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Controversial try off the kicking tee in France only eventually disallowed after review

By Josh Raisey
A rugby match ball is placed on a kicking tee (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

French ProD2 side Vannes thought they had discovered a loophole in the laws on Saturday when they scored a try against Soyaux-Angouleme. 

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With a penalty kick in front of the posts, fly-half Christopher Hilsenbeck took advantage of his opponents being huddled under to posts to chip a kick from the tee to a vacant team-mate out wide to dot down unopposed. 

The try was initially given by the referee before it was rescinded moments later. This was because Hilsenbeck had to make a genuine attempt at goal, which he obviously failed to do. 

World Rugby clarified this in their law book, stating: “If the team indicates to the referee the intention to kick at goal, they must kick at goal.”

This was the Vannes kick: 

This trick has shades of a try scored by David Humphreys for Ulster against London Irish in 2006 where the fly-half also took advantage of the opposition being huddled under the posts to run into the corner from a penalty out wide. 

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That try was awarded, although in retrospect it should not have as the tee had been brought out to signal a kick at goal. However, there was no such luck for Vannes on this occasion. 

Regardless of whether the try was awarded or not, this was poor sportsmanship and many will be relieved that such laws are in place to extinguish any hopes of exploiting potential loopholes like that. 

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