A mark is called by a player after catching a ball in their 22

A player calling a mark may be something fans hear commentators say during a match. The player usually raises an arm in the air after catching a ball from a kick in their 22. This notifies the referee they have called the mark but what does that mean?

World Rugby defines it as “stopping play within a player’s own 22 by directly catching an opponent’s kick”. Play restarts with the player who took the mark taking a free kick.

There are two locations the free kick can be taken. If the player claimed it in the 22, the free kick should be taken on the spot he caught the ball but it must be five metres from the try line. But if they took the mark within the in-goal area the free kick is taken from the five-metre line in line with the place of the mark.

If they cannot take the free kick within a minute, a scrum is awarded to the team in possession.

What is a mark: How is it called?

The governing body have also listed the ways in which it can be called. To claim a mark players must:

  • Have at least one foot on or behind their own 22-metre line when catching the ball or when landing having caught it in the air
  • Catch a ball that has reached the plane of the 22-metre line directly from an opponent’s kick before it touches the ground or another player
  • Simultaneously call “mark”

Marks can be taken even if the ball hits the goal post or crossbar but it cannot be claimed if it is from a kick-off or restart after a score.

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