The touch judge
is an official who monitors the touch-line
in a game of rugby union
or rugby league
and raises a flag if the ball (or player carrying it) goes into touch
. Touch judges also stand behind the posts to confirm that a goal has been scored following a penalty kick or conversion of a try. There are two touch judges, one for each touch-line
Within the laws of the game, touch judges have other duties, mainly related to drawing foul play to the attention of the referee. (see Laws of Rugby Union
section 6.B for more details.) In practice, however, many rugby union referees (especially at the top level) delegate further duties to their touch judges, including (but not limited to) keeping score and time, spotting forward passes and off-side offences, and checking the legality of the binding on the side of the scrum
that the referee cannot see. In test matches
, it is not uncommon for the referee and touch judges to be connected by a radio link to aid the communication of all this information. At lower levels, shouting and hand signals suffice.
In rugby league
, touch judges can communicate with the referee verbally or through a number of specific flag and hand signals. These indicate specific breaches of the laws, for example forward pass
, knock on and penalty
offences, how play should restart and whether the ball was grounded correctly for a try. As in rugby union, touch judges stand behind the posts to confirm success of a penalty kick or the conversion of a try. Touch judge and referee signals and duties in rugby league
are laid out in the laws of the game. In some matches, additional officials are used solely to determine whether a try has been correctly grounded. These are known as "in-goal" officials.
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