Over the weekend, Saracens hooker Schalk Brits was on the receiving end of a controversial penalty, being deliberately struck with a pass as he was attempting to avoid impeding play. The reaction and discussion around it will perhaps draw attention to this glitch in the law.
After making a tackle and then following the play, Brits crouched down to avoid interfering. However, Bath half-back Kahn Fotuali’i passed the ball directly into the crouching Brits for the offside penalty. Brits was very animated in his reaction to the call.
It makes for an interesting conversation as some would say this was a crafty move from the Bath half-back, well within the letter of the law. Others would argue this type of move is not in the spirit of the law or game.
Unfortunately for Brits and Saracens, Wayne Barnes could not be swayed, as he can be heard saying: “It’s the law”, and “It may be a bad law, but it’s the law.” To which Brits responded: “But it’s cost us three points.”
Indeed, Bath took the chip-shot for three points on their way to a 31-21 win.
Many fans and commentators are frustrated at this type of play. However, perhaps until the law changes or a referee decides to reverse a penatly, expect to see this again in the future.
Credit: Aviva Premiership/I Cameron