 1


Looking at a clip of Robbie Henshaw's try, the following happens:

  • Henshaw jumps for the ball with his right arm, knocking it forward, possibly also with his chest/chin.
  • He then catches it cleanly with his right arm before it hits the floor, grasping it to his chest
  • He falls to the ground and clearly touches it down, as you say.

The IRB rule for a knock-on states:

A knock-on occurs when a player loses possession of the ball and it goes forward, or when a player hits the ball forward with the hand or arm, or when the ball hits the hand or arm and goes forward, and the ball touches the ground or another player before the original player can catch it.

Because Henshaw caught the ball while it was in the air, the first contact did not cause a knock-on, and the try was correctly awarded.

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