Try Or No Try?

The biggest talking point of this weeks games will be "the moment that cost Tonga a place in the final" there has been an outpouring of fans and professionals left astounded with Matt Ceccin's decision, that would have such a crucial effect on Tonga's World Cup.

Fifita broke the tackle of Kevin Brown and was en route to the line, to secure what would have been regarded as the greatest World Cup comeback of all time. This was up until Elliott Whitehead would come up with a play to save England's blemishes, the England second rower would attack the ball carrying arm of Fifita, which would cause Fifita to knock on. Fifita would then regather the ball and look to have scored, referee Matt Ceccin would see this as a knock on and end the game.

Why in such a big moment would Ceccin then refuse to take the decision upstairs, there was plenty of good camera angles for review. The rules behind this moment are a minefield and the wording is inconspicuous to say the least, so we have simplified it.

A player can make a direct play for the ball if he is the only player in contact with the attacker in a tackle, if another player is still in contact and the ball is stolen, it's a penalty to the attacking side. While Brown and Watkins had been previously involved, at the time when the ball came loose Whitehead was the only man in contact with Fifita, therefore Whitehead is within the laws of the game, allowed to make a play for the ball, or ball carrying arm in this case. It's the duty of the attacking man to secure the ball.

So what happens next? If the attacking player loses the ball and a defender gains possession, it becomes a seven tackle set. If the attacking player regains the ball after it has gone forward, either to ground or into a defender, it is deemed to be a knock on and no advantage to the defending team, it's then a scrum with head and feed to the defending team. By definition what happened was correctly ruled as no try by the referee.

Why Matt Ceccin didn't use the video referee still bewilders and amazes me, many people have gone as far as to say he has "ruined the World Cup". Players, fans and coaches from all over the world have called for Ceccin's job over this, but I'm more than certain that when the incident is reviewed they will side with the on field decision of no try, and no further action will be taken.



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