Law Question: Lineout receivers position

Posted by SCRRS Website Committee on May 17th, 2012

19.8 (i) Where the receiver must stand.


Must there be a receiver at every lineout? If the receiver joins the lineout before the ball has been thrown, does another member of the lineout have to drop out into a receiver position. This is before the ball has been thrown into the lineout – no one can join the lineout after the ball has started moving. Can there be a lineout with no receiver? And obviously, there cannot be two players in the scrum half position – we see this a lot! 2011 Law Book page 125. USA Game Management page 8 – lineout A.2. Also from USA Rugby


By the definition in the law book there is no onus on the team to have a receiver:

Receiver. The receiver is the player in position to catch the ball when lineout players pass or knock the ball back from the lineout. Any player may be the receiver but each team may have only one receiver at a lineout.

The law merely states that if there is a receiver that there can only be one; so you’re fine to have a line out with no receiver. If you’re ending up with the situation where it looks like you have two receivers, stop the play and tell the teams what you expect from them. If they are swapping the receiver (which is fine by law 19.8 K then stress that there must be a clear exchange and not a mere milling around (remember, by law the receiver is supposed to be 2m from the lineout NOT the line of touch).

The lineout begins when the ball leaves the hands of the player throwing in. Up until this point it is fair game to swap the receiver and for the receiver to enter the line out as an extra player. If the team throwing the ball in do this, then the opposition are also able to put their receiver into the line out.

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