French XV: why Paolo Garbisi's missed penalty could have been withdrawn to give Italy victory

French XV: why Paolo Garbisi's missed penalty could have been withdrawn to give Italy victory

L'ouvreur italien méritait une seconde chance, après la sirène. MAXPPP – TERESA SUAREZ

The decision of the match between France and Italy came down to the final moments, when Paolo Garbisi, Italian fly-half, saw his penalty attempt hit the post. However, the former Montpellier player could have benefited from a new attempt, if the referee had applied the regulations to the letter.

The French XV conceded a draw at home against Italy 13-13, for the first time in the history of the 6 Nations Tournament, Sunday in Lille.

The French, reduced to fourteen after the exclusion of Jonathan Danty just before the break, could even have lost if Italian fly-half Paolo Garbisi did not; failed to miss an easy penalty at the last second, a failure which deprived his team of a first victory against France since 2013.

However, this final attempt by the transalpine opener should have been withdrawn, in question, from the French players in motion at the moment when number 10 took off.

Unlike transformations, where players are allowed to "charge" the scorer once the latter has started his run-up, like Cheslin Kolbe against Thomas Ramos, during the last World Cup, the players in front of the scorer are prohibited from moving, during an attempt to penalty. François Cros goes up for the first time when the ball falls from Garbisi's tee, before being reprimanded by the referee and retreating.

"Opposing players must remain still"

Pressed by the clock, the future opener of RC Toulon hurries, and sees Sébastien Taofifenua take two steps forward, before being called to order by Cros and stop its course. Two small steps which could have had a big impact on the success of this penalty and therefore the final victory in this game. 

What the rules say ? According to World Rugby rule 8.22, during a penalty attempt, "the opposing players must remain motionless with their hands against their bodies , between the start of the run-up and the kick of the ball."

Law 8.27 adds that "If the opposing team commits an infraction while the kick is being taken but the kick is on goal is successful, the goal stands and no additional penalty is awarded. On the other hand, if the kick fails, the non-offending team is inflicted with a penalty of 10 meters in front of the initial mark."

Strict compliance with the regulations or a video call from Mr. Ridley could very well have changed the Blues' meeting this Sunday in Lille from bad to catastrophic.

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