While we’re on the subject of breaking a tie, let’s go through the rules around knock-out matches that end in a draw. Because it’s a knock-out: only one team can advance.
Let’s start with Tournament Rule 1.1.5:
For quarter-finals, semi-finals, Bronze Final and the Final, if Teams are tied at fulltime, then the winner shall be determined through the following sequential criteria;
Following an interval of 5 minutes, extra time of 10 minutes each way (with an interval of 5 minutes) shall be played in full. For the avoidance of doubt, Teams must remain on the Field of Play. The Match Referee will conduct a coin toss during the 5 minute interval to determine which Team will kick off and the direction of play. Team B will call the toss and the Team captain who wins the coin toss can either:
- nominate to kick off, therefore the other Team must choose the direction they will play
- nominate their preferred direction of play, therefore the other Team must kick off
If the scores are tied at the conclusion of extra time, and following an interval of 5 minutes, then a further extra time of 10 minutes maximum shall be played. At the end of extra time, Teams swap ends and whichever Team kicked off the first half of extra time also kicks off sudden death. During this period the first Team to score any points shall be declared the winner (sudden death);
If after this sudden death period no winner can be declared, a kicking competition will be organised between the two Teams. The winner of that competition shall be declared the winner of the Match.
Oh yes, joy. Two 10-minute halves of extra time, followed by 10 minutes of sudden death, and then a kicking competition. LittleDavyOne is going to be comatose with conniptions. Someone remember to peel her off the ceiling.
The kicking competition rules are set out in 1.1.6. There’s a fair amount of detail, which you’d expect as the whole shebang could hang on these moments. But the guts of it is:
- Each captain selects five players from their own team who were on the field at the end of sudden death. So you can’t call back somebody who has been substituted, or someone who has been sent off, or someone who was in the sin-bin when sudden death ended.
- The captain has to tell the ref the order in which their kickers will go before the first kick is taken.
- There are three kicking positions which are used sequentially:
- A on the 22, directly in front
- B on the 22, on the left-hand 15 metre line
- C on the 22, on the right-hand 15 metre line
- The first player from each team kicks from position A, followed by the second players from position B, the third players from C, the fourth players from A, the fifth players from B.
- If at the end of five kicks the scores are equal, you carry on until one team kicks a goal and the other team misses.
Start role-playing that scenario and you see that the order of your five kickers is critical because they will move from a favoured to a less-favoured side of the field.
- Kicker 1: A, C, B
- Kicker 2: B, A, C
- Kicker 3: C, B, A
- Kicker 4: A, C, B
- Kicker 5: B, A, C
If you get past ten kicks you’re in hope and glory territory, so let’s focus on the first two columns and what it means about who you would nominate as your kickers, and what order you’d deploy them.
Assume that kicking from in front (position A) is the easiest. That means Kicker 3 should be your best kicker, able to score from left and right of the posts.
Kickers 1 and 4 are left-footed kickers (because they will curve it in from the right), while Kickers 2 and 5 are right-footed kickers (because they will curve it in from the left).
Kicker 1 is your best left-footed kicker, and Kicker 2 is your best right-footed kicker.
That’s the theory, but what does it mean in practise?
Probably very little beyond that you can be sure all players are going to do some kicking practice during the Pools so that the coaches can see who’s who when it comes to what’s what.
Where it will make a difference is in bench management and game strategy during the knock-out matches. If you’ve got a decent lead at 60 minutes, protect it. If you’re close, ahead or behind, empty the bench and go for the win.
In extra time, play for territory and put on the squeeze. Drill your players to never ever ever give away dumb penalties.
In sudden death, kick long and into the corners when you’re in your own half and carry close when you’re in theirs.
And in the kicking competition, bring on Ned. I once kicked a conversion for my 1st XV. It was a beautiful thing.