According to World Rugby law 19.8.i - (i) Where the receiver must stand.
If a team uses a receiver, then that player, must be positioned at
least 2m back from team-mates in the lineout, and between the 5m and 15m
lines, until the lineout begins. Once the lineout has commenced, the
receiver may move into the lineout and may perform all actions available
to players in the lineout and is liable to related sanctions.
McCaw is within the two metre rule and while referees don’t always
police this fairly, as the receiver/halfback teams do not position their
lineout defence for a halfback entering the lineout as it is illegal.
Then there are two more aspects which makes the try illegal – the first
that McCaw moves before the ball is thrown in, which places him in an
Read with law 19.9 (a) – which says “The lineout begins when the ball
leaves the hands of the player throwing it in”, it is clear that McCaw
has moved before the ball has left the hooker’s hands, and since he is
not 2 metres back, has all the advantage from an illegal position.
But to take it further, law 19.10 (f) says “A player must not jump or be
lifted or supported before the ball has left the hands of the player
If you watch the video, you can see how Kieran Read is lifted before the
ball leaves the hooker’s hands, taking the Springbok attention away
Of course, the All Black captain went through a gap and was missed by
the player the Boks had as their receiver – Adriaan Strauss – and the
try was given, giving New Zealand the lead in a crucial stage of the
game with six minutes to go.
But while it was planned and is a blatant offside, the referee allowed
the try to stand, and didn’t query it even though captain Schalk Burger
asked for it to be queried.
Of course the Boks will kick themselves for the chances they never took,
including Vincent Koch knocking on with an open goalline, Lood de
Jager’s “try” that wasn’t given by the TMO and a wild pass by Willie le
Roux with an open Cornal Hendricks on his outside, proving again that to
beat the best team in the world you need to take the chances when they
come your way.
The Boks will be upset that they lost a game they came close to winning
on Saturday, but they cannot be blamed for McCaw’s try, which shouldn’t
have been allowed in the first place.