Law question: replacements and uneven team numbers

A couple of questions asked by the Society and responded to by Mike Patz, Match Official Development Manager.

Q. A player goes off with a bad knee injury and has it heavily strapped. Is that player allowed to go back on as a replacement ?

A. The injured player can return provided the following are met: RFU Regulation 13, Appendix 2 (i) A Player who is previously injured in the match may return to play as a Player Interchange provided the Player is fit to continue playing in the match save that a Player who suffers two injuries in a match which has necessitated that Player being replaced on each occasion is not permitted to act as a replacement following the second injury. (j) In addition to the powers set out in the Laws of the Game, Referees are entitled in their sole opinion to prohibit or postpone a Player Interchange if they believe either that the Player Interchange would prevent the opposition from restarting the game quickly or where the replacement Player is not fit to continue playing in the match.

Q. An U 16 game where the opposition turn up with only 14 players. The home team offer to provide a player to make up for a 15 a side game, but they refuse. Is the game reduced to a 14 a side game or can there be 15 on one side and 14 on the other, with equal numbers at each scrum ?

A. The side with 15 players can decide to play 15 v 14, however they must have equal numbers in the scrum. I would be giving the team with 14 players the choice of 8 or 7 in the scrum.

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