World Rugby Officiating : The home of Rugby officiating on the web : Match Observation Programme
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The lineout

The lineout is a means of restarting play after the ball went into touch. The lineout serves to concentrate the forwards and the scrum halves in one place on the field, providing the opportunity for the backs to mount an attack using the space created elsewhere.

Aims for the MOs

  • To restart play with a fair contest for the ball.

Referee’s focus

  • The throw and catch of the ball.


  • Voice: Organisation before the lineout.
  • Signal: Gap, off/onside of non-participating players.
  • Whistle: Not applicable at this phase.

Laws (top three priorities)

  • Formation of lineout with clear gap.
  • Across line-of-touch offences.
  • Offside lines of participating and non-participating players.